Mulberry leaf extract decreases digestion and absorption of starch in healthy subjects-A randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study

Adv Med Sci. 2017 Sep;62(2):302-306. doi: 10.1016/j.advms.2017.03.002. Epub 2017 May 11.


Purpose: Mulberry (Morus alba L.) leaf tea has recently received much attention as a dietary supplement due to the wide range of putative health benefits, such as antidiabetic effects. Nevertheless, data evaluating its influence on carbohydrate metabolism in humans are scarce. The present study aims to investigate the effect of mulberry leaf extract supplementation on starch digestion and absorption in humans.

Materials and methods: The study comprised of 25 healthy subjects, aged 19-27 years. In all subjects, a starch 13C breath test was performed twice in a crossover and single blind design. Subjects were initially randomized to ingest naturally 13C-abundant cornflakes (50g cornflakes+100ml low fat milk) either with the mulberry leaf extract (36mg of active component-1-deoxynojirimycin) or the placebo and each subject received the opposite preparation one week later.

Results: The cumulative percentage dose recovery was lower for the mulberry leaf extract test than for the placebo test (median [quartile distribution]: 13.9% [9.9-17.4] vs. 17.2% [13.3-20.6]; p=0.015). A significant decrease was detectable from minute 120 after the ingestion.

Conclusions: A single dose of mulberry leaf extract taken with a test meal decreases starch digestion and absorption. These findings could possibly be translated into everyday practice for improvement of postprandial glycemic control.

Keywords: Breath test; Carbohydrate; Diabetes; Nutritional trial; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breath Tests / methods*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Digestion / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Morus / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry*
  • Prognosis
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Starch / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • Plant Extracts
  • Starch