Chlorogenic acid chases glucose into muscle cells
Chlorogenic acid [structural formula below] is a prominent component of coffee and supplements that contain Green Coffee Bean extract. The compound might be suitable for use in bodybuilding, slimming and endurance sports supplements, according to a study done at the National University of Singapore. Chlorogenic acid increases muscle cells' insulin sensitivity and chases glucose into these cells.
Chlorogenic acid is found in much of the food we eat. In fact, it's probably the phenol we consume the most of. One cup of coffee easily contains more than 100 mg of the stuff, so the total daily intake of heavy coffee drinkers amounts to grams. For an overview of other postings by this website on chlorogenic acid click here.
Drinking coffee protects against type-2 diabetes, and nutritionists suspect that this protective effect is partly due to chlorogenic acid.
Pharmacologists at the National University of Singapore wanted to find out more about the effect of chlorogenic acid on the way insulin works, so they did a series of experiments using muscle cells from overweight mice that had type-2 diabetes.
The figure below shows that in the overweight mice in the control group [DC] less glucose found its way to the soleus muscle than in the slim mice [Lean]. Administering chlorogenic acid boosted the glucose uptake, certainly when combined with insulin.
Chlorogenic acid only became toxic for the muscle cells when the concentration was higher than 2 millimoles.
When the researchers sabotaged the AMPK enzyme with AMPK-siRNAs, the effect disappeared. When they didn't do this, the activity of AMPK increased as the chlorogenic acid concentration increased.
The researchers were able to show that chlorogenic acid activated the glucose transporter GLUT4 via AMPK. GLUT4 activation also takes place after physical exertion.
The researchers suspect that chlorogenic acid - whether in the form of regular food, super foods or supplements - is useful for type-2 diabetes sufferers, although "further experiments" are needed, they write, "to support our hypothesis that chlorogenic acid increases peripheral glucose disposal in skeletal muscle and therefore lowering fasting blood glucose".
We'd take this a step further and envisage a future where chlorogenic acid is used in carbohydrate supplements for endurance athletes, calorie-rich post-workout products with fast sugars for strength athletes, and diet products for people who want to lose weight in an intelligent way.
PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e32718.
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