Natural Products Derived from the Mediterranean Diet with Antidiabetic Activity: from Insulin Mimetic Hypoglycemic to Nutriepigenetic Modulator Compounds

Author(s): Georgia-Eirini Deligiannidou, Elena Philippou, Melita Vidakovic, Wim V. Berghe, Alexandros Heraclides, Nevena Grdovic, Mirjana Mihailovic, Christos Kontogiorgis*.

Journal Name: Current Pharmaceutical Design

Volume 25 , Issue 15 , 2019


Background: The Mediterranean diet is a healthy eating pattern that protects against the development of Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), a metabolic disease characterized by elevated blood sugar levels due to pancreatic beta-cell functional impairment and insulin resistance in various tissues. Inspired by the ancient communities, this diet emphasizes eating primarily plant-based foods, including vegetables, legumes, fruits, cereals, and nuts. Importantly, virgin olive oil is used as the principal source of fat. Red meat is consumed in low amounts while wine and fish are consumed moderately.

Objective: Here, we review the most beneficial components of the Mediterranean Diet and tentative mechanisms of action for prevention and/or management of T2DM, based on research conducted within the last decade.

Methods: The references over the last five years have been reviewed and they have been selected properly according to inclusion/ exclusion criteria.

Results: Several bioactive diet components were evaluated to prevent inflammation and cytokine-induced oxidative damage, reduce glucose concentration, carbohydrate absorption and increase insulin sensitivity and related gene expression.

Conclusion: The adherence to a healthy lifestyle, including diet, exercise and habits remains the best approach for the prevention of diabetes as well as frequent check-ups and education. Though diabetes has a strong genetic component, in recent years many reports strongly point to the critical role of lifestyle specific epigenetic modifications in the development of T2DM. It remains to be established how different components of the Mediterranean Diet interact and influence the epigenetic landscape to prevent or treat the disease.

Keywords: Mediterranean diet, diabetes, natural products, glycaemic control, nutri(epi)genetics, pancreatic beta-cell.

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Year: 2019
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DOI: 10.2174/1381612825666190705191000
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