Scientists at spices, seasonings and flavorings giant McCormick and Company have unlocked the mechanism behind rosemary’s ability to reduce blood sugar spikes and cholesterol levels.
Animal data has indicated that rosemary may lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels and aid weight management, with mouse studies indicating that supplementing a high fat diet with rosemary may reduce body weight by over 60%, compared to animals fed only the high fat diet.
However, the actual mechanism of action has not been elucidated, explained the authors, led by Zheng Tu from the company’s Technical Innovation Center in Maryland.
According to new data published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry , extracts from rosemary may activate energy sensing molecules in cells, which then activate pathways to break down lipids and carbohydrates to release energy.
“Current studies and previous publications confirmed the roles of rosemary in lipid and carbohydrate metabolisms and pointed out that rosemary may serve as a potential hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic agent,” wrote the authors.
Tu and co-workers investigated the effects of different concentrations of rosemary extract on the metabolism of HepG2 cells.
Results showed that rosemary extract at concentrations of 2, 10, and 50 micrograms/mL significantly increased glucose consumption by 6%, 13%, and 21%, respectively. The results were compared to anti-diabetic drug Metformin, which dramatically increased glucose consumption by 22% at a concentration of 5 mM.
“It has been reported that metformin increases insulin sensitivity, enhances peripheral glucose uptake, and increases fatty acid oxidation,” they explained.
“Our results showed there are some overlaps between rosemary and metformin in terms of pathways activated in liver cells, namely, AMPK, SIRT1, and PPARs.”
“In summary, treatment with rosemary extracts could activate energy sensing molecules, including AMPK and SIRT1, which in turn induce catabolic pathways such as fatty acid oxidation and glycolysis and inhibit anabolic pathways such as fatty acid and glycogen synthesis and gluconeogenesis.”
Source: Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1021/jf400298c
“Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) Extract Regulates Glucose and Lipid Metabolism by Activating AMPK and PPAR Pathways in HepG2 Cells”
Authors: Z. Tu, T. Moss-Pierce, P. Ford, T.A. Jiang