4 Reasons Why Palo Azul Tea Showed Anti-Diabetic Potential
"Palo azul may increase muscle mass and improve insulin resistance"
Several studies mention that palo azul tea may have anti-diabetic potential because it has shown the ability to promote healthy levels of blood glucose and insulin sensitivity. The studies explain that palo azul’s capacity to improve these markers is due to the fact that palo azul is antioxidant and it’s rich in flavonoids and polyphenols.
For example, a 2021 study concluded that palo azul's extracts "had good antidiabetic potential and could be an appropriate nanomedicine to prevent the development of diabetes."
A 2018 study similarly concluded the following: “The results indicate that EP (palo azul) has good antidiabetic activity and therefore could be used to prevent the development of diabetes.”
1. Improve blood glucose levels
A 2001 study concluded that palo azul extracts "significantly decreased blood glucose levels in mice."
Moreover, the previously cited 2021 study also found that palo azul extracts "demonstrated a significant decrease in fasting blood glucose level and lipid profile (fats)."
The researchers explain that their "examination confirmed that the diabetic mice treated with palo azul extracts showed significant recovery and revival of the histo-morphology of the kidney, central vein of the liver, and islet cells of the pancreas compared to the untreated diabetic mice.
This finding is critical, because islet cells are "a cluster of cells within the pancreas that are responsible for the production and release of hormones that regulate glucose levels." This essentially means that palo azul tea showed the ability to recover the islet cells of the pancreas, which allow the body to regulate glucose levels.
2. Increase Insulin Sensitivity & Muscle Mass
A 2018 study explains that palo azul "may provide beneficial effects on the function of insulin secretion through its protective effect on pancreatic β cells." The researchers concluded that their "results confirm the ability of EP (palo azul) to ameliorate cell viability and insulin secretion in zebrafish under high glucose concentrations."
Interestingly, a 2016 study ended with the following statement: "In conclusion, palo azul may increase muscle mass in the body and improve insulin resistance by facilitating the formation of myotubes by promoting myocyte differentiation."
What is a myocyte? A 2021 study explains that "the muscle cell, also known as the myocyte is the smallest subunit of all muscular tissues and organs throughout the body. It is here in the myocyte, where the physiological steps of muscle contraction and where the pathophysiology of numerous muscular diseases takes place."
In other words...palo azul tea showed the ability to facilitate muscle contraction to take place, which could in theory help to promote an increase in muscle mass.
Furthermore, a 2013 study explains the biological mechanisms of palo azul's beneficial effects on insulin secretion:
"Palo azul increased the expression of insulin-sensitizing adipokine, adiponectin, which is a directly target of PPARγ, both at the messenger RNA level and at the protein level. In summary, palo azul demonstrated the potential to improve insulin resistance by promoting adipocyte differentiation via PPARγ activation. Results suggest an increase in adiponectin secretion and a decrease in insulin-resistant factors such as leptin and resistin."
What are Adiponectins and Adipocytes? Adiponectin is a protein hormone which is involved in regulating glucose, insulin sensitivity and fatty acid breakdown. Adipocytes are fat cells which are specialized for the storage of fat via lipogenesis. In other words...palo azul tea showed the ability to increase the expression of hormones and cells which regulate blood glucose. Therefore, these mechanisms could help to improve insulin sensitivity and decrease fat storage.
It's well documented that oxidative stress is negatively associated with cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and aging. Therefore, a 2016 medical review concluded that antioxidants such as antioxidants can “interfere with radical-producing systems and increase the function of endogenous antioxidants, protecting the cells from damage by these free radicals.”
The previously cited 2021 study also mentions that "the root cause of diabetes is mainly associated with oxidative stress" and palo azul tea "can reduce the oxidative stress because of its free radical scavenging activity." Lastly, this study found that palo azul "showed marked inhibition in insulin secretion."
What is oxidative stress?
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. A 2021 study found that palo azul tea "can reduce the oxidative stress caused by the imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) because of its free radical scavenging activity."
