According to researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia, abscisic acid (ABA) from standardized fig extract improves insulin release and glucose tolerance. The scientists published a randomized, double-blind crossover study, in which they evaluated the effects of two different ABA doses in fig extracts (100 mg and 200 mg) on postprandial glucose and insulin responses in healthy adult human subjects.
ABA, which is released by pancreatic beta-cells, enhances the activity of Glut 4, a glucose transporter involved in glucose uptake into cells and improving insulin utilization. This is significant because consistently high glucose levels cause cells to stop responding to insulin (resist) and to stop absorbing glucose from the blood. This triggers an increase in insulin production from the pancreas, leading to chronically high levels of serum glucose and insufficient insulin, increasing the risk for pre-diabetes and diabetes type 2.
Figs, which have the highest concentration of ABA compared to other natural sources, also provide anti-inflammatory and adaptogenic benefits. Abscisic acid is an important plant hormone that regulates growth and seed maturation, as well as mediate stress to allow the plant to survive in a changing environment. The hormone also occurs in lesser concentration in apples, avocados and cucumbers.
Atkinson FS et al.: Nutrients. Abscisic Acid Standardized Fig (Ficus carica) Extracts Ameliorate Postprandial Glycemic and Insulinemic Responses in Healthy Adults. 2019 Jul 31;11(8).