Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Type 2 diabetes stems from a dysfunction in the way the body produces insulin. The primary role of insulin is to regulate blood sugar – the main type of sugar found in blood. Deprived of this mechanism, blood sugar levels can creep up to dangerous levels. Fortunately, there is an alternative way of controlling blood sugar levels.
Research has identified a number of dietary items that can lower high blood sugar levels.
A mice study published in the International Journal of Obesity counts blueberry juice among them.
The juice extracted from North American lowbush blueberries, biotransformed with bacteria from the skin of the fruit, exhibited strong potential as an anti-obesity and anti-diabetic agent, showing a reduction in blood glucose by 35 percent.
The study tested the effects of biotransformed juices compared to regular blueberry drinks on mice.
Senior author Pierre S. Haddad, a pharmacology professor at the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Medicine stated: “Results of this study clearly show that biotransformed blueberry juice has strong anti-obesity and anti-diabetic potential…. Biotransformed blueberry juice may represent a novel therapeutic agent, since it decreases hyperglycaemia in diabetic mice and can protect young pre-diabetic mice from developing obesity and diabetes.”
The scientists tested the effect of biotransformed blueberry juice on a group of mice prone to obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.
Incorporating biotransformed blueberry juice into the water of the mice reduced their food intake and their body weight.
“These mice were an excellent model that closely resembles obesity and obesity-linked type 2 diabetes in humans,” said Doctor Haddad, who is also director of the CIHR Team in Aboriginal Anti-Diabetic Medicines at the Université de Montréal.
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Biotransformation of the blueberry juice was achieved with a new strain of bacteria isolated from the blueberry flora, specifically called Serratia vaccinii, which increases the fruit’s antioxidant effects.
“The identification of the active compounds in biotransformed blueberry juice may result in the discovery of promising new antiobesity and antidiabetic molecules,” says Dr. Haddad.
As for the impact of blueberry products on diabetes, Tri Vuong, lead author and recent PhD graduate from the Université de Montréal’s Department of Pharmacology said: “Consumption of fermented blueberry juice gradually and significantly reduced high blood glucose levels in diabetic mice.
“After three days, our mice subjects reduced their glycaemia levels by 35 percent.”
The results need to be repeated in human studies before recommendations can be made but there are reasons to be optimistic.
Research published in Current Developments in Nutrition found that the equivalent of one cup of fresh blueberries, given as 22 g of freeze-dried blueberries, may beneficially affect areas of health in overweight men with type 2 diabetes.
The study, “Effect of Blueberry Consumption on Cardiometabolic Health Parameters in Men with Type 2 Diabetes: An 8-Week, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial”, found that intake of the equivalent of one cup of fresh blueberries (given as 22 g freeze-dried blueberries) resulted in clinically significant improvements in measurable indicators of type 2 diabetes.
These indicators represent ways to measure blood sugar control in those living with diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes – do you have it?
Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision.
“See a GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes,” advises the NHS.
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