US nutritional supplements producer Nutrition 21 said it has identified an isomer of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which can significantly increase glucose metabolism in muscle cells without the addition of insulin.
Nutrition 21 said it had filed a patent application based on its research results and had plans to file additional patent applications in the future.
The company said that its research also demonstrated that a combination of chromium picolinate and the newly identified active isomer of CLA resulted in an enhanced effect on glucose metabolism in muscle cells.
In both cases, the increases in glucose metabolism were achieved without the need for added insulin. Furthermore, the level of glucose metabolism generated by the isomer on its own and the isomer and chromium picolinate combination was higher than the level produced by added insulin.
The glucose uptake measured using the chromium picolinate and CLA isomer combination exceeded the results seen with insulin alone, the company said.
Gail Montgomery, president and chief executive officer of Nutrition 21, said: "The results of this early research, if confirmed in future studies, could have significant implications for the pharmaceutical treatment of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. We intend to proceed as soon as possible with animal studies aimed at validating these initial findings."
Nutrition 21 reported in June 2001 that it had filed for patent protection on the discovery that CLA alone was not efficacious in stimulating glucose metabolism in muscle cells, but when combined with chromium picolinate, caused a significant increase in glucose uptake.