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L-Cysteine supplementation as an adjuvant therapy for type-2 diabetes

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Diabetes remains a major public health issue. According to the American Diabetes Association, 23.5 million, or 10.7% of people in the USA aged 20 years and older, have diabetes. Type-2 diabetes is treated both by controlling the diet and with oral hypoglycemic drugs. However, for many patients, achieving a tight control of glucose is difficult with current regimens. This chapter discusses a relatively low-cost dietary supplement that could be used as an adjuvant therapy for type-2 diabetes. A review of the literature indicates that cysteine-rich whey protein improves glucose metabolism in diabetic animals and type-2 diabetic patients. Similarly, in animal studies, improvement in glucose metabolism is observed after supplementation with L-cysteine, or molecules containing a cysteine moiety. This chapter discusses the biochemical mechanisms by which L-cysteine can upregulate the insulin-dependent signaling cascades of glucose metabolism. Further studies are needed to examine whether clinical interventions using L-cysteine as an adjuvant therapy indeed help to control glycemia and vascular inflammation in the diabetic patient population.
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Keywords: L-cysteine; L-cystéine; diabetes; diabète; inflammation vasculaire; insulin resistance; protéine lactosérique; résistance à l’insuline; vascular inflammation; whey protein

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 10, 2012

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