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LIMR researchers show novel supplement protects against metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetic complications

Lankenau Medical Center March 3, 2014 Research News

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.

About Main Line Health

Founded in 1985, Main Line Health is a not-for-profit health system serving portions of Philadelphia and its western suburbs. Main Line Health’s commitment—to deliver advanced medicine to treat and cure disease while also playing an important role in prevention and disease management as well as training physicians and other health care providers—reflects our intent to keep our community and ourselves well ahead. A team of more than 10,000 employees and 2,000 physicians care for patients throughout the Main Line Health system.

At Main Line Health’s core are four of the region’s most respected acute care hospitals—Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Paoli Hospital and Riddle Hospital—as well as one of the nation’s recognized facilities for rehabilitative medicine, Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital.

The Main Line Health system also includes Mirmont Treatment Center for drug and alcohol recovery; Main Line Health HomeCare & Hospice, which includes skilled home health care, hospice and home infusion services; Main Line Health Centers, primary and specialty care, lab and radiology, and other outpatient services located in Broomall, Collegeville, Concordville, Exton and Newtown Square; Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, a biomedical research organization; and Main Line HealthCare, one of the region’s largest multispecialty physician networks.

Main Line Health is the recipient of numerous awards for quality care and service, including System Magnet® designation, the nation’s highest distinction for nursing excellence, the Mid-Atlantic Alliance for Performance Excellence (MAAPE) Excellence Award, and recognition as among the nation’s best employers by Forbes magazine. Main Line Health is committed to creating an environment of diversity, respect and inclusion and has proudly embraced the American Hospital Association’s #123forEquity Pledge to Act to eliminate disparities in care. We are dedicated to advancing patient-centered care, education and research to help our community stay healthy.

About Lankenau Institute for Medical Research

Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute located on the campus of Lankenau Medical Center and is part of Main Line Health. Founded in 1927, LIMR’s mission is to improve human health and well-being. Faculty and staff are devoted to advancing innovative new approaches to formidable medical challenges, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders and autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis. LIMR’s principal investigators conduct basic, preclinical and translational research, using their findings to explore ways to improve disease detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. They are committed to extending the boundaries of human health through technology transfer and training of the next generation of scientists and physicians.

About Dynamis Therapeutics, Inc.

Dynamis Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that is developing proprietary new drugs to treat chronic inflammatory disease. Its proprietary drug candidates inhibit a novel enzymatic pathway that causes the formation of a highly reactive sugar, 3-deoxyglucosone (3DG). Scientific evidence suggests that elevated 3DG causes metabolic, neurological, and dermatological diseases, ranging from diabetic retinopathy (blindness) and nephropathy (kidney disease) to inflammatory skin conditions and aging. The Company’s first medical products are drugs against dry eye and the complications of diabetes.


Bridget Therriault
Director, Communications
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