Herbs like cinnamon and ginseng reduce glucose and lipid levels through the stimulation of insulin secretion, delay of gastric emptying, inhibiting glucosidase activity, increasing GLUT4 expression, and the activation of AMP-activated protein pathway, and inhibiting gluconeogenesis. Several medicinal plants are used for the treatment of diabetes, such as ginger, garlic, fenugreek and cumin .
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), is a historically used herbal plant that is popular in Africa, India, South, and Central Asia. It is traditionally used to treat several conditions, such as diabetes and obesity. It possesses antioxidant, antihyperlipidemic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and galactagogic properties.
Fenugreek's pharmacological effects are attributed to a range of bioactive compounds such as polyphenols, steroids, lipids, alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, hydrocarbons, carbohydrates, galactomannan fiber, and amino acids. Several scientific groups examined its antidiabetic effect. A previous study showed that fenugreek increased glucose uptake in HepG2 cells is due to the overexpression of the glucose transporter (GLUT-2) and sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP1C) mRNA levels . Another report by Pradeep and Srinivasan , demonstrated that when combined with 3% onion, better fenugreek antidiabetic results were seen. A potential fenugreek-based drug (Fenfuro®) was compared to Metformin in a clinical trial. Results showed that Fenfuro combined with Metformin gave better results than Metformin alone.
Diosgenin saponin is considered the most bioactive substance of fenugreek. It has antioxidative effects and plays a pivotal role in improving the diabetic status by several mechanisms. The mechanisms include β-cell renewal and insulin secretion stimulation. Besides, diosgenin elevates the mRNA transcription levels of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBPδ) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ).
Other components in fenugreek include; 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which is an amino acid that enhances insulin secretion, decrease plasma triglycerides, and total cholesterol levels. Galactomannan is a carbohydrate that represents 45-60% of the seed of fenugreek. It has been shown to block the carbohydrate and lipid hydrolyzing enzymes in the digestive system, resulting in lowering the postprandial glucose level.
Although the detailed mechanisms of action of the fenugreek antidiabetic activity are yet to be identified, many studies suggest that antioxidant activity plays a significant role in hepatoprotection. Another possibility would be that fenugreek reverses protein glycation caused by hyperglycemia. Further investigations into the molecular mechanisms of actions and active components of the plant are needed.
Content Sourced from : International Journal of Functional Nutrition at Spandidos Publications.
Author Details :
The Orcid ID numbers for the following authors are: MTB, orcid.org/0000-0002-8570-7739; SSAZ, orcid.org/0000-0001-6069-8760; AA, orcid.org/0000-0003-0486-348X; MKS, orcid.org/0000-0002-2072-0975; AMES, orcid.org/0000-0002-5169-1214.
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