First, What is Alpha Glucosidase?
Alpha glucosidase is an enzyme that processes glucose (simple sugars) from starch (complex sugars). That means when we eat foods, particularly those rich in carbohydrates, alpha glucosidase helps break them down into simple glucose, which is then absorbed by the intestine, thereby increasing blood glucose.
What Do Alpha Glucosidase Inhibitors (AGI) Do?
Now, alpha glucosidase inhibitors (AGIs) retard or hinder the function of alpha glucosidase. Hence, these drugs can delay glucose absorption in the intestine and reduce postprandial plasma glucose or the blood sugar level after meals.
Doctors prescribe AGIs to people with Type 2 diabetes. People with impaired glucose tolerance (prediabetes) may also benefit from them as they have been shown to delay the development of Type 2 DM.
Reports say AGIs are particularly helpful in patients with a higher risk of hypoglycemia or lactic acidosis, as common medicines, like metformin, are not suitable for them.
The Benefits of Alpha Glucosidase Inhibitors
Theoretically, it’s easy to see how AGIs help manage blood glucose. But, what do studies say about them?
In a report published in the American Diabetes Association, experts reviewed 41 studies involving monotherapy with alpha glucosidase inhibitors. They checked the medicine’s effect in glycemic control, insulin levels, plasma lipids (fats), weight, side effects, morbidity and even mortality.
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