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Can Cocoa Help People With Diabetes Manage Their Disease Better?
Doctors have long been looking for ways to better control type 2 diabetes or even prevent the disease entirely. Researchers have now found that certain cocoa compounds protect against type 2 diabetes.
The scientists at Brigham Young University found that cocoa helps the body release more insulin and respond more effectively to increased blood sugar. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry".
Unfortunately, cocoa contains a lot of sugar
Insulin is the hormone that manages our blood sugar. The blood sugar reaches unhealthy levels in diabetes, the experts explain. Can Cocoa Really Help You Control Blood Sugar Better? Humans would probably have to consume a lot of cocoa, and unfortunately it also contains a lot of sugar, explains author Professor Jeffery Tessem.
Epicatechin monomers protect and improve the beta cells
When a person has diabetes, the body either doesn't produce enough insulin or doesn't properly process blood sugar. The root of the problem is that the so-called beta cells, whose task is the production of insulin, fail, the doctors explain. In their study, the scientists found that beta cells function better and are strengthened in the long term when there is an increased presence of epicatechin monomers, these compounds occur naturally in cocoa.
Epicatechin monomers make beta cells work better
In their experiment, the researchers fed the special compounds of cocoa to animals with an otherwise low-fat diet. Doctors found that the compounds reduced the level of obesity in animals and improved their ability to deal with high blood sugar. The experts at Brigham Young University then continued to investigate what exactly happened at the cellular level, especially with the beta cells. The compounds in cocoa called epicatechin monomers improved the ability of beta cells to secrete insulin.
Cocoa better protects cells from oxidative stress
The compounds in cocoa protect the cells and increase their ability to deal with oxidative stress, explains author Professor Tessem. The epicatechin monomers make the mitochondria in the beta cells stronger. As a result, more ATP is produced, which leads to more insulin being released, the expert adds in a press release.
Epicatechin monomers are the most effective in protecting against type 2 diabetes
While there has been a lot of research into similar compounds in the past ten years, no one has been able to find out which compounds are the most beneficial or how exactly they generate positive benefits, the scientists explain. The current investigation now showed that epicatechin monomers are the most effective in protecting against type 2 diabetes.
More research is needed
The results of the study may help in the future that these compounds in foods or supplements contribute to more effective control of blood sugar. The start of type 2 diabetes can be delayed or even completely prevented, explains the author Professor Andrew Neilson. Doctors now need to find ways to use the cocoa compounds as a possible treatment for diabetic patients. (as)