Type-2 diabetes (T2D) is a metabolic disease characterized by permanent hyperglycemia,
whose development can be prevented or delayed by using therapeutic agents and implementing lifestyle
changes. Some therapeutic alternatives include regulation of glycemia through modulation of different
mediators and enzymes, such as AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a highly relevant cellular
energy sensor for metabolic homeostasis regulation, with particular relevance in the modulation of
liver and muscle insulin sensitivity. This makes it a potential therapeutic target for antidiabetic drugs.
In fact, some of them are standard drugs used for treatment of T2D, such as biguanides and thiazolidindiones.
In this review, we compile the principal natural products that are activators of AMPK and
their effect on glucose metabolism, which could make them candidates as future antidiabetic agents.
Phenolics such as flavonoids and resveratrol, alkaloids such as berberine, and some saponins are potential
natural activators of AMPK with a potential future as antidiabetic drugs.