There is increasing evidence showing that healthy individuals with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) may still eventually develop type 2 diabetes (T2DM), especially those with a monophasic glucose curve shape pattern. It is defined as having only one peak in the glucose curve.
Researchers from New Zealand said the hypoglycaemic effect of the extract was pronounced in this group of people, providing further insights to the onset of diabetes and treatment approach.
The New Zealand pine bark has been studied for its cognitive and stress-reducing effects but, “to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to report on the glycaemic-lowering properties of New Zealand pine bark extract in humans,” researchers claimed.
The placebo-controlled, single-blind, crossover, dose-response study recruited 25 healthy, non-diabetic, NGT participants for three separate visits.
On the first visit, fasting-participants were given a placebo capsule containing microcrystalline cellulose, and categorised into monophasic or complex groups based on their glycaemic responses.
Complex (biphasic or triphasic) glucose curve shapes have more than one peak in the glucose curve, and people exhibiting these shapes are more likely to have a lower risk of T2DM.
On the second and third visits, they were given a single capsule of Enzogenol of 50mg and 400mg respectively. Enzogenol is produced from Pinus radiata trees grown in New Zealand and manufactured by ENZO Nutraceutical Limited, which supplied the capsules for the trial.
An oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was conducted and blood samples were then collected.
The primary outcome was the mean glucose incremental area under the curve (iAUC) after consuming the glucose.
In the monophasic group, 50 and 400 mg of Enzogenol significantly reduced iAUC compared to the control (p=0.034 and 0.012 respectively).
However, there was no significant dose response observed between 50 and 400 mg of Enzogenol within the monophasic group (p = 0.881), with researchers suggesting that a smaller dose of 50 mg was equally effective in reducing mean glucose iAUC of participants.
In contrast, neither dose of Enzogenol significantly reduced the glucose iAUC in the complex group. Hence the effect was only significantly prominent in the monophasic group.
In addition, it was observed that about 33% of the monophasic participants changed to having complex shapes after consuming 50 mg of Enzogenol, and about 55% of monophasic participants had complex shapes after consuming 400 mg of Enzogenol. This might potentially alter T2DM risk based on the glucose shapes.
A longer-term study is needed to examine the persistence in shape alteration in relation to changes in glucose metabolism with the consumption of Enzogenol.
Enzogenol dry powder contains more than 80% proanthocyanidins, 1–2% taxifolin, other flavonoids and phenolic acids which have been shown to possess antioxidant properties, anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective, and anti-diabetic effects.
Researchers believe this study on healthy individuals is important, because 20% of them already have some degree of insulin resistance, although their postprandial blood glucose may fall within the normal range, indicating risk of diabetes onset in the future.
The findings from this study will now inform future research including investigating the impact of Enzogenol in different populations of varying degrees of glycaemic responses, such as those with prediabetes or T2DM.
“An Acute, Placebo-Controlled, Single-Blind, Crossover, Dose-Response, Exploratory Study to Assess the Effects of New Zealand Pine Bark Extract (Enzogenol®) on Glycaemic Responses in Healthy Participants”
Authors: Wen Xin Janice Lim, et al.
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