Could dahlias be the next weapon against diabetes?

Dahlias, D. pinnata, are more than simply beautifully symmetrical flowers. A new study describes a trio of molecules found in the petals of these flowers that may improve blood sugar regulation in people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

During a randomized, controlled, cross-over clinical trial, the researchers found that an extract containing the three dahlia molecules significantly improved the study participants’ blood sugar regulation.

In 2015, the authors of the study, from the University of Otago in Aotearoa — the Maori name for New Zealand — established that a dietary flavonoid called butein could reduce brain inflammation and that this could improve blood sugar levels in people who have issues with blood sugar level control.

The new study pinpoints the petals of the dahlia flower as a source of butein and two other molecules that boost its efficacy.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 96 million Americans have prediabetes, and another 37.3 million have diabetes. Of those, the CDC estimates 8.5 million people have yet to be diagnosed. The World Health Organization says that 422 million people worldwide had the disease in 2014, and diabetes was the direct cause of 1.5 million deaths in 2019.


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