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How can stevia help control blood sugar?

How can stevia help control blood sugar?

A growing number of people are opting for healthier alternatives to sugar, and stevia has become a popular choice, especially for people with diabetes. Studies have suggested that the natural calorie-free sweetener can help control blood glucose, although the exact way it does this has not been clear until now.

The researchers discovered how stevia can help control blood sugar.

Researchers in the UK and Belgium have discovered that stevia activates a protein called TRPM5, which is associated with taste perception. This protein also plays a role in the release of insulin hormone after eating.

The co-author of the study, Koenraad Philippaert from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at KU Leuven in Belgium, and his colleagues, say their findings could pave the way for new treatments for type 2 diabetes.

The researchers recently published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Stevia is a sweetener derived from the leaves of the stevia rebaudiana plant – commonly known as Sweetleaf – native to South America.

Stevia is about 200 to 400 times sweeter than table sugar and is often used as a substitute for sugar in diet sodas, candy, yogurt, desserts and other foods and beverages.

Stevia targets proteins responsible for sweet taste and insulin secretion

Herbal sweetener is generally considered safe for moderate diabetics, and previous research has shown that stevia can even help control blood sugar.

However, the mechanisms underlying the positive effect of stevia on blood glucose were not well understood. The new study by Philippaert and his colleagues was intended to shed light on this issue.

In experiments involving cell cultures, the researchers found that stevia active TRPM5, an important protein for the perception of sweet, bitter and umami tastes.

‘The sensation of taste is further enhanced by steviol, a component of stevia, which stimulates TRPM5. This explains the extremely sweet flavor of stevia and its bitter aftertaste,’ notes Philippaert.

In addition, TRPM5 induces beta cells in the pancreas to release insulin after taking food.This helps to regulate blood sugar levels and prevents the development of type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that prevents the pancreas from producing enough insulin or prevents the body from using this hormone effectively. An unhealthy diet is a common cause of type 2 diabetes.

Stevia did not prevent diabetes in mice without TRPM5

To confirm the role of stevia in TRPM5 stimulation, the researchers conducted experiments on mice.

The mice were fed over a long period of time with a high-fat diet to promote the development of type 2 diabetes.

However, when the high fat diet was supplemented by a daily dose of stevioside – an active component of stevia , The researchers found that rodents did not develop type 2 diabetes. This was not the case for mice without the TRPM5 protein.

‘This indicates that the protection against abnormally high blood glucose and diabetes is due to the stimulation of TRPM5 with stevia components,’ said Professor Rudi Vennekens, co-author of the study, also from the department of cellular and molecular medicine of the KU Leuven.

The researchers say their findings could lead to new strategies to treat or even prevent type 2 diabetes, although they warn that further research is needed before this becomes a reality.

‘This is basic research and there is still a lot to do before thinking about new treatments for diabetes,’ said Philippaert. “On the one hand, the doses to mice are much higher than the amount of stevioside found in beverages and other products for human consumption.”

‘Further research is needed to show whether our results apply directly to man. All this to say that new treatments for diabetes will not be in the very near future. ‘

Published by Honor Whiteman – Medical News Today