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Phytother Res. 2012 Feb;26(2):180-5. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3524. Epub 2011 May 17.

Prevention of chemically induced diabetes mellitus in experimental animals by virgin argan oil.

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Laboratory of Physiology and Ethnopharmacology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University Mohamed Ist, Boulevard Mohamed IV, 60000 Oujda, Morocco.


The argan tree plays an important socioeconomic and ecologic role in South Morocco. Moreover, there is much evidence for the beneficial effects of virgin argan oil (VAO) on human health. Thus, this study investigated whether administering VAO to rats can prevent the development of diabetes. VAO extracted by a traditional method from the almonds of Argania spinosa (2 mL/kg) was administered orally (for 7 consecutive days) to rats before and during intraperitoneal alloxan administration (75 mg/kg for 5 consecutive days). An alloxan diabetic-induced untreated group and treated by table oil were used as control groups. Body mass, blood glucose and hepatic glycogen were evaluated. In the present study, subchronic treatment with VAO at a dose of 2 mL/kg, before the experimental induction of diabetes, prevented the body mass loss, induced a significant reduction of blood glucose and a significant increase of hepatic glycogen level (p < 0.001) compared with the untreated diabetic group. In conclusion, the present study shows that argan oil should be further investigated in a human study to clarify its possible role in reducing weight loss in diabetics, and even in inhibiting the development or progression of diabetes. This antidiabetic effect could be due to the richness of VAO in tocopherols, phenolic compounds and unsaturated fatty acids.

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