UCI-led study shows Rhodiola rosea root might be beneficial for managing type 2 diabetes

Botanical extract shows promise as an alternative to drug therapy

Mahtab Jafari
“Characterized by insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent endocrine disease in the world today, responsible for more than $200 billion of healthcare costs annually in the U.S. alone,” says corresponding author Mahtab Jafari, UCI professor of pharmaceutical sciences. “Our findings show Rhodiola rosea might be beneficial for treating this disease and is a good candidate for further investigation.”

A team of researchers led by the University of California, Irvine have discovered that treatment with an extract from the roots of the Rhodiola rosea plant might be effective for helping manage type 2 diabetes, showing promise as a safe and effective non-pharmaceutical alternative.

The study, recently published online in Scientific Reportsfound that in a mouse model of human type 2 diabetes, Rhodiola rosea lowered fasting blood sugar levels, improved response to insulin injections, modulated the composition of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and decreased several biomarkers of inflammation.

“The prevalence of type 2 diabetes and the associated health costs have risen steadily in recent decades. Humans have used plants and natural products for thousands of years to treat diseases, and our study shows Rhodiola rosea is a good candidate for further investigation,” said corresponding author Dr. Mahtab Jafari, UCI professor of pharmaceutical sciences. “Current treatment recommendations include lifestyle changes as well as oral and intravenous medications. However, these drugs have significant limitations or side effects, increasing the need for new therapeutic interventions.”

The team utilized a genetically engineered mouse model that develops obesity, insulin resistance and high blood sugar, similar to advanced human type 2 diabetes, to test whether Rhodiola rosea could improve glucose homeostasis. In the study, cohorts of age-matched male and female mice were randomly assigned to one of two groups: control, which received water, or experimental, which were administered Rhodiola rosea extract.

“Our findings suggest that Rhodiola rosea might be beneficial for treating type 2 diabetes, acting through changes in the microbiome that result in increased gut barrier integrity and decreased translocation of inflammatory molecules into the blood circulation,” Jafari said. “Gut barrier integrity influences body weight and insulin response, and this botanical product may improve the responses of liver and muscle tissues to the insulin produced by the pancreas.”

The team’s next steps are to perform a larger follow-up study in a different mouse model of obesity-induced diabetes to confirm these findings and to investigate the molecular mechanisms involved. Ultimately, Jafari hopes to conduct Rhodiola rosea clinical trials in patients with type 2 diabetes.

“Our research presents a solid case for the importance of conducting high-quality pre-clinical studies based on sound methodologies to evaluate the efficacy of standardized plant extracts. We have set the stage for human clinical studies, with the ultimate goal of improving health outcomes for type 2 diabetes patients,” Jafari said.

The team included students and faculty members from UCI, UCI Health and Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

This work was supported by the UCI School of Medicine-Pharmaceutical Sciences Collaborative Research Funds and Mr. and Mrs. John P. and Lois C. Wareham.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates From the UCI School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

More To Explore

Uncategorized

Hispanic Heritage Month With Emily Castro

Emily Castro, a fourth-year, first-generation student in the PhD in pharmacological sciences program, shares advice to others forging new paths.

0 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share