Chemical in Ayahuasca Could Cure Diabetes

A new study has indicated that a chemical found in the psychedelic brew Ayahuasca could help to cure diabetes. This findings are the result of a study which was published to the journal Nature Medicine. In this study, scientist found that harmine had the ability to make beta islet cells of the pancreas grow back. In Type 1 diabetes patients experience up to a 99% loss of pancreas beta cells. For Type 2 diabetes patients, these individuals often experience up to a 60 percent loss of beta cells. The loss of these important cells make it nearly impossible for the patient to regulate blood sugar levels on their on, which can result in many serious complications for patients.


The discovery was made after screening over 100,000 drugs for the possibility of one that could regenerate beta cells. The researchers implanted beta islets into diabetic mice and gave them harmine. The mice that received the harmine saw a tripling in the number of beta cells present. In addition, these diabetic also demonstrated large improvements in blood sugar levels.


The study author was Dr. Andrew Stewart, of the Icahn School of Medicine. The study authors have said that this chemical may need to be tested further before a solution can be developed that is effective for patients because harmine has psychoactive properties. However, understanding the pathway in which this chemical acts could prove effective for developing a viable treatment for diabetes patients.

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