Natural Compound Found To Reverse Diabetes In Mice

Researchers have found a natural occurring compound that may help reverse diabetes. This discovery may someday suggest a way for people to take the said compound as a means to possibly treat or prevent type 2 diabetes. The research findings are published in the Oct issue of Cell Metabolism.

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have been able to successfully restore the normal blood sugar metabolism in diabetic mice by using a compound called nicotinamide monomucleotide or NMN. This compound is being produced by the body naturally and plays a vital role on cells and how they use energy.

According to Shinichiro Imai, MD, PhD and associate professor of developmental biology, “After giving NMN, glucose tolerance goes completely back to normal in female diabetic mice. In males, we see a milder effect compared to females, but we still see an effect. These are really remarkable results. NMN improves diabetic symptoms, at least in mice.”

All cells in the body are known to produce NMN in a series of processes that leads to the production of NAD, a vital molecule that harvests energy from nutrients and coverts it into a form that cells can readily use. NAD is also known to activate a type of protein called SIRT1, known to promote healthy metabolism from the pancreas to the liver a swell as to muscles and fat tissue.

According to the study, growing old and eating a diet high in fat all contribute to the slowing down of NAD production. The researchers see this as a potential contributor to abnormal metabolic conditions such as diabetes. In the study, NAD cannot be directly given to diabetic mice because of the known toxic effects. The researchers instead administered NMN. They saw that the mice experienced a rise in NAD levels and showed improved responses to glucose, with some even returning to normal.

Imai and his tea of researchers also found that young healthy mice fed with a high fat diet developed diabetes in just a matter of 6 months. In these diabetic mice, they found out that NAD levels were reduced. After administering NMN, the researchers saw the NAD levels rise, with the female mice showing normal results in glucose tolerance tests. In the male mice, the NAD levels also rose after being administered with NMN. But it did not quite reach the normal levels as compared to what was seen in the female diabetic mice. The researchers have also found some interest in trying to study about such differences in reactions to NMN between the male and the female mice.

While the mice use din the study are getting their NMN doses via injection, the researchers are also trying to explore the effects of the compound in mice that receives it while dissolved in water. Imai is trying to conduct studies that will possibly look into NMN as a possible supplement that people can eventually take just like a vitamin supplement to treat or prevent type 2 diabetes in the future.

Source: Washington University School of Medicine (2011, October 4). Natural compound helps reverse diabetes in mice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2011, from


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