Scientists Identify Natural Compound That Could Prevent A Range Of Metabolic Conditions
January 14, 2011 by Special To Personal Liberty
Diabetes and high cholesterol have reached epidemic proportions in America, and in their quest to find natural remedies to these conditions scientists have recently singled out birch bark as a potential candidate.
A study published in the January issue of Cell Metabolism suggests that a compound called betulin, found in birch bark, lowered cholesterol levels, helped prevent obesity and improved insulin sensitivity in experiments conducted in animal models.
Moreover, mice treated with the extract showed better resistance to atherosclerotic plaques in their arteries. Such plaques are responsible for cardiovascular diseases, which can lead to a heart attack.
The scientists, led by Bao-Liang Song of the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, explain that betulin targets proteins that are important for activating the genes responsible for the production of cholesterol, fatty acids and triglycerides.
The team adds that the compound is readily available and appears to have low toxicity. In fact, it has been hailed as a possible precursor to a new generation of safer and effective treatments for a range of metabolic conditions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 20 percent and 33 percent of American adults could develop diabetes in the next four decades.