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Interv Med Appl Sci. 2015 Sep;7(3):124-8. doi: 10.1556/1646.7.2015.3.7. Epub 2015 Sep 28.

The effects of aqueous extract of alfalfa on blood glucose and lipids in alloxan-induced diabetic rats.

Abstract

Diabetes is a common metabolic disorder that is specified by hyperglycemia resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both. The use of nonpharmacological treatments (herbal agents) is a new approach in the management of diabetes. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of aqueous extract of alfalfa on blood glucose and serum lipids in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. In this study, 32 female rats (210-250 g) were used which were divided randomly into 4 groups including intact control group, diabetic control group, and 2 diabetic groups which received 250 and 500 mg/kg doses of aqueous extract of alfalfa, respectively. In the diabetic groups, alloxan-monohydrate was injected peritoneally to create diabetic condition. The two last groups orally received aqueous extract of alfalfa for 21 days. At the end of experiment, sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density and low-density lipoprotein, and aspartate aminotransferase (ALT) and alanine aminotransferase (AST) levels were measured in the samples. Consumption of aqueous alfalfa extract significantly reduced glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels in the diabetic rats but enhanced high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. ALT and AST liver enzyme levels were also reduced in blood. Histological examination showed that the aqueous alfalfa extract caused reconstruction of damaged liver and enhanced Langerhans islets' diameter in pancreas. Therefore, all signs of diabetes were improved by oral administration of alfalfa in defined dose.

KEYWORDS:

Langerhans islet; alloxan; aqueous extract alfalfa; blood sugar; diabetes; insulin

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