The University of Leuven, Belgium reveals the mechanism of controlling glucose level with stevia to treat diabetes
Researchers from the University of Leuven, Belgium (KU Leuven) found that stevioside activates a protein that is essential for our sense of taste and is involved in post-meal insulin release (i.e. ion channel TRPM5). This result provides new possibilities for the treatment of diabetes. The results were published online on March 31, 2017 in the Nature Communications journal titled "Steviol glycosides Enhance pancreatic Beta-cell function and Taste sensation by potentiation of TRPM5 channel activity ".
As a non-calorie substitute for sugar, stevia extract is very popular. This plant-derived sweetener is also thought to have a positive effect on blood sugar levels, but no one understands why. Now, Dr. Koenraad Philippaert and Professor Rudi Vennekens, from the Department of Cell and Molecular Medicine at the University of Leuven, reveal the underlying mechanisms.The study was conducted in collaboration with other scientists from the University of Leuven and researchers from the French Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium and Oxford University in the UK.
"Our experiments have confirmed that the active ingredient in stevia extracts: Stevia (stevioside) and stevia (steviol) activates ion channel TRPM5 activity," explains Dr. Philippaert. These proteins, called ion channels, are tiny passages through which small charged particles can enter and exit the cell. These ion channels are responsible for many processes in the body.