Diabetes is becoming an increasingly common condition. Over 30 million people have diabetes in the U.S, while only 20% of these people are even aware of their condition. To make matters worse, close to a third of Americans have prediabetes, putting them squarely on the path towards full blown diabetes and poor metabolic health.
Prescription drugs, including insulin, have long been the gold standard in treating and managing diabetes. While these are helpful, many of the prescription drugs used to treat and manage diabetes can have side effects and cause additional health concerns. As a result, there is a need for new treatment options, options beyond pharmaceuticals.
Drawing on a long human history of using plant-based products to treat illnesses and diseases, researchers have published a study exploring the impact of Rhodiola rosea root for the management of type 2 diabetes. The study is published in a recent issue of Scientific Reports.
The study describes a mice model used to study the impacts of Rhodiola rosea root. Researchers used a genetically engineered model, one in which the mice developed various metabolic conditions and risk factors, such as insulin resistance or high glucose levels. Essentially, the model replicated an adult with type 2 diabetes. During the study, the mice were given one of two treatments: either plain water (placebo/control group) or a mixture of Rhodiola rosea extract.
Researchers found that the root extract does help improve glucose levels and balance. But how the root impacted this balance was intriguing. Researchers specifically note that the gut microbiome may have had a role. The root appeared to enact changes in the gut microbiome. Specifically, it helped:
The research team noted that the gut barrier plays a vital role in helping regulate metabolic health, so improving gut barrier integrity could be a viable therapeutic target for people with type 2 diabetes.
Rhodiola rosea is a flowering plant native to arctic regions around the world. In addition to helping with glucose balance, it’s also been shown to have other health benefits, including anxiety and depression.
Sources: Science Daily; Science Advances; CDC