Source: Lian F. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014;doi:10.1210/jc.2013-3276.
January 16, 2014
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Chinese herbal medicine lessened progression to type 2 diabetes

Source: Lian F. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014;doi:10.1210/jc.2013-3276.
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The use of a Chinese herbal medicine for 12 months decreased the onset of type 2 diabetes in patients with impaired glucose tolerance by 32.1% compared with placebo.

“With diabetes evolving into a serious public health burden worldwide, it is crucial to take steps to stem the flood of cases,” Chun-Su Yuan, MD, PhD, of the University of Chicago, said in a press release. “Patients often struggle to make the necessary lifestyle changes to control blood sugar levels, and current medications have limitations and can have adverse gastrointestinal side effects. Traditional Chinese herbs may offer a new option for managing blood sugar levels, either alone or in combination with other treatments.”

The researchers conducted a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that included 389 participants at 11 research sites in China. The patients were randomly assigned to five capsules (1.6 g) of Tianqi (n=36; Heilongjiang Baoquan Pharmaceutical Co.) or placebo (n=56) three times per day before meals for 1 year.

Chun-Su Yuan MD PhD

Chun-Su Yuan

They also were administered 1 month of lifestyle education and met with nutritionists twice during the study. Patients underwent a standard 75-g oral glucose tolerance test every 3 months to assess the progression of IGT to type 2 diabetes.

Of those assigned to Tianqi, 36 patients (18.18%) developed diabetes by the end of the trial, whereas 56 patients (29.32%) in the placebo group developed diabetes (P=.01), according to data.

The researchers reported significant differences in the number of patients who demonstrated normal glucose tolerance at the end of the study between those in the Tianqi (n=125, 63.13%) and placebo groups (n=89, 46.6%; P=.001).

“Few controlled clinical trials have examined traditional Chinese medicine’s impact on diabetes, and the findings from our study showed this approach can be very useful in slowing the disease’s progression,” Xiaolin Tong, MD, PhD, of Guangànmen Hospital in Beijing, said in the press release. “More research is needed to evaluate the role Chinese herbal medicine can play in preventing and controlling diabetes.”

No severe adverse events were reported during the trial.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.