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Berry wine drink could naturally help control type 2 diabetes

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Fermented berries from wine could help type 2 diabetes blood sugar control

Researchers may have found a tasty way to help control diabetes from carbohydrate blocking compounds in Illinois blueberry and blackberry wines. The compounds inhibit enzymes that are responsible for absorption of carbohydrates while providing people with diabetes the health benefits of wine, sans the alcohol.

Elvira de Mejia, a Univeristy of Illinois professor of food chemistry and food toxicology explained in a press release that researchers are exploring making a dealcoholized fermented berry drink made from blackberries and blueberries that have that have antioxidants that curb inflammation and disease. Compounds in the wine also inhibit the enzymes alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase that break down carbohydrates.

The researchers compared the anti-carbohydrate effect of the enzymes in the wines with the diabetes drug acarbose. The drug’s brand name is Precose and it’s known as an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor.

The drug works by slowing down the actions of alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase enzymes whose job is to break sugars down into small sugar molecules. The drug helps prevents spikes in blood sugar levels after eating. But now researchers find out they could make a tasty beverage from berry wine to do the same thing

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The researchers found out compounds in berry wine slowed carbohydrate break-down in a range of 91.8 percent for alpha-amylase and 103.2 percent for alpha-glucosidase compared to the anti-diabetic drug acarbose.

Mejia, who is a food chemist, would like to remove the alcohol from berry wines, leaving the carb-degrading enzyme compounds intact in addition to healthful anthocyanins to make a flavorful drink for diabetics.

The authors concluded “…fermented beverages are good natural sources of antioxidants and starch-degrading enzyme inhibitors important for type 2 diabetes management.”

The study is the first to test how fermented berries in the wine work to degrade enzymes that break starches down into sugars. The finding means a blueberry or blackberry wine drink – minus the alcohol - could provide a tasty way for diabetics to control blood sugar levels while providing other healthful benefits that come from anthocyanins in fruit and wine.

University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
August 20, 2012

Image credit: Morguefile