Aspirin and similar compounds (salicylates) can claim yet another health benefit: increasing the amount of insulin produced by otherwise healthy obese people, thus reducing their risk of acquiring type-2 diabetes.
Aspirin and other salicylates were already known to reduce blood glucose in diabetic patients but the new research reveals a similar beneficial effect by increasing the amount of insulin secreted into the bloodstream. "The administration of a salicylate led to the lowering of serum glucose concentrations," said Jose-Manuel Fernandez-Real, lead author of the study. "These findings highlight the importance of further research on the possible therapeutic benefit of aspirin in the fight against type 2 diabetes."
For the study, Fernandez-Real evaluated the effects of triflusal (a derivative of salicylate). He found that administration of triflusal led to decreased fasting serum glucose. Contrary to expectations, insulin sensitivity did not significantly change during the trial. Insulin secretion, however, significantly increased in relation to the dose size.
In conjunction with the human studies, the researchers also conducted laboratory studies on insulin-producing cells from mice and humans. The research team observed that triflusal significantly increased the insulin secreted by these cells.
"Aspirin therapy has been recognized to improve glucose tolerance and to reduce insulin requirements in diabetic subjects," said Fernandez-Real. "To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that salicylates lowered serum glucose in non-diabetic obese subjects."
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The Endocrine Society