Why kola nut is good for diabetes control

Are you diabetic and worried about maintaining good blood sugar and cholesterol control? Well, kola nut, a common snack is worth trying to lower blood sugar and regulate bad cholesterol.

In a new study, experts found out that infused kola nut extract has anti-diabetic properties under laboratory conditions. It caused a significant depletion of blood glucose and bad cholesterol, while boosting the body’s production of insulin and good cholesterol levels.

The researchers had investigated the antidiabetic effects of the hot water extract of kolanut in type 2 diabetic rats. It was compared with metformin, the conventional medication for lowering blood sugar.

The kola nut hot water was prepared by infusing blended kola nut in boiling water and allowed to stand overnight. After decanting, the extract was concentrated in a water bath.

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The 2019 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, included Erukainure OL, Sanni O, Chukwuma CI and Islam MS at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa, in collaboration with Ijomone OM and Ibeji CU.

Kola nut is used widely in Nigeria and many West African countries as part of traditional hospitality, cultural, and social ceremonies. Ceremonial breaking of the kolanut is important for making people feel welcome in a village or gathering. It is also used to make medicine.

Kola nuts are used as a digestive medicine, to treat morning sickness, exhaustion, dysentery and male impotence. As they also aid weight loss, they are used to treat migraine and as they are alsoan energizer.

The animals were divided into six treatment groups. The rats received low (150/ mg/kg bw) and high (300/ mg/kg bw) doses of the hot water extract for six weeks.

Thereafter, tests to measure blood glucose and body weight as well as ascertain the conditions of their liver and pancreas among others were carried out.

Treatment with low and high doses of kolanut led to 40.48 and 27.38 per cent reduction in blood sugar level respectively. But treatment with a low dose of kolanut had little or no significant effect on the blood insulin level.

However, treatment with a high dose of kolanut and metformin led to significantly increased blood insulin levels and an increase in the level of beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin, a hormone produced by beta cells in the pancreas, helps keep the blood sugar level from getting too high or too low.

Inadequate insulin secretion and action, due to beta-cell depletion and dysfunction and insulin resistance, are the major causes of persistent high blood sugar levels in diabetes.

The researchers declared that kola nut’s antidiabetic properties are strongly influenced by its ability to ameliorate diabetes-induced oxidative stress, increase insulin secretion and action and suppress glucose production in the liver.

In addition, the increased weight gain in animals treated with kola nut, they declared, may indicate its therapeutic effect against weight loss in diabetes.

According to them, the therapeutic potential of kola nut infusion against diabetes, which may be attributed to the synergetic effect of caffeine and theobromine, gives credence to the folkloric claims and use of the plant in the treatment and management of diabetes and its complications.

Although extensive studies have not been conducted, early research indicates that certain compounds found in the kola nut may decrease the risk of prostate cancer.

The research is still being debated, but it is thought that the phytoestrogens in kola nuts may kill cancer cells and stop tumours from growing.

Also in another study, researchers in the Journal of Biosciences and Medicines, indicate that the use of kola nut extract might stop the growth of harmful bacteria.

The researchers had an evaluation of red and white kola nut against germs that cause tooth decay and said that the mechanical cleansing effect and antimicrobial substances in the seed was the major beneficial effects of chewing this nut.

The kola nut may also help prevent and fight infections. Research published in the 2004 edition of “Phytotherapy Research” showed that kola nut was effective at reducing the growth and development of members of the mycobacterium species, the bacteria responsible for illnesses such as meningitis and tuberculosis.

However, kola nuts and products containing kola nut may not suit everyone. For instance, kola nuts may not be good for people with high blood pressure or certain heart conditions due to their stimulant effect.

Anyone who has difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep may want to avoid kolanut, as well. The risk of side effects may vary and increase, depending on how much of the nut is eaten.

Since kola nuts can affect the central nervous system, they can lead to shakiness, tremors, and anxiousness. People with anxiety may be especially prone to shakiness from kola nut.

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