A new study has discovered a natural molecule that can be used to treat insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.The molecule derived from Omega three fatty acids replicates the effects of physical exercise. The researchers from the Université Laval Faculty of Medicine, the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Research Center, and the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods published their findings in Nature medicine.
Previous studies have demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce insulin resistance caused by a diet high in saturated fat, controlled by a bioactive lipid called protectin D1. Another related compound, called protectin DX (PDX), triggers the production and release of interleukin 6 (IL-6) in muscle cells. The same response that occurs during physical exercise. “Once in the bloodstream, IL-6 controls glucose levels in two ways: it signals to the liver to reduce glucose production and acts directly on the muscles to increase glucose uptake,” said the lead study author, André Marette.
In this study researchers compared the effects of mice lacking the IL-gene to demonstrate the link between PDX and IL-6. “The mechanism of action described for PDX represents a new therapeutic strategy for improving glucose control,” said Marette, but it does not replace the cardiovascular and hormonal effects associated with physical exercise.
Phillip J White, Philippe St-Pierre, Alexandre Charbonneau, Patricia L Mitchell, Emmanuelle St-Amand, Bruno Marcotte, André Marette. Protectin DX alleviates insulin resistance by activating a myokine-liver glucoregulatory axis. Nature Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nm.3549