Compound from olives could treat diabetes and obesity

Compound from olives could treat diabetes and obesity

Elenolic acid – a natural compound found in olives – can help to lower blood sugar levels and promote weight loss, a new study suggests.

In a new study published by the American Society for Nutrition, researchers looked at the impact of oral elenolic acid on obese mice.

The team found that after just one week, obese mice with diabetes that were given the acid weighed significantly less and showed better blood sugar (glucose) regulation than before treatment. This was compared to obese mice not receiving elenolic acid.

After four to five weeks of treatment, the mice showed a 10.7% reduction in obesity as well as blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity that were comparable to those of healthy lean mice.

The glucose-lowering effect was comparable with that of the injectable diabetic medication liraglutide and better than metformin, a common oral medicine for type 2 diabetes.

Long-term safety risks

Dongmin Liu is a professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise at Virginia Tech and research team leader. ‘Lifestyle modifications and public health measures have had limited impact on the rising prevalence of obesity, one of the top risk factors for type 2 diabetes,’ he said

‘Available obesity drugs are ineffective in weight loss maintenance, expensive and/or carry potential long-term safety risks. Our goal was to develop safer, cheaper and more convenient multi-targeting agents that can prevent the occurrence of metabolic disorders and type 2 diabetes.’

He added: ‘Overall, the study showed that elenolic acid from olives has promising effects on hormone release and metabolic health, particularly in obese and diabetic conditions.

‘The compound seems to mimic the physiological conditions of eating to directly promote gut metabolic hormone secretion, which helps regulate energy balance and metabolic health.’

The research team is working to understand how the compound creates metabolic benefits by analysing its journey through the body. They hope to find out how it is absorbed, distributed, metabolised and excreted. This will also reveal insights into its safety for future clinical trials.

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