Iloilo teen reportedly discovers aratiles’ potential to cure diabetes
Jan Milo Severo ( - June 5, 2019 - 2:40pm

MANILA, Philippines — A 16-year-old Iloilo high school student has reportedly discovered that aratiles has a potential to cure type 2 diabetes. 

Maria Isabel Layson was recognized by the 2019 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) for her study, “Bioactive Component, Antioxidant Activity, and Antidiabetic Properties of Muntingia calabura Linn. An In Vitro Study.”

In a video posted by Gokongwei Brothers Foundation online, Maria Isabel said that the berry-like aratiles or aratilis fruit grew abundantly in their backyard, so she was inspired to study the antioxidant and anti-diabetic properties of the fruit especially since diabetes has already claimed the lives of many of her family members.

"The inspiration (behind) my study is several generations of my family (that) have experienced (the) death of a loved one because of diabetes. It is considered as one of the top causes of death," she explained. 

“My research won't end here. It will actually further develop into more specific compounds. We will delve into other diseases.” 

The student said her research found bioactive compounds like anthocyanin, flavonoid and polyphenol, in aratiles. These components are said to be potentially useful as cure for diabetes.

“Actually, the results of the study on muntingia calabura or the sarisa, it does contain anti-diabetic properties and it is very rich in antioxidants,” she shared.

According to the Department of Health, diabetes is the deadliest disease in the country, with millions afflicted due to lifestyle and genetic factors. Reports said that the Philippines has seen an increase in diabetes cases, with 7.8 million Filipinos predicted to become diabetic by 2030.

Maria Isabel is one of the 12 aspiring scientists who represented the Philippines at the prestigious ISEF that happened last May 12 to 17 in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. 

In recognition of the students’ excellence, the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation has honored them with the first Gokongwei Brothers Young Scientist title. — Video from YouTube/Gokongwei Brothers Foundation

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