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Natural Sweetener Stimulates Insulin Production

From DiabetesNet.com - 2000-03-05

A natural sweetener used for centuries by Indians in Paraguay and Brazil to treat diabetes has now been shown to stimulate insulin production in mice. How it does this is not understood.

The sweetener, stevioside or stevia, and one of its components, steviol, were found to enhance insulin secretion from incubated mouse islet cells when glucose levels were raised. The amount of insulin produced was dependent on the amount of glucose. To see if stevioside and steviol also affected beta cells, INS-1 cells were examined. These two sweeteners also enhanced insulin production from these beta cells.

The conclusion tentatively drawn from this research reported in the journal Metabolism is that stevioside and steviol may have potential for use as a diabetes drug to lower high blood sugars in people with Type 2 diabetes.

 
 

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