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In a recent study, researchers investigated whether ginkgo biloba could be used to treat type 2 diabetes.
Almost 422 million people worldwide have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is frequently related to obesity and there is no cure. It is caused when the body loses its ability to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. In a healthy person, blood sugar levels are controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. As the disease progresses, the blood sugar levels increase causing damage to the pancreas.
The blood sugar damages beta cells in the pancreas. The beta cells are responsible for managing blood sugar levels. They make and store insulin in the pancreas. When the beta cells are damaged, type 2 diabetes must be treated with insulin therapy.
Traditional medicine presents some alternatives that type 2 diabetics can try in addition to insulin therapy and dietary treatment programs. Ginkgo biloba extract has long been used in traditional medicine to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. One of the benefits of ginkgo biloba is its antioxidant properties that are useful in decreasing free radicals that may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.
However, little research has been performed to determine if these traditional treatments can protect against type 2 diabetes. Saudi Arabian researchers at Jazan University collaborated with a researcher at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine to study whether the benefits of ginkgo biloba extend to decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The researchers fed forty adult male rats a high-fat diet for eight weeks. Afterward, ten rats were randomly assigned as the non-diabetic control group, and the remaining thirty were assigned to the diabetic group. The diabetic group was subdivided into three groups: a non-treated diabetic group, ginkgo biloba treated group, and a magnetized water treated group. Another natural treatment is magnetized water. Magnetized water is water that has been passed through a magnetic field to make the structure of the water be more like water in the human body – it has been found to be effective in treating other chronic diseases and lowering blood sugar, so was used as an alternative treatment in this study.
The rats received their assigned treatments for four weeks, after which, their pancreases were examined to determine the amount of damage to the beta cells. The non-treated diabetic rats’ pancreases were smaller and showed extensive damage to beta cells. However, when the researchers treated the diabetic rats with ginkgo biloba and magnetized water, their beta cells were repaired almost back to normal levels.
Another of the benefits of ginkgo biloba and magnetized water was decreasing the stress caused by free radicals on the pancreas. The natural treatments improved the antioxidants, helping the beta cells to survive.
Researchers would like to find more evidence of the benefits of ginkgo biloba and magnetized water by studying their effects in humans. They caution that care should be used with ginkgo biloba because it can interact with other medicines and is poisonous when eaten as a seed. However, they are hopeful that the benefits of ginkgo biloba and magnetized water will help people with type 2 diabetes.
Written by Rebecca K. Blankenship, B.Sc.
Saleh, Ahmed, Mamdouh M. Anwar, Ahmed E Zayed, Manal El Sayed Ezz Eldeen, Gamal Afifi, Hassien M. Alnashiri, and Asmaa M.S Gomaa et al. 2019. “<P>Impact Of <Em>Ginkgo Biloba</Em> Extract And Magnetized Water On The Survival Rate And Functional Capabilities Of Pancreatic Β-Cells In Type 2 Diabetic Rat Model</P>”. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome And Obesity: Targets And Therapy Volume 12: 1339-1347. doi:10.2147/dmso.s209856.
Lee, Hye-Jin, and Myung-Hee Kang. 2013. “Effect Of The Magnetized Water Supplementation On Blood Glucose, Lymphocyte DNA Damage, Antioxidant Status, And Lipid Profiles In STZ-Induced Rats”. Nutrition Research And Practice 7 (1): 34. doi:10.4162/nrp.2013.7.1.34.
“Diabetes”. 2019. Who.Int. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes.
Elisabeth Almekinder RN, CDE. 2019. “Beta Cells And Diabetes – Thediabetescouncil.Com”. Thediabetescouncil.Com. https://www.thediabetescouncil.com/beta-cells-diabetes/.