A number of natural products have been found to
benefit diabetes patients and help them to control their blood glucose level. One such substance, that is being
investigated is flour made from the passion fruit peel.
The benefit of
passion fruit peel flour in diabetes patients may be due to the pectin
component of the flour
. Pectin is a soluble fiber that has been found to improve blood
glucose levels in diabetic patients. It forms a gel-like substance in the
stomach and gives an early feeling of fullness, and delays the absorption of
carbohydrates. Besides, it also enhances excretion of cholesterol, thereby
reducing its levels.
In a paper recently published in the Nutrition Journal
, researchers studied
the ability of passion fruit peel flour in reducing insulin resistance.
Diabetic patients are usually partly resistant to the actions of insulin,
thereby requiring larger amounts of insulin level to control blood glucose
level. Therefore, any medication that could reduce insulin resistance can help
to control blood sugar in diabetes patients.
The study was conducted in 43 diabetes patients
between the ages of 57 and 73 years. Some
patients discontinued the study due to the strong aftertaste of the flour and
abdominal discomfort caused by it.
All except one patient who completed the
study were taking oral diabetes medications.
The study was carried out in 3 stages. In the first
stage, fasting blood glucose levels were recorded and summarized in the first
three months of the study, when the patients were only on the prescribed
medications. In the second stage, the necessary recordings were taken just
before administration of passion fruit flour and 30 and 60 days following the
introduction of the flour in the diet. In the third stage, blood glucose tests
were again measured 3 months after the consumption of the flour.
The patients were given 30g plastic bags of flour
weekly, which they consumed with other foods. They were also instructed to
drink at least two liters of water per day to prevent constipation due to the
pectin content of the flour.
The study used the HOMA (Homeostasis Model
Assessment) model to assess insulin resistance.
The researchers found that body weight did not
significantly alter in the patients following flour intake. This was possibly
due to the short time period of the study.
Fasting blood glucose levels were above normal
before as well as three months following intake of the flour despite the use of
medications. This indicates the possible necessity of adding a dietary supplement
to control blood glucose levels in these patients.
found a significant decrease in fasting plasma glucose levels 30 and 60 days
following intake of passion fruit peel flour. The HbA1c values were reduced at
60 days of treatment
The study also
found an apparent decrease in insulin resistance following treatment with
yellow passion fruit peel flour
This study suggests that flour rich in pectin can
have favorable effect in diabetes patients by reducing insulin resistance and
could be used as an adjuvant to treatment. This could possibly reduce the
chances of complications of diabetes. Larger studies are necessary to establish
the use of yellow passion fruit peel flour in diabetes patients.
1. de Queiroz M et al. Effect of the yellow passion
fruit peel flour (Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa deg.) in insulin sensitivity
in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients
Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:89 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-89