Adding the amino acid 'leucine' to the diet may help people combat pre-diabetes condition and metabolic syndrome, a new study has indicated.
Researchers from Joslin Diabetes Center conducted a test on mice, wherein, the creatures were put on a high-fat diet and were given twice the usual intake of leucine, an amino acid found in protein.
The results showed reductions in their pre-diabetic conditions and lower blood sugars, with less fat in the livers.
On the other hand, mice, that were fed a normal diet and given leucine showed no significant effects from taking the dietary supplement.
"The impact on the animals on the high-fat diet, even though it didn't change how fat they got, was that their bodies were able to handle glucose better," said C. Ronald Kahn, Head of the Joslin Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism and the Mary K. Iacocca Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
"Their glucose tolerance tests improved. Their bodies responded to insulin better than they would have before they got the leucine. It improved their ability to metabolize sugar and fats. It markedly improved their pre-diabetic condition. Their metabolic syndrome also improved," said Kahn.
"We found that adding just this one amino acid to the diet changed the metabolism in a lot of different pathways. It had effects that improved insulin sensitivity, improved their ability to metabolize sugar and fats and their overall metabolism improved," he added.
The study has been published in the journal PloS One.