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Functional ingredient uncovered by AI maintains healthy glucose levels

Functional ingredient uncovered by AI maintains healthy glucose levels.jpg
A compound from pea protein with glucose-modulating activity—discovered by artificial intelligence (AI)—reduces blood levels of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c).

According to research published in Nutrients (DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13051635), the functional ingredient NRT_N0G5IJ peptide, originated from plant-based pea protein and discovered by AI, could prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) as it helps to keep healthy levels of blood glucose and reduce HbA1c—a biomarker for glycaemic control.

The majority of prediabetes conditions eventually develop T2DM. Thus, researchers from Ireland used AI and machine learning to search for a functional ingredient that could offer a cost-efficient solution to prevent the onset of T2DM. They studied and analysed the NRT_N0G5IJ peptide glucose effects in human skeletal muscle cells (in vitro), the pre-clinical analysis of T2DM in mice model, and the results from a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial with prediabetics participants.

The results showed that NRT_N0G5IJ caused a significant increase in the glucose uptake of the skeletal cells. For the animal study, the mice were given NRT_N0G5IJ daily for a duration of 43 days—researchers measured the glucose levels in the mice weekly, and after week 4, glucose levels were drastically decreased compared to the control; NRT_N0G5IJ also reduced HbA1c levels following 4 weeks of intervention in diabetic mice. NRT_N0G5IJ was also noted to keep mice weight’s balance compared to control mice which gained weight.

When looking at HbA1c levels in humans, researchers noted a 0.12% of HbA1c decrease over a period of 12 weeks. “When examining the ITT [intention to treat] population, a significant reduction in HbA1c percentage was still observed with NRT_N0G5IJ (N = 23) treatment compared to placebo treatment (p = 0.05). Those supplemented with NRT_N0G5IJ exhibited significantly greater reduction in HbA1c percentage compared to placebo (N = 21) or rice NPN [protein hydrolysate control] (N = 21) cohorts, indicating that the effect of peptide network on HbA1c percentage was protein-dependent”—they also highlighted.

The results suggest that the overall decreased levels of HbA1c could promote health benefits for prediabetic people and potentially prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Further, dietary supplementation could greatly benefit an ageing population looking to maintain healthy glucose and HbA1c levels. Researchers concluded: "Although the effects were modest and a further long-term study and dose optimisation are warranted, these initial significant changes in HbA1c concentrations could result in concomitant significant health benefits.”

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