Adiponectin hormone, diabetes, insulin, influence of diet, herbs
October 14 2017 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.


Adiponectin, an adipocyte -specific plasma protein, has been reported to exhibit protective effects against atherosclerosis as well as an insulin-sensitizing effect. Adiponectin may help prevent fatty deposits from forming in blood vessels and has anti-inflammatory properties. Low levels of the protein are thought to contribute to metabolic syndrome. Exercise and proper diets help increase levels. Altered plasma high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and adiponectin may contribute to increased vascular inflammation and accelerated atherosclerosis in patients with end-stage renal disease and co-morbid diabetes.


Adiponectin and diabetes, role of fish oils

Adiponectin is an adipokine that is specifically and abundantly expressed in adipose tissue and directly sensitizes the body to insulin. As plasma levels of adiponectin, a protein produced by fat cells, rise, the risk of type 2 diabetes decreases. Hypoadiponectinemia, caused by interactions of genetic factors such as SNPs in the Adiponectin gene and environmental factors causing obesity, appears to play an important causal role in insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome, which are linked to obesity. It is possible that the use of fish oils could increase the levels of this protein. Reviewing evidence from existing randomized clinical trials, it was found that fish oil supplementation caused modest increases in adiponectin in the blood of humans. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2013. It was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.


J Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism 2013. Effect of fish oil on circulating adiponectin: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.  Fish oil moderately increases circulating adiponectin, although with unexplained heterogeneity as well as potential publication bias. These findings provide no evidence for harm and support possible benefits of n-3 PUFA consumption on insulin sensitivity and adipocyte function.


Q. I have heard quite alot about the beneficial effects of adinopectin on type 2 diabetes. Are you aware of any similar benefits to those suffering from fatty liver (alcoholic and non alcoholic)? If so, does Diet Rx formula provide sufficient levels of adiponectin to alleviate the same?
   A. Adiponectin is a hormone not available as a supplement. Diet Rx reduces appetite, and when less food is consumed this provides quite a number of health benefits. We have not tested adiponectin levels in those who take Diet Rx.


Influence of herbs and plants
International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research 2014. Effect of Fenugreek Seeds on Serum Metabolic Factors and Adiponectin Levels in Type 2 Diabetic Patients. This triple-blind randomized controlled clinical trial was conducted on 88 type 2 diabetic (T2DM) patients (males and females). Subjects in the fenugreek seed and placebo groups consumed 10 g/d of powdered whole fenugreek seeds or 5 g/d of wheat starch for 8 weeks. Fasting blood samples, anthropometric measurements and dietary records were collected at the baseline and at the end of the trial. Fenugreek seeds significantly decreased fasting blood glucose and HbA1c, serum levels of insulin, homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance, total cholesterol and triglycerides and increased serum levels of adiponectin compared with placebo. No significant changes were shown in serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in both groups. In conclusion, fenugreek seeds improved glucose metabolism, serum lipid profile and adiponectin levels in studied subjects, and may be useful in the control of diabetes risk factors in TD2M patients.


Kidney and renal role
There is a growing body of evidence indicating that adiponectin has renoprotective effects and protects against the development of albuminuria in rodent experiments. J Endocrinology 2014. The role of adiponectin in renal physiology and development of albuminuria.


A Polish study focusing on the protein adiponectin was led by Agnieszka Baranowska-Bik from the Medical Center of Postgraduate Education in Warsaw. The study involved 133 women aged 20 to 102, including 25 centenarians who were found to be healthier in some respects than younger obese participants. The oldest women had significantly higher levels of adiponectin in their blood stream than the other age groups. Compared to a group of obese women, the centenarians displayed fewer signs of high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome, which involves obesity, insulin resistance (for which higher levels of insulin are needed to perform the hormone's regular functions), diabetes and the formation of fatty deposits.



Adiponectin is an adipose tissue-specific secretory protein known to be an insulin-sensitizing protein. Serum adiponectin is important to maintaining energy homeostasis under energy shortage conditions, such as during female pubertal development.


