Oil extraction from macadamia nuts is an essential component of the plant-based diet.
Now, a study in mice suggests the oils could be useful in treating diabetes.
Researchers found that the oil helped reverse the insulin resistance in mice with diabetes.
The results could be used to develop a treatment for people with type 1 diabetes.
[9 Foods to Boost Insulin Sensitivity in People with Type 1 Diabetes]The research, published Thursday in the journal Cell Metabolism, found that when mice were fed oil extracts containing either the polyunsaturated fatty acids argan oil or olive oil, they produced more insulin in the liver.
The researchers then measured the levels of glucose, triglycerides, and insulin in those mice.
They also saw that the mice treated with the oils produced less insulin and more glucose in their blood.
The fats, which are typically used as animal feed, are used as a byproduct of the extraction process.
“We were surprised that we were able to see such an effect on insulin levels,” study author Dr. Michael F. Wessel, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said in a statement.
The findings suggest that macadamias could be an important component of a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to lower the risk of diabetes in animals and humans.
Previous research has shown that omega-6 fats are particularly beneficial for the body and are known to reduce insulin resistance.
Researchers hope that this study will help establish a more complete understanding of the effects of omega-5 fatty acids in people with diabetes and other conditions, Wessel said.
“The use of these omega-4 fatty acids has been suggested to be beneficial for people on a plant-Based diet because of the role they play in insulin sensitivity and insulin production,” Wessel told Live Science.
“However, it remains unclear whether they also have other beneficial effects.”
A link between omega-7 fats and insulin resistance The researchers did not look at the effects on glucose, insulin levels or the development of diabetes, but they did find that when the mice were given omega-9 fatty acids instead of argan oils, their insulin levels improved.
“This study has shown for the first time that a dietary component of arugula may have an effect in reversing insulin resistance,” Wethers said.
[Top 10 Healthy Foods to Increase Insulin Resistance]Wessel said that this finding could also help develop a more precise treatment for type 1 diabetic patients.
“It is not clear yet whether the argan-based oils are also beneficial for patients with type 2 diabetes, because we do not know if this is the same mechanism of action that we see in type 1 type 1 patients,” he said.
In the future, Wether and his colleagues will study the effects more closely to see if the oil could help prevent the development and progression of type 2 diabetic pancreatic disease, a condition that causes the pancreas to break down and produce insulin, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.