Background and purpose of the study: The goal was to evaluate and compare the effects of aqueous extract of the seeds of chicory, Cichorium intybus L., on glucose tolerance test (GTT) and blood biochemical indices of experimentally-induced hyperglycemic rats.
Methods: Late stage and early stage of Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) were induced in rats by streptozotocin (STZ) and a combination of STZ and niacinamide (NIA/STZ), respectively. Within each group, one subgroup received daily i. p. injections of chicory extract (125 mg/kg body weight, for 28 days). Body weight and fasting blood sugar (FBS) were measured weekly. Blood was analyzed for glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and sera for alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), nitric oxide (NO), triacylglycerol (TG), total cholesterol (TC), total protein, and insulin on days 10 and 28 after treatment. Intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test (IPGTT) along with insulin determination was performed on a different set of rats in which the chicory-treated groups received the extract for 10 days.
Results: During 4 weeks of treatment, chicory prevented body-weight loss and decreased FBS. ALT activities and levels of TG, TC and HbA1c decreased, and concentration of NO increased in the chicory treated groups (p < 0.05). Unlike late-stage diabetes, fasting serum insulin concentrations were higher and GTT pattern approximated to normal in chicory-treated early-stage diabetic rats.
Conclusions: Chicory appeared to have short-term (about 2 hours, as far as GTT is concerned) and long-term (28 days, in this study) effects on diabetes. Chicory may be useful as a natural dietary supplement for slowing down the pace of diabetes progress, and delaying the development of its complications.