Yes! We are talking about those slimy little creatures with long tongues. An astounding discovery revealed that frogs may be the answer to diabetes.
Researchers at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland and United Arab Emirates discovered that a substance found on the skin of the “paradoxical frog” from South America boosts the production of insulin – the vital hormone deficient in diabetics.
This frog actually shrinks with age and thus named, “paradoxical.” The young ones are bigger than their parents and tadpoles reach up to 27 cm in length, while the frogs are only about 4 cm long. These frogs inhabit the lagoons and ponds of Amazon and Trinidad.
It is believed that the secretions of this frog could prove to be much more effective than other drugs, including Byetta, a diabetes drug released in 2005, made from the saliva of the Gila monster (venomous lizard) of North America.
According to researchers, peptide, a protein-building block that protects the paradoxical frog from infection, can be used to produce drugs to treat people with Type-2 diabetes. Lab tests have been carried out on these nocturnal frogs and it was found that this frog’s peptide, pseudin-2, increased release of insulin.
A synthetic version of pseudin-2 was also tested and it was found to stimulate the pancreatic cells into secretion of insulin and more importantly, no toxic effects were felt on the cells. (If you didn’t know, pancreas makes insulin.) In fact, the synthetic version was found to be even better at stimulating the pancreatic cells than the natural compound from the frog. This opens up several doors for developing a drug to treat diabetes better.
If you are a cola and pizza addict, think twice before reaching out for them, as diabetes is a condition often associated with obesity, and develops because the glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high. This happens when glucose in the blood does not get into the cells of the body. Insulin is needed to send glucose into cells, where it is used for energy. If glucose does not get into the cells due to lack of insulin, too much glucose remains in the blood. Type-2 diabetes develops when enough insulin is not produced or the insulin that is produced by our body does not work properly. Any treatment for people with diabetes aims at regulating blood glucose levels.
Although scientists have made an artificial copy of this peptide, they feel that more work needs to be done before this form of treatment is ready to be tested on humans.
According to Dr. Yasser Abdel-Wahab, senior lecturer in biomedical sciences at the University of Ulster, “Now we need to take this a step further and put our work into practice to try and help people with Type-2 diabetes. More research is needed, but there is a growing body of work around natural anti-diabetic drug discovery that is already yielding fascinating results.”
This could be a major health breakthrough in diabetes research that can help millions of diabetics worldwide. Even if the levels of insulin cannot be brought back to normal levels, hope remains to at least improve insulin production in patients. Who would have imagined that these creepy creatures could turn out to be our saviors.