Synthetic ligands of the retinoid X receptor (RXR) have shown antidiabetic activity in mice, apparently owing to the fact that they stimulate the transcriptional activity of PPAR-gamma/RXR heterodimers, much like thiazolidinedione drugs. The chlorophyll metabolite phytanic acid has been shown to be a natural ligand for RXR, active in concentrations near its physiological levels. It is thus reasonable to suspect that phytanic acid may have utility for treatment and prevention of human type 2 diabetes. Phytanic acid may mimic or complement various effects of conjugated linoleic acids, which have been shown to activate PPAR-gamma/RXR and prevent rodent diabetes. Administration of hydrolyzed chlorophyll may represent the most cost-effective strategy for raising human tissue levels of phytanic acid.