Garlic improves insulin sensitivity and associated metabolic syndromes in fructose fed rats

Nutr Metab (Lond). 2011 Jul 27:8:53. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-8-53.


Background: Type 2 diabetes mellitus, characterized by peripheral insulin resistance, is a major lifestyle disorder of the 21st Century. Raw garlic homogenate has been reported to reduce plasma glucose levels in animal models of type 1 diabetes mellitus. However, no specific studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of raw garlic on insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes mellitus. This study was designed to investigate the effect of raw garlic on fructose induced insulin resistance, associated metabolic syndrome and oxidative stress in diabetic rats.

Methods: Male Sprague Dawley rats weighing 200-250 gm body weight were divided into 3 groups (n = 7 per group) and fed diet containing 65% cornstarch (Control group) and 65% fructose (Diabetic group) for 8 weeks. The third group (Dia+Garl group) was fed both 65% fructose and raw garlic homogenate (250 mg/kg/day) for 8 weeks. Whole garlic cloves were homogenized with water to make a fresh paste each day.

Results: At the end of 8 weeks, serum glucose, insulin, triglyceride and uric acid levels, as well as insulin resistance, as measured by glucose tolerance test, were significantly (p < 0.01) increased in fructose fed rats (Diabetic group) when compared to the cornstarch fed (Control) rats. Administration of raw garlic to fructose fed rats (Dia+Garl group) significantly (p < 0.05) reduced serum glucose, insulin, triglyceride and uric acid levels, as well as insulin resistance when compared with fructose fed rats. Garlic also normalised the increased serum levels of nitric oxide (NO) and decreased levels of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) after fructose feeding. Although body weight gain and serum glycated haemoglobin levels of fructose fed rats (Diabetic group) were not significantly different from control rats, significant (p < 0.05) reduction of these parameters was observed in fructose fed rats after garlic administration (Dia+Garl group). Significant (p < 0.05) increase in TBARS and decrease in GSH was observed in diabetic liver. Catalase was not significantly affected in any of the groups. Administration of raw garlic homogenate normalised both hepatic TBARS and GSH levels.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that raw garlic homogenate is effective in improving insulin sensitivity while attenuating metabolic syndrome and oxidative stress in fructose-fed rats.