ILOILO CITY – A student scientist from this city has discovered potential anti-diabetic components in the aratiles fruit – a discovery that has earned her recognition in the United States.
Maria Isabel Layson won the National Science and Technology Fair in the US in February and competed as part of the Philippine delegation in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Arizona last month.
“Nobody pays attention to the fruit and its medicinal properties. They don’t realize that it has potential for becoming a regulator of diabetes,” said Layson.
Layson’s research looked into the anti-diabetic component of the fruit locally known as sarisa.
While she did not win in the latest competition, Layson said representing the country was a blessing and an honor.
“I didn’t join the competition for fame. I joined this research competition because I wanted to address the problem of diabetes and how my research of aratiles could help solve that,” she said.
Layson said her research found bioactive compounds like anthocyanin, flavonoid and polyphenol in the oft ignored fruit. These components may be useful as a 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 said.
The incoming Grade 11 student dreams of finding a cure for the disease that affects many Filipinos.
The Philippines has seen an increase in diabetes affliction, with the forecast placing the estimate at 7.8 million diabetic Filipinos by 2030.
According to the Department of Health, diabetes is the deadliest disease in the country, with millions afflicted due to lifestyle and genetic factors.