Food and Behaviour Research

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12 May 2014 - Sciencedaily - Scientists discover a natural molecule to treat type 2 diabetes: Molecule mimics some effect of physical exercise

Researchers have discovered a natural molecule that could be used to treat insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The molecule, a derivative of omega-3 fatty acids, mimics some of the effects of physical exercise on blood glucose regulation.

Rsearchers at the Université Laval Faculty of Medicine, the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Research Center, and the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods have discovered a natural molecule that could be used to treat insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The molecule, a derivative of omega-3 fatty acids, mimics some of the effects of physical exercise on blood glucose regulation.

It has been known for some time that omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce insulin resistance caused by a diet high in saturated fat. In their earlier work, André Marette and his colleagues had linked these effects to a bioactive lipid called protectin D1. In investigating further, they discovered that another member of the same family named protectin DX (PDX) triggers the production and release of interleukin 6 (IL-6) in muscle cells, a response that also occurs during physical exercise. "Once in the bloodstream, IL-6 controls glucose levels in two ways: it signals to the liver to reduce glucose production and acts directly on the muscles to increase glucose uptake," explains the researcher who is also Scientific Director of Université Laval's Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods.