Friday, 30 December 2016

Bay leaf and type II diabetes

What up me ducks? I did not abandon this article as I received this question long time back from an anonymous enquirer. But I just don't want to make of The Toxicologist Today a monoculture where only bay leaf articles flourish, like Cuba and sugar cane in the beginning of the 20th century. So I try and space the topics a bit more to get different people involved and also learn from other aspects of science. But I also try and answer all my readers, and on the 4th of November this year, someone asked me the following:

"I'm interested in the bay leaf for type 2 diabetes. What is the best way to consume it for maximum benefits?"

Well, I'm no professional cook (even though I create some kick-ass food at home) so I won't be focusing too much on recipes, but I will look into literature available on bay leaf benefiting diabetes type II.

Most people are aware of diabetes and all it encompasses, but I'll offer a very quick review for the sake of those who have been oblivious to it 'til today:

There are two main types of diabetes, mellitus (where glucose is not processed adequately and efficiently and excess glucose ends up 'unfiltered' in the urine) and insipidus (where the kidney does not reabsorb enough water reducing its capacity to concentrate urine).

And there are two main types of diabetes mellitus: type I (formerly known an insulin-dependent) and type II (formerly known as non-insulin dependent).

Diabetes insipidus can result in two very typical problems, i.e., polyuridia (production of large volumes of dilute urine) and polydipsia (tremendous thirst!). In any case the diagram up there can aid further understanding. 

Now, how can bay leaf help with diabetes type II, if it can indeed help with diabetes at all?!

Matter of fact it does help according to Khan et al (2009) [1] that conducted a study where groups of people were given capsules containing different amounts of ground bay leaves (ranging from 1 to 3 g) for a month, and a number of physiological indicators were measured for improvement, resulting in:

- 8% decrease in the so called 'bad cholesterol' levels, the low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLC);
- An increased average of 24% in the so called 'good cholesterol' levels, the high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC);
- A decreased average of around 30% in the levels of triglycerides (stored lipids in the blood, let's say) that can cause atherosclerosis (thickening of the artery walls due to the invasion of white blood cells);
- The placebo group showed no shift whatsoever - that's good news!

In a more recent study by Aljamal (2011) [2] where the author attempted to determine if bay leaves could prevent or even alleviate type II diabetes, again, capsules containing 2 g of ground bay leaves were administered to two groups of people for a month. The treated group and the placebo group. The results for the treated group revealed:

- A 30% decrease in plasma glucose levels (in raw terms the sugar in their blood);
- A 24% decrease in the LDL cholesterol (remember the bad one);
- An 18% increase in the HDL cholesterol (remember the good one);
- A 25% decrease in triglycerides and no significant changes in the placebo group (again, great news!).

The obtained values in both studies are very close generating yet more robustness to the assays. So we can assume, base on both articles, that:

2 g of ground bay leaf daily for a period of 30 days may indeed benefit the health of people with type 2 diabetes, due to the improvement of the specifically measured cardiovascular indicators.

See you soon guys, and have a very healthy 2017. Let's try and make people live up to the age of 125 for the rest of the century!

Post image kindly taken from a website that generates so many pop-ups I won't leave you the link here, for the sake of your sanity!

2nd image kindly taken from 'Ask the food lab: What's the point of bay leaves?', Serious Eats, [], last visited on the 30th of December 2016, last update unknown. 

[1] Khan, A., Zaman, G., Anderson, R. A. 92009). "Bay leaves improve glucose and lipid profile of people with type 2 diabetes". Journal of Clinical Biochemistry Nutrition, 44(1), pp. 52-56.

[2] Aljamal, A. (2011). "Effects of bay leaveson the patients with diabetes mellitus".

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