Scientists at Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) and Dynamis Therapeutics recently published a study entitled Meglumine exerts protective effects against features of metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes in the leading online biomedical research journal PLOS ONE. In their study, they report the discovery that meglumine, an FDA approved derivative of the sugar-free sweetener sorbitol can reduce high blood sugar and triglycerides, improve muscle function and reduce diabetic complications.
Diabetes and the pre-diabetic condition called metabolic syndrome are becoming increasingly common medical issues in the United States, with almost 19 million people diagnosed with diabetes and as many as seven million undiagnosed cases. Ongoing clinical management of blood sugar is critical, as many diabetic patients with uncontrolled blood sugar develop heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system damage and other life-threatening problems.
Sorbitol, a sweet substance found in fruit that is used in sugar-free chewing gum and candy, has been known to reduce blood sugar by stimulating its absorption by muscle. However, clinical studies have shown that sorbitol cannot be used to treat diabetes or metabolic syndrome because it can cause uncomfortable gastrointestinal side effects, and may even increase certain diabetic complications such as nerve damage, cataracts and retinopathy.
In looking for a better alternative to sorbitol without the undesirable side effects, LIMR Research Assistant Professor Arturo Bravo-Nuevo, PhD and his colleagues tested the sorbitol derivative meglumine for its ability to control high blood sugar. In their preclinical study, the LIMR and Dynamis researchers discovered that meglumine produced striking effects on muscle associated with anti-diabetic effects. Meglumine markedly reduced triglyceride levels in the blood and liver along with the onset of diabetic kidney disease. Notably, muscle stamina and glycemic (sugar) control were both improved, without any apparent side effects including any of the gastrointestinal issues produced by sorbitol.
As Dr. Bravo-Nuevo noted, “It is exciting that one safe supplement might not only control high glucose and triglyceride levels but also prevent kidney deterioration and improve muscle stamina at the same time.”
The findings of the LIMR and Dynamis research teams support further clinical study of meglumine as a safe, inexpensive supplement for counteracting metabolic syndrome, improving muscle function, and reversing diabetes and its complications. Meglumine is currently used as a binding agent in pharmaceutical compounds to improve their stability and absorption, so it has a safe, benign history and its use has already been accepted by the FDA. Given its positive effects observed on the muscular system, meglumine may also have the potential to serve as an exercise supplement for preventing muscle fatigue and perhaps increasing strength.