Nobody wants rotten eggs, but new research indicates the gas that makes them smell terrible could have important protective effects if you have diabetes.
Researchers at the University of Exeter found hydrogen sulfide, the gas given off by rotten eggs, can treat health complications in the heart, kidneys and eyes of individuals with diabetes caused by damage to the circulatory system and the heart itself.
Diabetes patients have an excess of glucose in their blood, causing cell mitochondria to leak and produce toxic metabolites of oxygen, which damages arteries in the circulation system and heart. Damage to the circulatory system results in other complications of diabetes and kidney disease.
In a recent study, published in the journal Pharmacological Research, the researchers examined two drugs, AP123 and AP39, which deliver small quantities of hydrogen sulfide to mitochondria, preventing damage and restoring their efficiency.
"Some individuals find it amusing that a substance with this type of bad reputation can produce these benefits, but virtually every cell in our body makes and reacts to tiny numbers of hydrogen sulfide and we have at least three distinct pathways for making this gas in quite small quantities so it's very important," Dr. Matthew Whiteman, a professor at the University of Exeter's medical school, said in a press release.
For the study, researchers tested the two drugs in endothelial cells isolated from blood vessels in the brains of mice, showing the drugs could prevent damage caused by malfunctioning mitochondria.
The effects of both materials were long lasting, the researchers report, indicating they could be used to treat the heart and circulatory problems faced by diabetes patients. The next measure, Whiteman said, will be to continue working toward testing the drugs in humans as quoted at diabetes forum.
"We're creating an increasing body of evidence that hydrogen sulfide can have a range of health benefits, when carefully administered in minute doses in a very targeted manner in the torso," Whiteman said. "Mitochondria may even make their own hydrogen sulfide and utilize it as a 'fuel' to keep metabolism efficient. When this 'fuel' is lost, mitochondria, cells, blood vessels and tissues are damaged. Get the full details of the article at diabetes discussion forum