Diabetes affects millions of people worldwide, and even though treatable, it’s not reversible.
However, researchers might be close to finding the key to reversing this chronic disease.
The Nature Medicine has published research which shows the promising effect of one natural compound found in the plant Psychotria Viridis. The same compound, harmine, is also an ingredient in ayahuasca – a popular psychoactive mixture.
Harmine helped the function of the pancreas by inducing beta cell proliferation. Moreover, it improved the glycemic control and increased islet mass in 3 different human and mouse islet in vivo–based models.
And, it seems this compound is more effective in stimulating beta cells regrowth than any other drug.
This is important as pancreatic beta cells are responsible for producing insulin. In people with type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys them.
On the other hand, the beta cells in those with type 2 diabetes can’t produce enough insulin to control their blood sugar levels.
So, you can now see why this research is so exciting. It shows that a single compound might regenerate beta cells. This means providing the body with enough insulin for blood glucose control. And, the only way to reverse type 1 or 2 diabetes is by fixing this problem.
However, researchers have more work to do before celebrating.
Even though harmine could help treating diabetes in the lab, it’s not sure how it will react in the real world.
Dr. Stewart, the senior study author, says they have to find a way to get the compound target only beta cells, without affecting any other tissue.
Also, harmine doesn’t solve the problem that destroyed the beta cells in the first place. So, even if they regenerate, they could still be damaged or destroyed by the same cause.
Still, researchers believe these are promising results when it comes to developing a medication that can someday reverse diabetes.
Note – this compound is not a psychedelic in itself, but the plant it comes from can be used for producing strong psychedelic.