Researchers have revealed that the fruit compounds from red grapes and oranges can actually work together to reduce blood glucose levels, improve insulin activity, and boost the health of arteries.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in Australia and obesity raises the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some forms of cancer.
As the need to treat heart disease, diabetes and obesity increases more than ever, study leader Paul Thornalley, professor in systems biology at Warwick, and colleagues suggest red grapes and oranges may pave the way for such treatments.
The team explains that a compound called methylglyoxal or MG, is a key driver of sugar’s harmful effects on the body.
A combination of high MG levels and a high-calorie diet is a cause of insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. It also damages blood vessels and can drive high cholesterol levels – a risk factor for CVD, according to MNT.
The team says these effects can be reversed by blocking MG with increasing an enzyme called Glo1 and the compounds trans-resveratrol in red grapes (tRES) and hesperetin in oranges (HESP) can do just that.
Next, the team tested the grape-orange compound combination on 32 adults aged 18-80 who fell into the overweight or obese categories with a body mass index (BMI) of between 25-40.
They were given the fruit compound combo to take once a day for eight weeks as a supplement and during the study period, the participants were asked to continue with their usual diets and not to increase any physical activity so that the researchers can gain a more accurate picture of the supplements’ effects.
During the 8-week period, blood samples were taken on a regular basis and analysed for sugar levels and other blood markers, and artery health was assessed by measuring artery wall flexibility.
The results? Participants who had a BMI of more than 27.5 demonstrated increased Glo1 activity with the daily supplement, as well as reduced insulin levels, improved insulin activity, better artery function, and reduced blood vessel inflammation.
However, “As exciting as our breakthrough is, it is important to stress that physical activity, diet, other lifestyle factors and current treatments should be adhered to,” advised Prof. Thornalley.
“Our new pharmaceutical is safe and expected to be an effective add-on treatment taken with current therapy,” he adds.
Prof. Thornalley says the team is currently seeking commercial investors and partners in order to test the effectiveness of their treatment for diabetic kidney disease.