The Role of Dietary Safflower Oil in the Management of Glucose Levels in Obese Postmenopausal Women with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

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The Ohio State University

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With more than 8% of people in the United States diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it is imperative to develop treatments that improve glycemic control (1). Previously, we reported that dietary safflower oil (8 g qd) significantly decreased trunk adipose mass, increased adiponectin levels, and decreased HbA1c levels in post-menopausal, obese women with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) (2). However, the specific components of safflower oil that contributed to altering adipose mass distribution and improving glycemic control are not known. Safflower oil (SAF) contains several compounds (e.g., tocopherols, tocotrienols, and linoleic acid) that may improve insulin sensitivity. The objectives of this study were to determine if supplementation with SAF (8 g qd for 16 weeks) increases alpha tocopherol or gamma tocopherol levels in post-menopausal women with T2DM and to measure the relationship of serum tocopherols or linoleic acid with the insulin sensitizing cytokine, adiponectin, HbA1c, and trunk adipose. Tocopherols were extracted from frozen serum samples via solid phase extraction and analyzed using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) for gamma and alpha tocopherol concentrations at the baseline and the endpoints of the (SAF) supplementation. While not all of the subjects exhibited increased tocopherol, the subjects who showed an increase in tocopherol concentration had a significant increase in plasma adiponectin and a significant decrease in trunk adipose mass and HbA1c. Overall, the data suggest that alpha and gamma tocopherol may contribute to the improvements in markers of glycemia in obese post-menopausal women with T2DM. Confounding factors that may have contributed to variability within our observations are related to the nature of this study being a secondary analysis derived from a primary study (2). The number of observations (n) was limited due to the primary objective (2). In addition, these considerations include possible exposure of samples to more than one freeze-thaw cycle, unregulated exposure to light, and duration of storage in -80C freezer. This study provides evidence that in addition to linoleic acid, tocopherols found in dietary SAF may contribute to improved glycemic control in women with (T2DM).



Diabetes, Obesity, Dietary Oils, Tocopherols, Linoleic Acid