In a recent study, scientists find that a combination of two compounds in red grapes and oranges could be used to improve the health of people with diabetes and reduce their risk of obesity and heart disease.
The study is conducted by University of Warwick researchers. They hope this finding will be helpful to provide a treatment for patients.
The fruit compounds are trans-resveratrol (tRES) – found in red grapes, and hesperetin (HESP) – found in oranges.
Thirty-two overweight and obese people within the 18-80 age range who had a BMI between 25-40 took part in the trial. They were given the compounds in capsule form once a day for eight weeks.
They were asked to maintain their usual diet and their food intake was monitored via a dietary questionnaire and they were also asked not to alter their daily physical activity.
The result shows that after the 8-week treatment with the two compounds, patients had an improvement in insulin resistance. This was similar to that achieved with bariatric surgery after 6 months.
Currently, Metformin is considered for the treatment of overweight/obese people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
But this study shows the combination of the fruit compounds can be more effective than Metformin at reducing blood sugar in the obese and overweight trial participants.
The researchers suggest that he compounds work by increasing a protein called glyoxalase 1 (Glo1) in the body which neutralizes a damaging sugar-derived compound called methylglyoxal (MG).
MG is a major contributor to the damaging effects of sugar. Increased MG accumulation with a high energy diet intake is a driver of insulin resistance leading to type 2 diabetes, and damages blood vessels and impairs handling of cholesterol associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Blocking MG can improve health in overweight and obese people and will likely help patients with diabetes and high risk of cardiovascular disease too.
It has already been proven experimentally that blocking MG improves health impairment in obesity and type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Although the same compounds are found naturally in some fruits, the amounts and type required for health improvement are hard to be obtained from increased fruit consumption.