Plants and Natural Compounds with Antidiabetic Action
Diabetes has become the most common metabolic disease worldwide. In particular, type 2 diabetes is the most commonly encountered type of diabetes, which is characterised by the inability of the organism to respond to normal levels of circulating insulin, also called insulin resistance. Current antidiabetic therapy is based on synthetic drugs that very often have side effects. For this reason, there is a continuous need to develop new and better pharmaceuticals as alternatives for the management and treatment of the disease. Natural hypoglycaemic compounds may be attractive alternatives to synthetic drugs or reinforcements to currently used treatments. Their huge advantage is that they can be ingested in everyday diet. Recently, more attention is being paid to the study of natural products as potential antidiabetics. This mini review of the current literature is structured into three main sections focused on: (a) plant extracts, (b) plant biomolecules, and (c) other natural molecules that have been used for their antidiabetic effects. Potential molecular mechanisms of action are also discussed.