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Emerging Potential of Natural Products as an Alternative Strategy to Pharmacological Agents Used Against Metabolic Disorders

[ Vol. 17 , Issue. 6 ]


Tânia R. Dias, Raquel L. Bernardino, Maria J. Meneses, Mário Sousa, Rosália Sá, Marco G. Alves, Branca M. Silva and Pedro F. Oliveira   Pages 582 - 597 ( 16 )


Background: Human metabolism is an essential biological process that involves the consumption of different substrates to ensure the nutritional and energetic needs of cells. The disruption of this highly regulated system constitutes the onset of several disorders/dysfunctions such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases and hypertension.

Objective: In this review, we propose to discuss promising natural products that can act as modulators of cell metabolism and point towards possible targets to take into account in the development of new therapies against metabolic diseases.

Methods: After having defined our main focus, we undertook an intensive search of bibliographic databases to select the peer-reviewed papers that fits within the review thematic. The information of the screened papers was described in an organized manner through the review and different types of studies were included.

Results: Two hundred and seventy papers were included in the review, as well as one reliable website from the World Health Organization. Several articles described that pharmacological agents are commonly used to counteract metabolic disorders. However, in many cases these products are insufficient, represent high costs to health care systems and are associated with several undesirable effects, highlighting the need to search for new therapies. Notably, many papers reported the promising results of natural products in the treatment of several metabolic disorders, constituting a possible alternative or complementary strategy to pharmacological agents.

Conclusion: The findings of this review confirm that the currently available treatments for metabolic disorders and its associated complications remain far below the expected results.


Diabetes mellitus, metabolic disorders, metabolic therapies, metabolism, natural products, pharmacological agents.


Health Sciences Research Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Beira Interior, 6201-506 Covilhã, Portugal., Department of Microscopy, Laboratory of Cell Biology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar (ICBAS), Rua de Jorge Viterbo Ferreira nº228, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal.

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