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Red Wine Compound Lowers Blood Sugar

Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that resveratrol—a compound present in red wine—is a promising treatment for type 2 diabetes. However, the researchers were also quick to add that drinking wine or taking resveratrol supplements won’t do diabetic people any good either.

Lead researcher Roberto Coppari and his colleagues found that resveratrol could lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin levels when injected directly into the brains of mice fed very high-calorie diets, giving hint that the brain plays a vital role in resveratrol’s beneficial effect on diabetes and that the benefits may occur independently of diet and body weight.

This opens a new possibility that diabetic treatment via the brain could be possible, Dr. Coppari said. “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.”

He emphasized that oral intake of red wine or even resveratrol food supplement would not lessen the risk of diabetes. “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.”

The study saw results by injecting resveratrol directly into the brains of diabetic mice would activate a group of proteins known as sirtuins, which have been shown to have antidiabetes properties in earlier animal studies.

“Despite the very high-fat diet of the mice, 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,” the researchers wrote. “The resveratrol injections were found to activate SIRT1 proteins in the brain and they reduced brain inflammation related to the mice’s high-calorie diets.”

If proven, this can open new doors not only in the treatment of diabetes but also other cardiovascular diseases and obesity. “The brain appears to be a major player in diabetes,” Dr. Coppari says. “The treatments we have for diabetes target other organs like the liver. The brain hasn’t really been on the map.”

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