Prevent diabetes with ursolic acid
11/29/2018 // RJ Jhonson // Views

Ursolic acid is one good reason to eat apple peel. The triterpenoid, found in herbs and spices, as well as the peel of apples and other fruits, can improve the components of metabolic syndrome. This is according to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.

The study looked at the effects of ursolic acid on metabolic syndrome and its components. Metabolic syndrome is composed of several metabolic disorders – diabetes, obesity, and hypertension – occurring together. The result is a dangerous combination that increases your risk of dying from coronary heart disease or stroke.

To manage metabolic syndrome, one needs to manage its components. The authors of the study wanted to understand how ursolic acid can affect insulin sensitivity and inflammation, both of which contribute to metabolic syndrome's progression.

The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial involving 24 individuals aged 30 to 60 years. All participants were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome without treatment. They were randomly divided into two groups of 12 members each – one group received a placebo while the other was 150 mg of ursolic acid which they needed to take orally once a day for 12 weeks.

After the treatment, 50 percent of the participants entered remission from metabolic syndrome, demonstrating significant reductions in body weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, fasting glucose, and insulin sensitivity. These findings convinced the researchers that ursolic acid may indeed aid in managing the different components of metabolic syndrome.


Health benefits of ursolic acid

Ursolic acid is a triterpenoid found in plant sources. Some of its notable sources are herbs like rosemary, oregano, basil, lavender, and thyme, as well as fruits like cranberries, bilberries, and prunes. Apples also have ursolic acid, but the greatest concentrations of the substance are found in the peel. (Related: Apple peel compound may help fight obesity.)

Ursolic acid offers many health benefits:

  • It fights inflammation – In small doses, inflammation is an indicator of a functional immune system but can be a problem when it persists longer than it should. Ursolic acid has shown the ability to regulate immune responses, preventing the onset of chronic inflammation.
  • It prevents weakening memory – Malondialdehyde is an indicator of oxidative stress and cell membrane injury. Ursolic acid prevents the accumulation of malondialdehyde and the depletion of glutathione, considered to be the body's master antioxidant, in the hippocampus. Although found in the area of the brain that regulates emotions, the hippocampus is largely involved in the creation of long-term memories. Damage to its cells will thus have a negative impact on your ability to remember information.
  • It can help prevent cancer – Ursolic acid has different, albeit similarly beneficial effects against various types of cancer. In general, it has been demonstrated to have the ability to decrease cancer markers and facilitate cancer cell destruction. It has been shown to prevent the proliferation and reverse the drug resistance of ovarian cancer and prevent the development of skin cancer. It can also protect against liver cancer by inhibiting the growth of tumor cells.
  • It is antimicrobial – Ursolic acid aids in fighting pathogenic germs, such as mycobacteria, by boosting the action of your immune system.
  • It helps reduce post-stroke damage – Stroke occurs when abnormal clotting cuts the supply of blood and, consequently, oxygen, to the brain. However, the rush of oxygen, once blood flow is restored, can result in an inflammatory response so intense it's dangerous – it can actually impair the brain's ability to fully recover. Ursolic acid reduces the production of the enzymes responsible for this response, suppressing inflammation in the process.
  • It enhances muscle growth – As shown in the above study, ursolic acid can increase insulin sensitivity. This effect benefits muscle growth while reducing the levels of fat and glucose in the blood.

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