Diabetes mellitus is a globally metabolic endocrine syndrome marked by a deficiency of insulin secretion (type-1 DM) or glucose intolerance arising from insulin response impairment (type-2 DM) leading to abnormal glucose metabolism. With an increasing interest in natural dietary components for diabetes management, the identification of novel agents witnessed major discoveries. Plant-derived mucilage, pectin, and inulin are important non-starch polysaccharides that exhibit effective antidiabetic properties often termed soluble dietary fiber (SDF). SDF affects sugar metabolism through multiple mechanisms affecting glucose absorption and diffusion, modulation of carbohydrate metabolizing enzymes (α-amylase and α-glucosidase), ameliorating β-pancreatic cell dysfunction, and improving insulin release or sensitivity. Certain SDFs inhibit dipeptidyl peptidase-4 and influence the expression levels of genes related to glucose metabolism. This review is designed to discuss holistically and critically the antidiabetic effects of major SDF and their underlying mechanisms of action. This review should aid drug discovery approaches in developing novel natural antidiabetic drugs from SDF.
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