Natural compound may benefit individuals with pre-diabetes

Some individuals who progress from a state of pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes require several different diabetes medications to control their blood sugar levels.

However, people who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes may be interested to know that a natural component of lecithin called dilauroyl phosphatidylcholine (DLPC) may reduce their risk of requiring diabetes medications in the future.

According to a recent study published in the journal Nature, DLPC stimulates the activity of a liver receptor protein called LRH-1, which regulates the body's production of bile.

The researchers explained that this increase in bile has been shown to improve metabolic disorders, which is why they hypothesized that it would benefit individuals with pre-diabetes.

The study's results showed that laboratory rodents that were given DLPC experienced improved regulation of blood glucose levels and fat within the liver. This is significant because individuals who have type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing fatty liver disease.

"[The rodents'] overall body weight was not changed. But they had improved sensitivity to insulin - which helps keep glucose levels in check - and less fatty livers. We are interested in why it gets rid of the fat in the liver," said lead researcher David D. Moore.

He said that DLPC decreased the levels of some proteins that contribute to the formation of fatty acids and triglycerides, including one that encourages fat deposits in the tissues of this organ.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) states that 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes. To diagnose this condition, doctors use either a fasting plasma glucose test or an oral glucose tolerance test.

The organization explains that normal fasting blood glucose is below 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). Therefore, a person who has a fasting blood glucose level between 100 and 125 mg/dl is considered to be pre-diabetic and a person with a measurement of 126 mg/dl or higher has diabetes.

Previous research has shown that people with pre-diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by up to 58 percent through lifestyle changes, such as even a small amount of weight loss and regular exercise, the ADA reports.

In order for individuals to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, those with pre-diabetes should reduce their body weight between 5 and 10 percent and engage in exercise for at least 30 minutes daily, the organization suggested.