Researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand are developing a new natural product extracted from the dahlia plant to potentially prevent diabetes.

Dr Alexander Tups from the university’s Centre for Neuroendocrinology said that the product could be favourable for people with prediabetes, where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not enough to meet criteria for the disease.

According to Tups, when taken early before the development of the condition, the product has the potential to inhibit progression to diabetes.

A statement by Tups read: “It might be prescribed together with lifestyle interventions, but possibly it may even stop the progression to diabetes if taken on its own.

“It targets specific symptoms which contribute to the development of diabetes and intake may only be required for a certain amount of time to reverse the disease.”

“It might be prescribed together with lifestyle interventions but possibly it may even stop the progression to diabetes if taken on its own.”

The researchers have partnered with Plant and Food Research to study the product as a supplement in a capsule since 2015.

With positive results observed in mice without any observed side effects, the team intends to investigate the product in at least 20 male human subjects aged 18 to 65 experiencing prediabetes.

University of Otago associate professor Dr Jeremy Krebs said: “About 25% of the adult population have prediabetes, and 70% of people with prediabetes will go on to develop diabetes at some time if they don’t do anything about it. So it is a time when there is a chance to reverse the process.

“In large-scale animal studies we have not observed any side effects at high doses or prolonged intake. It is a natural extract from an edible plant so we anticipate it to be very safe.”