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Posted: Thursday, October 15 2009. 13:24

Resveratrol may prove beneficial for Diabetes

Resveratrol, a compound found in red wines shows promise as a future treatment for type 2 diabetes, but drinking wine or taking resveratrol supplements isn't likely to do diabetic people much good, researchers say according to the latest study which appears to be déjà vu.

It has been found to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin levels when injected directly into the brains of mice fed very high-calorie diets in a study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW).

The finding suggests that the brain plays a key role in the beneficial effect on diabetes and that the benefits may occur independently of diet and body weight. If this is true, new type 2 diabetes treatments targeting the brain may be possible, lead researcher Roberto Coppari, PhD, reportedly told WebMD.

But drinking red wine is not likely to improve blood sugar and insulin levels because resveratrol does not cross the blood-brain barrier very efficiently.

"We don't want to send the message that you can treat diabetes by drinking red wine," says Coppari. "Two or three glasses a day wouldn't be nearly enough for the brain to accumulate the amount of resveratrol delivered in our study. It would take many, many bottles, and clearly that wouldn't be good for you."

Resveratrol- the anti-aging wonder

Resveratrol first made headlines several years ago when researchers identified it as the substance likely responsible for the health benefits to the heart attributed to red wine.

Early this year, the news program 60 Minutes aired a story suggesting that resveratrol-based drugs may one day succeed in slowing aging in humans. The same channel had come out with the now-famous The French Paradox in November 1990 when the hypothesis that the French have better heart health despite poor eating habits due to the regular consumption of red wine- a fact which is now disputed or at least only indicative as the wine is also a part of the Mediterranean diet which has its salutary effects.

Found mostly in the skin of red grapes and other dark fruits, resveratrol has been shown to protect against diabetes in studies involving mice, although very high doses of the molecule have been needed. In the newly published study, Coppari and colleagues examined whether injecting resveratrol directly into the brains of diabetic mice would activate a group of proteins which have been shown to have anti-diabetes properties in earlier animal studies.

All the mice were fed a very high-fat diet throughout the study. Despite this, insulin levels in the resveratrol-treated mice dropped significantly and were halfway to normal by the end of the five-week study. Insulin levels among the placebo-treated mice continued to rise.

       

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