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Papaya, the Pharmacological Target Anti Diabetes Functional Food

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By Kyle J. Norton

Papaya may be the next potential target of pharmacological companies to identify the ingredients for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, some scientists suggested.

Diabetes is a chronic and low-grade inflammatory disease caused the insufficient insulin entering the bloodstream to neutralize the levels of glucose due to insulin resistance.

There are many causes that facilitate the insufficient levels of insulin produced by the body.


Some researchers suggested it is either caused by cells in pancreas dying off or receptor sites clogged up by fat and cholesterol. and in some cases, insulin resistance is also caused by allergic reactions of cells in the immune system.


Is diabetes a low-grade inflammatory disease, Dr. Yansong ZHENG, in the answer of the above question said, “ Chemicals from the fat cells could lead to inflammatory response and the levels of certain inflammatory chemicals are often higher in people with T2D compared to people without diabetes as well. Inflammatory responses contribute to the development of T2D and some even insinuated that T2D is actually inflammatory disease”.


Moreover, in this review of the interconnection between obesity, inflammation and insulin resistance and pro-inflammatory cytokines cause insulin resistance in adipose tissue, skeletal muscle, and liver by inhibiting insulin signal transduction., Dr. Carl de Luca, the lead author at the University of California, wrote, “The sources of cytokines in insulin-resistant states are the insulin target tissue themselves, primarily fat and liver, but to a larger extent the activated tissue-resident macrophages” 


“While the initiating factors of this inflammatory response remain to be fully determined, chronic inflammation in these tissues could cause localized insulin resistance via autocrine/paracrine cytokine signaling and systemic insulin resistance via endocrine cytokine signaling all of which contribute to the abnormal metabolic state.


These results indicated a strong relationship between chronic low-grade inflammation and diabetes caused by immune mistakenly targets the tissues of adipose tissue, skeletal muscle, and liver in the initiation of insulin resistance, the major cause of diabetes onset.


Papaya is a species of Carica Papaya, belongs to the family Caricaceae and native to the tropics of the Americas, and was first cultivated in Mexico and several centuries

Chemical constituents of papaya include
Alkaloids, Cardenolides, Anthraquinones, Saponins, Tannin, phenol, flavonoid, anthocyanin, Benzyl glucosinolate, benzylisothiocyanate, 5-(Hydroxymethyl)-2-furancarboxaldehyde, 2,3-dihydro-3,5-dihydroxy-6-methyl-4H-pyran-4-one and 1,3-dihydroxy-2-propanone, etc.

In the reaffirming of the use of unripe pawpaw (Carica papaya Linn) fruit for the management or treatment of diabetes mellitus in folklore medicine.,researchers launched an investigation to examine the inhibitory effects of the aqueous extract of different parts of unripe pawpaw fruit on key enzymes linked to type 2 diabetes (α-amylase and α-glucosidase) and sodium nitroprusside (SNP)-induced lipid peroxidation in rat pancreas in vitro.


All the extracts from papaya exerted a strong effect in the inhibition of α-amylase (IC50=0.87-1.11 mg/mL), α-glucosidase (IC50=1.76-2.64 mg/mL) and SNP-induced lipid peroxidation (IC50=1.99-2.42 mg/mL) in a dose-dependent manner. 


The combination of the flesh, seed, and peel in equal amounts had the highest inhibitory effect on α-amylase and α-glucosidase activities compared to extract treated rats.


Dr.Oboh G, after taking into account co and confounders, said, “Strong inhibitory activities of the unripe pawpaw fruit against key enzymes linked to type 2 diabetes and SNP-induced lipid peroxidation in rat pancreas could be part of the mechanism by which unripe pawpaw is used in the management/prevention of diabetes mellitus in folk medicine”.


Furthermore, in the study involving diabetes induced in rats by intraperitoneal administration of 60 mg/kg of streptozotocin (STZ) followed by the administered aqueous extract of C. papaya in three different doses (0.75, 1.5 and 3 g/100 mL) as drinking water to both diabetic and non-diabetic animals during 4 weeks.


After examining the blood samples collected from the treatment group compared to the nondiabetic group, the researcher found that
 * The aqueous extract of Carica papaya (0.75 g and 1.5 g/100 mL) significantly decreased blood glucose levels (p<0.05) in diabetic rats.

* Low plasma insulin levels did not change after treatment in diabetic rats, but they significantly increased in non-diabetic animals.

* Pancreatic islet cells were normal in non-diabetic treated animals, whereas in diabetic treated rats, C. papaya could help islet regeneration manifested as the preservation of cell size.

* In the liver of diabetic treated rats, C. papaya prevented hepatocyte disruption, as well as accumulation of glycogen and lipids.

* An antioxidant effect of C. papaya extract was also detected in diabetic rats.


Dr. Juárez-Rojop IE, the lead authors said, “aqueous extract of C. papaya exerted a hypoglycemic and antioxidant effect; it also improved the lipid profile in diabetic rats. In addition, the leaf extract positively affected integrity and function of both liver and pancreas”


These results suggested that the aqueous extract of Carica papaya exerts a significant inhibitory effect in diabetes rat through mechanisms involving many aspects.


A short-term study by the University of Mauritius, also found that supplementation of a fermented papaya also exhibited the antihyperglycemic effect in the management of diabetes and for those at risk for cardiovascular disease, neurological disease and other conditions worsened by overt inflammation and oxidative stress.


Taken all together, papaya may be considered a functional food for the prevention and an adjunct therapy for treatment of diabetes through its antihyperglycemic activity without inducing any adverse effects

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Author Biography
Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)

Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blogs, self-growth, best before it’s news, the karate GB daily, etc.,.
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada – Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.

(1) Inhibition of key enzymes linked to type 2 diabetes and sodium nitroprusside-induced lipid peroxidation in rat pancreas by water-extractable phytochemicals from unripe pawpaw fruit (Carica papaya). by Oboh G, Olabiyi AA, Akinyemi AJ, Ademiluyi AO. (PubMed)
(2) Hypoglycemic effect of Carica papaya leaves in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats by Juárez-Rojop IE1, Díaz-Zagoya JC, Ble-Castillo JL, Miranda-Osorio PH, Castell-Rodríguez AE, Tovilla-Zárate CA, Rodríguez-Hernández A, Aguilar-Mariscal H, Ramón-Frías T, Bermúdez-Ocaña DY. (PubMed)
(3) Relationship between Type 2 Diabetes and Inflammation Diseases: Cohort Study in Chinese Adults by Yansong ZHENG,1 Guilan ZHANG,2 Zhilai CHEN,1 and Qiang ZENG. (PMC)

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