If you have type 2 diabetes, or have been told that you are at risk of developing the disease, you may want to monitor promising new research on palm polyphenols. Researchers worldwide are studying the effect of palm’s polyphenols on diabetes, and so far, the results are very encouraging. Results of the first study, conducted in the labs of leading Brandeis University researcher Professor KC Hayes, suggest that palm’s polyphenols, such as those derived from sustainable Malaysian palm plantations, may deter diabetes or reverse its advancement. The results were published in the Journal of Nutritional Science.
Metabolic diseases such as diabetes are increasing worldwide, encouraging researchers to study ways our diet may help prevent these dangerous conditions. The objective of the latest study was to document the degree to which palm fruit juice reduces diabetes symptoms in an animal model with carbohydrate-induced type 2 diabetes (diabetes mellitus).
In five experiments lasting four to 36 weeks, Nile rats were fed either a healthy laboratory diet or a diet known to promote diabetes. Palm juice was provided as a drink or mixed into the diet to provide palm polyphenol intakes from 170 to 720mg gallic acid equivalents per kilogram of body weight. To measure diabetes progression, body weight and blood sugar (glucose) levels were measured at different times and analyzed along with insulin and liver lipids levels.
The study showed that the palm fruit juice counteracted the high blood glucose levels and also promoted a reduction of blood lipid level in all experiments. This delayed the onset of type 2 diabetes and even reversed the advancing disease. The protection was directly related to the palm polyphenol amount received. No negative effects on growth or energy intake were observed.
The study results suggest that the palm polyphenols may slow the rate of blood sugar absorption. Palm polyphenols also may have an effect on insulin, the hormone the body uses to regulate blood sugar levels, by reducing its resistance and/or enhancing its secretion.
A clinical study just began in Malaysia to study the effect of palm polyphenols supplementation on pre-diabetics. Malaysian palm oil is a rich source of polyphenols, including carotenes and tocotrienols.
Robin Miller is a health and nutrition editor with more than 30 years of industry experience. She researches and writes about the nutritional benefits of palm fruit oil, with the goal of giving readers factual, science-based information that will be useful in their daily lives.