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Study: Anti-oxidants may foster onset of diabetes

Category: Diabetes

Though anti-oxidants are most commonly referred to as allies in health, new research suggests that they could play a key role in the early onset of type-2 diabetes.

A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism concludes that anti-oxidants block the beneficial effects of molecules known as reactive oxygen species (ROS), which defend against type-2 diabetes by increasing insulin action.

The research team, led by Dr Tony Tiganis from the Monash Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, demonstrated that elevated ROS levels in mice could offset the symptoms of diabetes caused by a high-fat diet. The positive effects of the heightened ROS levels vanished when the lab animals received anti-oxidants.

Researchers say the results may contest the common belief that anti-oxidants are always beneficial and ROS always harmful. Tiganis explains, "ROS are beneficial in the early stages of type-2 diabetes and shift to being harmful at later states of the disease." A healthy diet and exercise naturally produce ROS, which promotes the body's management of insulin.

The American Diabetes Association estimates that 21 million children and adults in the United States (U.S.), or 7 percent of the population, have diabetes today. Doctors recommend a fasting plasma glucose test or a casual plasma glucose test for diabetes screening.

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