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Study under review: Efficacy of Melissa officinalis L. (lemon balm) extract on glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in individuals with type 2 diabetes: A randomized, double-blind, clinical trial
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disease that is the result of insulin resistance and beta-cell dysfunction. Some of the metabolic disturbances that may occur in type 2 diabetes include impaired glucose metabolism, dyslipidemia (unhealthy levels of fat in the bloodstream), and hypertension. There are a panoply of therapeutic options aimed at treating each of these. For example, with regard to lipids, statin therapy lowers cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase, while fenofibrate can help lower triglycerides via activation of PPAR-alpha and lipoprotein lipase. As you can see in Figure 1, the pharmaceutical metformin primarily targets glucose metabolism through AMPK, but may also act through non-AMPK pathways, too. However, very few interventions are designed to target multiple mechanisms at once.
Exercise is one intervention that can target multiple mechanisms simultaneously (e.g. AMPK and PPAR-alpha). In addition to exercise, there are many natural compounds that target several mechanisms at once and may provide benefit for many factors of the metabolic disturbances present in diabetes. Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) is a plant that shows anti-diabetic effects as well as possibly having lipid lowering properties. Previous research in animals and cell culture has shown that lemon balm lowers blood glucose and blood lipids in rodents, and activates GLUT4 (one of the main glucose uptake proteins) and PPAR-gamma (a regulator of fatty-acid metabolism), key genes that are directly involved in these processes. Lemon balm has also been shown to directly reduce fatty acid synthesis.
Despite the pre-clinical data showing promise for lemon balm having anti-diabetic properties, there is a paucity of data on the effect of lemon balm in people with type 2 diabetes. The present study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial assessing the impact of lemon balm on glycemic control and cardiovascular risk markers in people with type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is a metabolic disease, which often goes hand-in-hand with other metabolic disturbances, such as dyslipidemia and hypertension. Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) is a plant that can target many of these features of diabetes. The present study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial on the effect of lemon balm on glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes.
Other Articles in Issue #52 (February 2019)
Individual differences in cardio-metabolic response to caffeine may not predict its benefits on endurance performance
Caffeine doesn't benefit every athlete to the same extent. This study aimed to discover if the ergogenic effects of caffeine could be predicted by certain physiological responses to it.
Carnivores convert carnitine, but can vegetarians?
Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) is associated with an increased disease risk. It's manufactured with the help of the gut microbiome from L-carnitine. Vegetarians make less TMAO from L-carnitine than omnivores do. The question is: why?
Do low carbohydrate diets increase cardiovascular risk?
This meta-analysis found that low carb diets bump up LDL-C levels slightly. What's less clear is how much this matters.
Interview: Jason M. Valadão, MD, MA, MLS, Lieutenant Commander, US Navy
We chat with physician, naval officer, and author Jason Valadão about the nutritional strategies he uses with his patients, his top tip for gaining control of exercise and diet routines, and more.
Does a post-workout high GI meal improve sleep and next day training performance?
This study aimed to explore how a high glycemic index meal after an evening training bout affects both sleep and performance.
The anti-inflammatory effect of a vegan versus American Heart Association-recommended diet in coronary artery disease
Inflammation plays a major role in cardiovascular disease. This study examined whether a vegan or AHA-recommended diet can make a bigger impact on a major inflammatory marker in people with coronary artery disease.
Interview: Shavawn M. Forester PhD, RDN
In this chat with the Chief Science Officer of The Nutrient Institute, we discuss science communication, her take on some popular nutrition topics, and more.