Diabetes is a common metabolic disease characterized by abnormally high plasma glucose levels, leading to major complications, such as diabetic neuropathy, retinopathy, and cardiovascular diseases. One of the effective managements of diabetes mellitus, in particular, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) to decrease postprandial hyperglycemia, is to retard the absorption of glucose by inhibition of carbohydrate hydrolyzing enzymes, such as α-glucosidase and α-amylase, in the digestive organs. α-Glucosidase is the key enzyme catalyzing the final step in the digestive process of carbohydrates. Hence, α-glucosidase inhibitors can retard the liberation of d-glucose from dietary complex carbohydrates and delay glucose absorption, resulting in reduced postprandial plasma glucose levels and suppression of postprandial hyperglycemia. In recent years, many efforts have been made to identify effective α-glucosidase inhibitors from natural sources in order to develop a physiologic functional food or lead compounds for use against diabetes. Many α-glucosidase inhibitors that are phytoconstituents, such as flavonoids, alkaloids, terpenoids,anthocyanins, glycosides, phenolic compounds, and so on, have been isolated from plants. In the present review, we focus on the constituents isolated from different plants having α-glucosidase inhibitory potency along with IC50 values.
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