According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), in 2012 an estimated 371 million people have diabetes with half of these people remain undiagnosed. [1]

While multiple factors have been implicated in the development of diabetes, studies have shown that persistent inflammatory states can contribute to its development. [2]  Interestingly, the presence of diabetes also aggravates inflammatory conditions. For example, in the presence of diabetes, fatty plaque deposits (atherosclerosis) within blood vessels are more prone to infection and plaque rupture which can be fatal without emergent clinical intervention.

Studies have shown that increase in inflammatory markers such as IL-1, IL-6 and prostaglandins [3] can lead to destruction of pancreatic cells responsible for the production of insulin, a protein responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. Poorly regulated insulin level is the primary mechanism for the progression of diabetes.

Tocotrienol prevents diabetes-related complications

In a study by Kuhad et al, tocotrienol treatment after ten weeks “significantly and dose-dependently prevented behavioral, biochemical and molecular changes associated with diabetes” in streptozocin-induced diabetic rats. [4] The key inflammatory marker NFкβ is believed to play a central role in diabetes-related complications. Data from the study suggests tocotrienol’s potential in preventing the development of debilitating complications associated with diabetes through its ability to suppress NFкβ activity.

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1.         Available from: http://www.idf.org/diabetesatlas/5e/Update2012.

2.         Schmidt MI, et al. Markers of inflammation and prediction of diabetes mellitus in adults (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study): a cohort study. Lancet, 1999. 353(9165):1649-52.

3.         McDaniel, ML, et al. Cytokines and nitric oxide in islet inflammation and diabetes. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med, 1996. 211(1):24-32.

4.         Kuhad A, et al. Suppression of NF-kappabeta signaling pathway by tocotrienol can prevent diabetes associated cognitive deficits. Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 2009. 92(2):251-9.