"Miracle Molecule" Can Aid Diabetes

Reduce Blood Sugar, Improve Mobility

Written by Brianna Panzica
Posted August 24, 2012

If your evening routine often consists of sitting down with a glass of red wine, or if you're inclined to crack open a bottle with a steak or spaghetti dinner, you've been doing something right.

You may have heard that red wine contains compounds that are good for your heart. Well, scientists have recently found that that's not all it can do.

Berry wine actually contains what scientists have dubbed the "miracle molecule."

It's called reveratrol, and two studies from the University of Illinois and Duquesne University have determined that the molecule could help reduce blood sugar in people with diabetes and even improve mobility in seniors.

Michelle Johnson at the University of Illinois studied how berry wine, particularly a blueberry-blackberry blend, can inhibit alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase in a way similar to an anti-diabetes drug.

The enzymes are responsible for carbohydrate absorption, and she found that compounds in the wine degraded these enzymes regardless of the wine's temperature.

Essentially, the resveratrol helped lower blood sugar.

She also found that it could help reduce inflammation, making it a preventative measure against certain types of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Meanwhile, scientists at Dusquene University have been studying the effects of resveratrol on mobility.

In a study with mice, Jane Cavanaugh, assistant Professor of Pharmacology, and other professors found that mobility was improved in older mice after they were given resveratrol.

She told CBS:

“As these animals age, they lose some of their motor coordination. Very similar as to humans do as they age. And when we gave them out the resveratrol, the older mouse had less loss of motor coordination.”

The compound would likely have a similar effect on humans. Drinking berry wine in moderation could have great benefits.

Not a drinker? Don't worry, you don't actually have to be consuming daily bottles of berry wine to get these benefits.

According to Dusquesne researchers, a handful of fruit also can contain a large amount of resveratrol. The compound is found in dark-skinned fruits like grapes and blueberries.

And drug manufacturers are likely going to look at how to put the same benefits into a pill. After all, it could improve mobility and reduce the risk for inflammation, some cancers, and cardiovascular diseases.

Meawhile, Elvira de Mejia, professor of food chemistry and food toxicology at the University of Illinois, is working on a non-alcoholic drink that contains all the benefits of berry wine to help people suffering from diabetes reduce their blood sugar.

The benefits come from the fermentation process, she says. The drink would contain the compounds that inhibit carb-degrading enzymes, the antioxidants present in red wine, polyphenol, and anthocyanin. All without the alcohol.

She envisions a tasty drink or even ingredients that could be added to other beverages to improve their health benefits.

But for now, a lot can be said for a diet containing these dark-skinned fruits and the occasional glass of berry wine.