Resveratrol Helps Insulin Resistance in Type 2 Diabetes

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Resveratrol, an active compound found in grapes, red wine, and some berries, appears to improve insulin resistance in people who have type 2 diabetes, according to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition. This study is believed to be the first to illustrate that resveratrol can help insulin sensitivity in humans.

Insulin resistance forecasts health problems

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin but cannot use it properly. Insulin is a hormone the body needs to help it use glucose (sugar) for energy. When blood glucose levels rise after a meal, the pancreas releases insulin to help the cells use the sugar.

When people are insulin resistant, however, their cells do not respond properly to the hormone, and the pancreas makes more insulin to make up for the lack of response. Eventually the pancreas cannot fulfill the body’s need for insulin, and glucose levels rise in the bloodstream, leading the way to type 2 diabetes.

In the new study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of Pecs in Hungary, 19 people who had type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to take either 10 mg (two 5-mg doses) of resveratrol or placebo daily for four weeks. At the end of the trial, patients who took the resveratrol showed a significant decrease in insulin resistance compared with placebo.

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The researchers speculated on the reason for the improvement, noting that it could be due to resveratrol’s potent antioxidant activity, because oxidative stress is “widely accepted” as a key factor in insulin resistance.

Another possible explanation is the ability of resveratrol to stimulate the activity of Akt phosphorylation, a protein that helps the uptake of sugar into cells. The researchers observed an increase in the levels of activated phosphorylated Akt to Akt.

Resveratrol has been making a name for itself in the area of anti-aging, where some scientists have shown that it may increase the lifespan of yeast, worms, fruit flies, and other low life forms. The polyphenol has also shown some activity against cancer cells in the laboratory.

This latest study suggests resveratrol may help insulin resistance in patients who have type 2 diabetes, although further studies are needed to make that determination. The study’s authors did note that “the present study definitely suggests that resveratrol could become a useful tool in gaining a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying the development of insulin resistance and oxidative stress.”

SOURCE:
Brasnyo P et al. British Journal of Nutrition; doi: 10.1017/S0007114511000316

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