What are free radicals?
Free radicals are atoms with a single valence electron that cause damage to the body associated with diabetes, cancer, aging, atherosclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and many other diseases.
This happens because electrons like to be in pairs... and for this reason, free radicals look for "free" electrons in the body. This causes damage to cells, proteins, DNA and these damaged molecules can mutate, grow tumors, and damage the DNA code. Eventually, this cellular damage causes new cells to grow with defects and it will lead to aging and degenerative diseases.
4. Rich in flavonoids & polyphenols
Many studies have shown that palo azul is rich in phytochemicals, which are a group of compounds called flavonoids and polyphenols that plants naturally produce in order to fight infections, oxidative stress and inflammation.
A 2021 study even found several phytochemicals in palo azul such as “flavones, isoflavones, flavanones, phenolic compounds, chalcones and dihydrochalcones” which have been linked to its health benefits, highlighting “diuretic, antidiabetic, antiglycation, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial potential.”
Because of these properties, the researchers mention that “palo azul is used in traditional medicine for the treatment of kidney diseases, bladder infections and diabetes mellitus.”
You can learn all about flavonoids here, but for now, just know that thousands of studies have shown that flavonoids are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-aging and anti-hypertensive.
For example, a 2014 study mentioned that “numerous epidemiological studies show an inverse correlation between dietary flavonoid consumption and chronic degenerative diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancers.”
A 2018 study explains the biological mechanisms of palo azul's effects on diabetes:
"Chalcones, flavonoids, and dihydrochalcones in palo azul promote pancreatic β-cell survival, insulin secretion-enhanced hyperglycemia, and hyperlipidemia in glucose-induced diabetic zebrafish. Palo azul extracts showed protection of the pancreatic β-cell line INS-1 against hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative injury. These findings suggest that EP (palo azul) could be used to prevent the development of diabetes.”
What is hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia? Hyperglycemia is the technical term for high blood glucose. Hyperlipidemia means your blood has too many lipids (fats), such as cholesterol and triglycerides. In other words...palo azul's flavonoids showed beneficial effects on hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia, which could help to improve insulin secretion and blood glucose.
Another 2018 study also found that palo azul's extract "showed antidiabetic and anti-hyperlipidemic activities, an ability to reduce the formation of advanced glycation end products, and an antioxidant capacity in-vitro."
The 2021 study also found that "palo azul extracts rich in phenolic compounds and flavonoids showed high scavenging activities." The researchers explain a similar mechanism for antioxidants' beneficial effects on hyperglycemia:
"Diabetes-associated complications that are induced by hyperglycemia are mainly because of an imbalance between ROS (reactive oxygen species), which leads to higher oxidative stress and cellular death. Thus, these diabetic complications can effectively be controlled by down-regulating the generation of ROS."
Moreover, a medical review which analyzed findings from 161 studies on flavonoids concluded that "oxidative stress may lead to cellular damage which is related to various health ailments such as diabetes, cancer, CVD, neurodegenerative disorders and ageing."
Finally, results from another study concluded that flavonoids in tea “may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases” and they even have a “beneficial effect on LDL-cholesterol and insulin sensitivity.”
In conclusion, palo azul showed anti-diabetic potential because it's antioxidant, anti-hyperlipidemic, and it's rich in flavonoids. Because of these properties, palo azul showed the ability to inhibit oxidative stress that negatively affects diabetes. Therefore, this is why palo azul tea may help to promote healthy levels of blood glucose and insulin sensitivity.
P.S... Don't forget to help your loved ones by sharing palo azul's magic with them!
Flavonoid-rich foods: apples, pears, onions, strawberries, blueberries, celery, peppers, and teas
* Palo azul is commonly referred to by its scientific name: Eysenhardtia polystachya / E. polystachya / E.P - Cyclolepis genistoides / C. genistoides - kidney wood - palo dulce