In the U.S., around 30 million people -- that's one in 10 people -- have diabetes, with up to 95 percent of those being Type 2 diabetes. While this type of illness is considered to be severely life-threatening, especially if it is not managed well, it is important to know that it can largely be prevented -- with a healthy lifestyle and a proper diet. However, neglecting these two factors is the greatest risk factor for diabetes and its precursors, like metabolic syndrome. The term, which refers to a group of risk factors that increases a person's risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other health problems, is an increasingly common problem in adults, especially due to the rise of obesity.
For the researchers, they noted that in Japan, where the study was held, there is a dearth of information on functional foods that help improve symptoms of metabolic syndrome. In a recent survey from the Japanese health ministry, there are about 10 million adults in the country that are suspected to have diabetes.
The team evaluated the reported health benefits of the chomeiso using both clinical and laboratory tests, especially its ability to regulate lipids and blood sugar. In particular, the researchers recruited 21 people for clinical testing, all of whom were diagnosed with dyslipidemia, which ranged from borderline low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to moderately high levels of triglycerides. These two biomarkers are associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, among others.
The trial ran for 12 weeks, during which, the participants were given a powdered form of chomeiso, which they were to dilute in water and drink three times a day. Every four weeks, the researchers then took blood samples to determine any changes in biomarkers for dyslipidemia. They also measured the participants' body composition and recorded any changes during treatment.
The findings revealed that taking chomeiso markedly improved biomarkers for dyslipidemia in the participants. In particular, they noted that Hb1Ac, which is associated with poor glucose control, significantly decreased after the trial. Additionally, adiponectin -- a hormone known for its essential role in protecting the body against insulin resistance, diabetes, and atherosclerosis -- had increased during the trial, especially in obese participants. This meant that the powder exhibited a greater effect in those who are already obese, especially with the increase of adiponectin. Regarding the effects of chomeiso on a person's body fat percentage, the researchers found a drop in the percentage after just eight weeks of treatment. (Related: Research finds medicinal plants, such as nettles, have potential for fighting diabetes.)
"In this study, it was found that intake of lyophilized powder of [chomeiso] for 12 weeks reduced body fat percentage and Hb1A1c level, which may contribute to improvement in glucose metabolism," the researchers concluded in their report.