Similar to anti-diabetes and anti-obesity medications
Licorice is a common flavonoid used in food and beverage. It was featured as a medicinal plant last 2012 because of its natural ability to cure diseases like infection, gastrointestinal diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus, and diabetes. The major issues brought by metabolic syndromes led researchers to the discovery of the anti-diabetic properties of licorice root extracts.
Two active ingredients in licorice root:
Licorice root is a natural sweetener that has an anti-diabetic property that normalizes blood cholesterol levels. Experts from the Max Plank Institute explain that licorice root extracts contain amorfrutins which are responsible for the plant’s anti-diabetic property. Amorfrutins can reduce blood sugar levels and provides an anti-inflammatory effect. It also protects the liver from the harm caused by excessive body fat.
- Researchers say that eating licorice root or drinking licorice tea is insufficient to produce therapeutic effects. A higher dosage of licorice root extract is better and far more effective for the treatment of diabetes. 1
- Another study conducted in New York revealed that the amorfrutins contained in licorice root extract can target PPARy (peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma) nuclear receptors in the body. PPARy receptors have a major role in glucose and lipid metabolism. Diabetes-induced mice treated with amorfrutins had increased insulin sensitivity. Researchers concluded that amorfrutins increases insulin sensitivity and directly regulates lipid and glucose metabolism. The study also concluded that PPARy receptor activation by amorfrutin did not produce any adverse effects and is safer compared to PPARy drugs.2
It is already established that licorice extracts plays a major role in lipid metabolism. Further studies were then conducted to analyze how licorice reduces body fat and body weight. Hydrophobic flavonoids contained in licorice were found to decrease fat synthesis in the body. This makes it more helpful for people with diabetes since fat is used as an energy source and is not stored.
- A study in Japan supported noted that the licorice extract promotes weight loss by regulating fat synthesis. It specifically blocks the enzymatic activities of fatty acid synthase and acetyl-CoA carboxylase. This is similar with the mechanism of action produced by anti-obesity medication. Regulation of enzymatic processes was found to effectively reduce weight and abdominal fat.3 As a result; the plant also supports energy production from the breakdown of excess fat.
- Sauer, S. Research news: Licorice root found to contain anti-diabetic substance. Max Planck Gesellschaft. Retrieved from: http://www.mpg.de/5612351/amorfrutins_diabetes.
- Weidner, C., et.al. PNAS vol. 109 no. 19. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1116971109
- Kamisoyama, H., et.al. Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry. DOI: 10.1271/bbb.80469.