Oranges and red grapes could hold the key to fighting life threatening conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Experts from Warwick University have found that when compounds from these fruits are combined, they act together to decrease blood sugar levels, improve the action of insulin and improve the health of arteries.
Details of the study
The researchers have taken hesperetin found in oranges and trans-resveratrol found in red grapes and combined them in a pill. This pill could offer a new treatment in the future to fight the three killer diseases.
Thirty-two overweight and obese people aged between 18 and 80 with a BMI between 25 and 40, were given the supplement in capsule form once a day for 8 weeks. After this period the patients displayed decreased glucose levels, improved working of insulin, improved artery function and decreased blood vessel inflammation.
Professor Paul Thornalley who led the research said: “This is an incredibly exciting development and could have a massive impact on our ability to treat these diseases.”
He went on to say: ” As well as helping to treat diabetes and heart disease it could defuse the obesity time bomb.”
How the compounds in oranges & grapes work together
The compounds act by increasing a protein called glyoxalase 1 (Glo 1) which neutralises the damaging effects of a sugar derived compound called methylglyoxal (MG). Increased amounts of MG in the body is a key factor in insulin resistance which leads to type 2 diabetes. It can also damage blood vessels and impairs the way the body handles cholesterol, causing an increased risk of heart disease.
Hesperetin and trans-resveratrol are found naturally in some fruits but the experts say that purely increasing your consumption of these fruits will not provide the quantity required to maximise the benefits. But the study found that pharmaceutical doses could be given in capsule form to patients with obesity, diabetes and a high risk of heart disease.
Importantly, Professor Thornalley warned that the compounds should only be consumed in pharmaceutical doses as the quantity required from eating fruit would be too high an intake of sugar and would have the opposite effect to the capsule’s aim.
He went on to say: “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.”
The research has been published in the journal Diabetes, and received funding from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.
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