Diet role and influence

Those who follow a Mediterranean diet which includes nuts, whole grains and a small amount of alcohol have higher adiponectin levels. Decreasing omega 6 fatty acids and increasing omega-3 fatty acids in the diet leads to higher levels.


Nutritional intervention to reduce the n-6/n-3 fatty acid ratio increases adiponectin concentration and fatty acid oxidation in healthy subjects.
Eur J Clin Nutrition. 2007.
The Western diet is characterized by a low n-3 PUFA intake and an imbalance in the n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio. This study lasted for 10 weeks and included 17 healthy subjects. Dietary counseling was provided for these volunteers to increase their omega-3 intake and decrease their omega-6 intake. Dietary intervention was associated with significant reductions in TNF-alpha, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and increased adiponectin.


Metabolic syndrome diagnosis marker
Int J Clin Exp Med. 2014. Adiponectin and visfatin may serve as diagnosis markers for metabolic syndrome in Uygur population.


Adiponectin and pioglitazone
Treatment with pioglitazone appears to increase levels of adiponectin in plasma and to decrease the lipid-necrotic component, which may lead to stabilization of coronary plaques, researchers said at the American Heart Association 2006 Scientific Sessions. In a 6-month treatment period, the necrotic-core components of plaques decreased when patients were taking the anti-diabetes drug pioglitazone (Actos), said study investigator Daisuke Ogasawara, MD, cardiology researcher, Kobe University Graduate Medical School, Kobe, Japan.


Increase in adiponectin level after treatment with the insulin sensitizers pioglitazone and metformin may improve arterial stiffness in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Upregulation of adiponectin is a partial cause of the insulin-sensitizing and antidiabetic actions of thiazolidinediones.


Q. It's my pleasure to have a connection with you. I am a PhD student of Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad, India. My thesis is about "production of recombinant globular adiponectin in plants" and I am researching on this subject. If you kindly answer some my questions. Is used recombinant adiponectin to produce any pharmaceuticals until now? And what clinical trial step of adiponectin is done now?
    A. This is not an area that I am up to date with since I focus on natural supplements research.


I have diabetes and I am overweight, no matter what I do I can lose weight. I just read about a hormone called adipontectin and the add said I could buy it over the counter. I have never seen it here. Is there a website I could refer to?
   This hormone, as of 2017, is not available for sale over the counter.


Q. I thought this study might interest you folks.
Atzmon G, Pollin TI, Crandall J, Tanner K, Schechter CB, Scherer PE. Institute for Aging Research, Belfer Bldg. #701, Albert Einstein College of Medicine,  Bronx, NY.
Although caloric restriction in numerous models extends life, longevity in humans is suggested to be limited by the increased prevalence of obesity. Adiponectin, a fat-derived peptide, has a protective role against age-related disease, and thus is an excellent candidate gene for longevity. We studied adiponectin levels in centenarians, their offspring, and unrelated participants. Adiponectin levels were significantly greater in participants older than 95 years, an effect that was independent of sex and body mass index (BMI). Adiponectin levels in the offspring were higher (following adjustment for age, sex, and BMI) compared to controls, suggesting that inherited factors play a role in determining adiponectin levels. Over-representation of two common variants in Adiponectin gene (ADIPOQ) in male long-lived individuals combined with their independent association with elevated plasma adiponectin levels (in men and women) suggests that their presence may promote increased life span through the regulation of adiponectin production and/or secretion.


Adiponectin product
Q. I work for a Japanese supplement manufacturer called Anzu Klimers Corporation and I was wondering if it would be possible to do a review of our supplement, ADIPOLIC. As you know, adiponectin, which is a protein hormone, is said to be connected to a variety of diseases, including diabetes. The main reason for creating ADIPOLIC was to create a supplement that helps to increase the amount of adiponectin in the body, hence creating a healthier body. Would it be possible to do a review of our product in the Supplement Research Update? We have done clinical tests here in Japan and are interested in getting clinical trials done in America.
   A. Once studies are published in peer-reviewed journals, we would be glad to review those studies.