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Function of Mulberry Extract

Function of Mulberry Extract
From Michael T. Murray ND    2023.10.07

The mulberry plant (Morus indica) is probably best known as food for silkworms, but it has also been highly regarded in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine for human use. It has been shown to possess significant hypoglycemic effects in animal studies, and it contains an effective α-glucosidase inhibitor along with other compounds that appear to improve blood glucose control. Mulberry extract has been studied in T2DM, and the results are excellent. In one study, researchers decided to investigate its effect on blood and RBC lipids as well as to compare its blood glucose–lowering actions with those of the oral antihyperglycemic drug glyburide. Patients were given either dried mulberry leaves at a dosage of 3 g/day or one tablet of glyburide (5 mg/day) for 4 weeks. Mulberry therapy significantly improved diabetic control in patients with T2DM (Table 165.5). The results clearly show that fasting blood glucose concentrations were significantly lowered with mulberry therapy, suggesting that it is effective in controlling diabetes. Compared with glyburide treatment, mulberry therapy significantly reduced the fasting blood glucose concentrations of patients with diabetes (27%; P < 0.01). However, no significant differences were observed in blood glucose concentrations between pretreatments and posttreatments with glyburide (P 0.05). Mulberry extract was also superior to the approved drug in its ability to decrease HgbA1c, total cholesterol, LDL-C, and triglycerides. It also resulted in an increase in HDL-C (the “good cholesterol”). Although these changes were not statistically significant (P > 0.05), there are strong suggestions that this natural product is clearly superior to an established pharmaceutical agent (see Table 165.5).

In addition to the benefits for blood glucose levels and blood lipids, mulberry therapy was also shown to reduce the amount of lipid peroxidation to the cell membranes of RBCs, indicating a significant antioxidant effect. Additionally, mulberry therapy significantly decreased membrane cholesterol in patients with T2DM.

Total alkaloids from mulberry leaf have hypoglycemic effects in streptozotocin- (STZ-) induced diabetic mice. Some alkaloids in mulberry leaf are potent inhibitors of mammalian digestive glycosidases. These mulberry alkaloids, especially 1-deoxynojirimycin (DNJ), decrease α-glucosidase activity by competitive inhibition through binding to the enzyme active site to mimic natural substrates.

DNJ-enriched mulberry extract may be useful in controlling postprandial hyperglycemia in pre-diabetic or mild diabetic individuals. Oral administration of 0.24% DNJ and its derivatives was found to inhibit absorption of sucrose and polysaccharides in human and rat intestinal tissue samples. Other investigations on the pharmacokinetics and bioavailability of DNJ showed that oral mulberry DNJ administered to rats is absorbed intact from the gastrointestinal tract, diffuses into the liver, and is then excreted with a short half-life. Thus, studies such as the aforementioned on the metabolism of DNJ help lay the foundation for developing mulberry leaf as a dietary supplement for diabetes. As such, extracting the highest DNJ content as possible from mulberry is a high priority. In studies that investigated extraction of DNJ, when temperature was sustained at 98°C for 400 s, 95% of DNJ in dry mulberry tea was extracted20 and water extraction versus extraction using different concentrations of ethanol produced varying contents of DNJ. Other studies are exploring ways to increase production of DNJ during fermentation of mulberry leaf, such as inoculating the fermentation broth with the fungus ganoderma (Ganoderma lucidum).

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