Background and objective: Oxidative stress plays an important role in pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus and its complications. Our previous study has shown glucose lowering effect produced by 3 months supplementation of Nigella sativa (NS) in combination with oral hypoglycemic drugs among type 2 diabetics. This study explored the long term glucose lowering effect (over one year) of NS in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus on oral hypoglycemic drugs and to study its effect on redox status of such patients.
Methods: 114 type 2 diabetic patients on standard oral hypoglycemic drugs were assigned into 2 groups by convenience. The control group (n = 57) received activated charcoal as placebo and NS group (n = 57) received 2g NS, daily, for one year in addition to their standard medications. Fasting blood glucose (FBG), glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), C- peptide, total antioxidant capacity (TAC), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) at the baseline, and every 3 months thereafter were determined. Insulin resistance and β-cell activity were calculated using HOMA 2 calculator.
Results: Comparison between the two groups showed a significant drop in FBG (from 180 ± 5.75 to 180 ± 5.59 in control Vs from 195 ± 6.57 to 172 ± 5.83 in NS group), HbA1c (from 8.2 ± 0.12 to 8.5 ± 0.14 in control VS from 8.6 ± 0.13 to 8.2 ± 0.14 in NS group), and TBARS (from 48.3 ± 6.89 to 52.9 ± 5.82 in control VS from 54.1 ± 4.64 to 41.9 ± 3.16 in NS group), in addition to a significant elevation in TAC, SOD and glutathione in NS patients compared to controls. In NS group, insulin resistance was significantly lower, while β-cell activity was significantly higher than the baseline values during the whole treatment period.
Conclusion: Long term supplementation with Nigella sativa improves glucose homeostasis and enhances antioxidant defense system in type 2 diabetic patients treated with oral hypoglycemic drugs.
Trial registration: Clinical Trials Registry-India (CTRI) CTRI/2013/06/003781.