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Gac Med Mex. 1992 Jul-Aug;128(4):431-6.

[Evaluation of nopal capsules in diabetes mellitus].

[Article in Spanish]

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Departamento de Medicina Interna, Hospital de Especialidades, Centro M├ędico Nacional La Raza, IMSS.


To find out if commercial capsules with dried nopal (prickle-pear cactus, Opuntia ficus indica may have a role in the management of diabetes mellitus, three experiments were performed: 30 capsules where given in fasting condition to 10 diabetic subjects and serum glucose was measured through out 3 hours; a control test was performed with 30 placebo capsules. OGTT with previous intake of 30 nopal or placebo capsules was performed in ten healthy individuals. In a crossover and single blinded study 14 diabetic patients withdrew the oral hypoglycemic treatment and received 10 nopal or placebo capsules t.i.d. during one week; serum glucose, cholesterol and tryglycerides levels were measured before and after each one-week period. Five healthy subjects were also studied in the same fashion. Opuntia capsules did not show acute hypoglycemic effect and did not influence OGTT. In diabetic patients serum glucose, cholesterol and tryglycerides levels did not change with Opuntia, but they increased with placebo (P < 0.01 glucose and cholesterol, P = NS triglycerides). In healthy individuals glycemia did not change with nopal, while cholesterol and triglycerides decreased (P < 0.01 vs. placebo). The intake of 30 Opuntia capsules daily in patients with diabetes mellitus had a discrete beneficial effect on glucose and cholesterol. However this dose is unpractical and at present it is not recommended in the management of diabetes mellitus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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