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Stuttgart, Germany

Van Proeyen K.,Catholic University of Leuven | Ramaekers M.,Catholic University of Leuven | Pischel I.,PhytoLab GmbH and Co. KG. | Hespel P.,Catholic University of Leuven
International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of Opuntia ficus-indica (OFI) cladode and fruit-skin extract on blood glucose and plasma insulin increments due to high-dose carbohydrate ingestion, before and after exercise. Healthy, physically active men (n = 6; 21.0 ± 1.6 years, 78.1 ± 6.0 kg) participated in a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study involving 2 experimental sessions. In each session, the subjects successively underwent an oral glucose tolerance test at rest (OGTT R), a 30-min cycling bout at ∼75% VO 2max, and another OGTT after exercise (OGTT EX). They received capsules containing either 1,000 mg OFI or placebo (PL) 30 min before and immediately after the OGTT R. Blood samples were collected before (t 0) and at 30-min intervals after ingestion of 75 g glucose for determination of blood glucose and serum insulin. In OGTT EX an additional 75-g oral glucose bolus was administered at t 60. In OGTT R, OFI administration reduced the area under the glucose curve (AUC GLUC) by 26%, mainly due to lower blood glucose levels at t 30 and t60 (p < .05). Furthermore, a higher serum insulin concentration was noted after OFI intake at baseline and at t 30 (p < .05). In OGTT EX, blood glucose at t 60 was ∼10% lower in OFI than in PL, which resulted in a decreased AUC GLUC (-37%, p < .05). However, insulin values and AUC INS were not different between OFI and PL. In conclusion, the current study shows that OFI extract can increase plasma insulin and thereby facilitate the clearance of an oral glucose load from the circulation at rest and after endurance exercise in healthy men. © 2012 Human Kinetics, Inc. Source

Melzig M.F.,Institute For Pharmazie Der Freien University Berlin | Funke I.,PhytoLab GmbH and Co. KG.
Zeitschrift fur Phytotherapie

Summary Type 2 diabetes: a rationale indication for artichoke? Antidiabetics of plant origin are commonly used. However, a proof of their efficacy or their mode of action is often missing. Based on the knowledge about polyphenolic inhibitors of alpha-amylase from plants we selected artichoke preparations for investigating the alpha-amylase inhibiting properties. Due to their ability to lower the postprandial blood glucose level in addition to its lipid-lowering effect, artichoke might be a useful adjuvant drug to influence the metabolic condition in case of metabolic syndrome. Source

Weinoehrl S.,University of Florida | Weinoehrl S.,University of Vienna | Feistel B.,Finzelberg GmbH and Co. KG | Pischel I.,PhytoLab GmbH and Co. KG. | And 2 more authors.
Phytotherapy Research

Recent concerns about the potential carcinogenicity of estragole and methyleugenol led a number of regulatory bodies to call for restrictions on the use of herbs that contain these constituents. A number of medicinal plants produce essential oils that contain estragole and methyleugenol, including Artemisia dracunculus L. (tarragon). Previous studies have proven the antidiabetic properties of tarragon. In order to address the safety concerns of estragole containing tarragon extracts, an extraction procedure was developed to minimize the estragole and methyleugenol content in tarragon extracts and the ethanol versus aqueous extracts from two Artemisia dracunculus cultivars (French and Russian tarragon) were tested for blood glucose lowering effects in rats. It could be demonstrated that aqueous extracts of both Artemisia cultivars did not contain detectable amounts of estragole and methyleugenol, whereas ethanol extracts (60% v/v) of the French cultivar contained higher levels of the aforementioned compounds than those of the Russian cultivar. Further testing revealed that Russian tarragon lowered blood glucose levels in rats after glucose challenge, with the ethanol extract being as active as the aqueous extract. The results suggest that by using adequate production procedures the amount of potentially harmful compounds in extracts can be limited without affecting the overall pharmacological activities of these preparations. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

Da-Costa-Rocha I.,University of London | Bonnlaender B.,Plantextrakt GmbH and Co. KG | Sievers H.,PhytoLab GmbH and Co. KG. | Pischel I.,University of London | And 2 more authors.
Food Chemistry

Hibiscus sabdariffa L. (Hs, roselle; Malvaceae) has been used traditionally as a food, in herbal drinks, in hot and cold beverages, as a flavouring agent in the food industry and as a herbal medicine. In vitro and in vivo studies as well as some clinical trials provide some evidence mostly for phytochemically poorly characterised Hs extracts. Extracts showed antibacterial, anti-oxidant, nephro- and hepato-protective, renal/diuretic effect, effects on lipid metabolism (anti-cholesterol), anti-diabetic and anti-hypertensive effects among others. This might be linked to strong antioxidant activities, inhibition of α-glucosidase and α-amylase, inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzymes (ACE), and direct vaso-relaxant effect or calcium channel modulation. Phenolic acids (esp. protocatechuic acid), organic acid (hydroxycitric acid and hibiscus acid) and anthocyanins (delphinidin-3-sambubioside and cyanidin-3-sambubioside) are likely to contribute to the reported effects. More well designed controlled clinical trials are needed which use phytochemically characterised preparations. Hs has an excellent safety and tolerability record. © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Source

Sanzini E.,Istituto Superiore di Sanita | Badea M.,Transilvania University of Brasov | Santos A.D.,PhytoLab GmbH and Co. KG. | Restani P.,PhytoLab GmbH and Co. KG. | Sievers H.,University of Milan
Food and Function

It is essential to guarantee the safety of unprocessed plants and food supplements if consumers' health is to be protected. Although botanicals and their preparations are regulated at EU level, at least in part, there is still considerable discretion at national level, and Member States may choose to classify a product either as a food supplement or as a drug. Accurate data concerning the finished products and the plant used as the starting point are of major importance if risks and safety are to be properly assessed, but in addition standardized criteria for herbal preparation must be laid down and respected by researchers and manufacturers. Physiologically active as well as potentially toxic constituents need to be identified, and suitable analytical methods for their measurement specified, particularly in view of the increasing incidence of economically motivated adulteration of herbal raw materials and extracts. It remains the duty of food operators to keep up with the scientific literature and to provide sufficient information to enable the adaptation of specifications, sampling schemes and analytical methods to a fast-changing environment. © 2011 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Source

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