Nigella sativa seeds are traditionally reputed as possessing anti-diabetic properties. As a result, we aim to explore the mechanism of its anti-hyperglycemic activity. This present study uses various experimental designs including gastrointestinal motility, intestinal disaccharidase activity and inhibition of carbohydrate digestion and absorption in the gut.  The animals used as type 2 diabetic models were induced with streptozotocin to make them as such. Oral glucose tolerance test was performed to confirm that the animals were indeed diabetic. The extract reduced postprandial glucose, suggesting it interfered with glucose absorption in the gut.  It also improved glucose (2.5g/kg/5ml) tolerance in rats.  Furthermore, treatment with N. sativa produced a significant improvement in gastrointestinal (GI) motility, while reduced disaccharidase enzyme activity in fasted rats. The extract produced a similar effect within acute oral sucrose (2.5g/kg/5ml) load assay.  Following sucrose administration, a substantial amount of unabsorbed sucrose was found in six different parts of the GI tract. This indicates that N. sativa has the potentiality to liberate GI content and reduce or delay glucose absorption. A potential hypoglycemic activity of the extract found in insulin release assay, where the extract significantly improved insulin secretion from isolated rat islets. These concluded present findings give rise to the implication that N. sativa seeds are generating postprandial anti-hyperglycemic activity within type 2 diabetic animal models via reducing or delaying carbohydrate digestion and absorption in the gut as well as improving insulin secretion in response to the plasma glucose.


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