FINDINGS: UCLA researchers demonstrated that an over-the-counter dietary supplement may help inhibit development of insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, conditions that are involved in the development of Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which affect millions worldwide.
In this early preclinical study, a naturally produced amino acid-like molecule called GABA was given orally to mice that were obese, insulin resistant and in the early stages of Type 2 diabetes. Researchers found that GABA suppressed the inflammatory immune responses that are involved in the development of this condition.
According to study authors, GABA helped prevent disease progression and improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, even after onset of Type 2 diabetes in mice. Researchers also identified the regulatory immune cells that likely direct GABA's activity in inhibiting inflammation.
IMPACT: Researchers note that in the future, GABA taken as a supplement or related medications may provide new therapeutic agents for the treatment of obesity-related Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
AUTHORS: Dr. Jide Tian and Dr. Daniel Kaufman, both professors in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, are available for interviews.
FUNDING: No outside funding was used for the study.
JOURNAL: The research appears in the Sept. 22 online edition of the peer-reviewed journal, PLoS One. A copy of the full study is available.