The entrocytes of the small intestine can only absorb monosaccharides such as glucose and fructose from our diet. The intestinal absorption of dietary carbohydrates such as maltose and sucrose is carried out by a group of α-glucosidases. Inhibition of these enzymes can significantly decrease the postprandial increase of blood glucose level after a mixed carbohydrate diet. Therefore, the inhibitory activity of Omija (Schizandra chinensis) extract against rat intestinal α-glucosidase and porcine pancreatic α-amylase were investigated in vitro and in vivo. The in vitro inhibitory activities of water extract of Omija pulp/skin (OPE) on α-glucosidase and α-amylase were potent when compared to Omija seeds extract (OSE). The postprandial blood glucose lowering effect of Omija extracts was compared to a known type 2 diabetes drug (Acarbose), a strong α-glucosidase inhibitor in the Sprague-Dawley (SD) rat model. In rats fed on sucrose, OPE significantly reduced the blood glucose increase after sucrose loading. Furthermore, the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of OSE and OPE was evaluated. OPE had higher peroxyl radical absorbing activity than OSE. These results suggest that Omija, which has high ORAC value with α-glucosidase inhibitory activity and blood glucose lowering effect, could be physiologically useful for treatment of diabetes, although clinical trials are needed.
Keywords: Schizandra chinensis; antihyperglycemia; blood glucose; oxygen radical absorbance capacity; α-glucosidase.