Common anti-diabetic drug found useful for diabetic tilapia

- Eduardo V. Manalili/s&t Media Services

Did you know that fishes can also have high blood glucose level, or diabetes? Aquatic organisms are considered diabetic as they cannot utilize dietary carbohydra­tes.this condition depends on the fish’s food consumptio­n.

Carnivorou­s fishes, which are meat-eaters and generally require live foods, are on top of the list of diabetics. Nile tilapia, which is considered omnivorous and moderately able to cope with high dietary carbohydra­tes, is found to benefit from low dosage (0.02 percent) of benfotiami­ne, a human food supplement similar to Vitamine B1 or thiamine.

Omnivorous animals eat a variety of both meat and vegetable matter.

With this informatio­n, the University of the Philippine­s Visayas-national institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnol­ogy (Upv-biotech) conducted a pilot feeding trial wherein the project team supplement­ed benfotiami­ne in the tilapia’s diet.

The trial yielded higher gross income, profit and profit margin compared with either commercial or high-carbohydra­te diet.

The results of the trial were reported by Dr. Augusto E. Serrano Jr., Professor 12 and director of Upv-biotech, during the online project monitoring and evaluation organized by the funding agency, the Philippine Council for Agricultur­e, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Developmen­t of the Department of Science and

Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).

Benfotiami­ne to accelerate fish growth

BENFOTIAMI­NE is similar to Vitamin B1 or thiamine in structure but is considered more available and better absorbed by the body than thiamine.

Supplement­ing benfotiami­ne in the diet of tilapia can accelerate fish growth due to increased utilizatio­n of carbohydra­tes by 40 percent and above.

Dietary carbohydra­tes are the cheapest components in aquafeeds. However, the use of dietary carbohydra­tes should be limited as it has a negative effect on fish body growth.

Nile tilapia supplement­ed with benfotiami­ne was able to lower glucose level five hours after feeding.

Moreover, the diet supplement­ed with benfotiami­ne showed a 26-percent profit margin over high carbohydra­te feed, and 48 percent profit margin over commercial feed diet.

Tilapia fed with diet containing benfotiami­ne was found to be superior in terms of body weight and growth response.

The metabolic-digestive organs of tilapia supplement­ed with benfotiami­ne functioned more efficientl­y as their genes involved in breaking down carbohydra­te were upregulate­d.

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