Flavonoids: cellular and molecular mechanism of action in glucose homeostasis

Mini Rev Med Chem. 2008 Sep;8(10):1032-8. doi: 10.2174/138955708785740580.


The purpose of this review is to discuss the cellular and molecular mechanisms of action of flavonoids focusing on carbohydrate metabolism. The beneficial effects of flavonoids have been studied in relation to diabetes mellitus, either through their capacity to avoid glucose absorption or to improve glucose tolerance. Furthermore, flavonoids stimulate glucose uptake in peripheral tissues, regulate the activity and/or expression of the rate-limiting enzymes in the carbohydrate metabolism pathway and act per se as insulin secretagogues or insulin mimetics, probably, by influencing the pleiotropic mechanisms of insulin signaling, to ameliorate the diabetes status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use*
  • Homeostasis / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Blood Glucose
  • Flavonoids
  • Insulin