Antioxidants and insulin sensitivity

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Researchers have shown that red wine and tea may both hold promise for regulating the blood sugar of people with type 2 diabetes.

Levels of blood glucose rise sharply in patients with type 2 diabetes immediately following a meal. Red wine and tea contain antioxidants that help to slow the passage of glucose through the small intestine and into the bloodstream, which can prevent the blood sugar spike.

Keeping blood sugar levels normal is one of the key challenges of managing diabetes; doing so can help prevent the disease from contributing to heart disease and high blood pressure as well as damaging the eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels.

In the study, researchers tested how well wine and tea could inhibit the activity of a target enzyme called alpha-glucosidase, which is responsible for triggering the absorption of glucose by the small intestine.

Red wine came out on top, as it was able to inhibit the enzyme by nearly 100 percent, compared to white wine at 20 percent.

Out of the four types of tea tested — black, oolong, white and green — black tea was most effective, followed by white tea and oolong tea.

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
Red wine and tea continue to make headlines as some of the most promising “functional foods” of the 21st century. But it takes a little bit of digging to get to the bottom of what’s really healthy, and not so healthy, about these two beverages.

Should You Drink Red Wine?

No doubt about it, red wine contains lots of antioxidants, namely polyphenols, which are known to fight free radicals and reduce your risk of a number of degenerative conditions from cancer and heart disease to neurodegenerative diseases.

And resveratrol, perhaps the most talked about antioxidant in red wine, may even extend your lifespan.

So should you have a glass now and then?

In my opinion, no. This is largely because, despite the other healthy properties in red wine, the alcohol itself is actually a neurotoxin, which means it can poison your brain. Additionally, it has the strong potential to seriously disrupt your delicate hormone balance. This may be why if you drink heavy amounts of beer and spirits you may double your risk of developing colorectal tumors.

You also need to be aware that consuming large amounts of wine will increase insulin levels and eventually have a negative impact on your health. This is especially important for people who already show signs of insulin resistance, such as high blood pressure, extra weight, high cholesterol, and, yes, diabetes.

This is contradictory to the study above, which found that wine actually benefits blood sugar. Well, keep in mind that this study only looked at wine’s ability to inhibit the activity of a single target enzyme, and not how it would impact your entire system.

Having said that, it is important to understand some important facts about resveratrol. Because this antioxidant is soluble in alcohol, you will get far more absorption if you consume it in an alcohol base as opposed to swallowing it from a pill. So while there are clearly distinct and negative consequences to consuming alcohol, these are partially compensated for by its ability to increase the absorption of resveratrol into your blood where it performs its magic.

Keep in mind, though, that if you decide to drink red wine, you need to check on the growing conditions of the grapes and how the wine is made. If the wine isn’t made with organic grapes, it may contain no resveratrol at all.

Should You Drink Tea?

Like wine, tea is packed with antioxidants that are great for your health. Research has indicated that tea could have beneficial effects including:

  • Improved mental alertness
  • Lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Lower risk of breast, colon, lung, ovarian and prostate cancers
  • Protection again type 2 diabetes

And one component of tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), could also help prevent psoriasis, prostate cancer and colon tumors. Several studies have also found that EGCG can improve exercise performance, increase fat oxidation and prevent obesity, as it’s known to have a regulatory effect on fat metabolism.

So should you make a cup of tea, or a few of them, part of your day?

Well, next to pure water, high-quality tea is one of the most nutritious beverages you can consume. Personally, I’ve begun to include matcha green tea from 100 percent, quality tea leaves as a regular part of my diet.

How Else Can You Regulate Your Blood Sugar?

Please don’t misconstrue — there are many ways to improve your health and your blood sugar levels that don’t involve drinking anything. Among the most powerful:

1. Find out your nutritional type. Nearly all type 2 diabetics need to swap out their grains and sugars for other foods, however, some of you will benefit from using protein for the substitution, while others will benefit from using more vegetable-only carbohydrates. Which one is determined by your nutritional type.

2. Exercise. Regular physical activity helps to stabilize your blood sugar and make your cells more responsive to insulin. So get moving!

3. Use cinnamon. If you enjoy this spice, feel free to sprinkle it on your food generously — it’s known to help control blood sugar levels. Though this doesn’t address the underlying causes of type 2 diabetes like the first two tips do, it’s still an inexpensive, and safe, tool to add to your collection.

Connie’s comments:

Greens, ginger, garlic, onions, massage, de-stressing, exercise, adequate sleep are all factors that can help regulate your sugar blood levels.

 

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Effects of antioxidant supplementation on insulin sensitivity, endothelial adhesion molecules, and oxidative stress in normal-weight and overweight young adults.

Abstract

The objective of the study was to determine whether short-term antioxidant (AOX) supplementation affects insulin sensitivity, endothelial adhesion molecule levels, and oxidative stress in overweight young adults.

A randomized, double-blind, controlled study tested the effects of AOXs on measures of insulin sensitivity (homeostasis model assessment [HOMA]) and quantitative insulin sensitivity check index), endothelial adhesion molecules (soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1, vascular adhesion molecule, and endothelial-leukocyte adhesion molecule-1), adiponectin, and oxidative stress (lipid hydroperoxides) in overweight and normal-weight individuals (N = 48, 18-30 years).

Participants received either AOX (vitamin E, 800 IU; vitamin C, 500 mg; beta-carotene, 10 mg) or placebo for 8 weeks. The HOMA values were initially higher in the overweight subjects and were lowered with AOX by week 8 (15% reduction, P = .02).

Adiponectin increased in both AOX groups. Soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and endothelial-leukocyte adhesion molecule-1 decreased in overweight AOX-treated groups by 6% and 13%, respectively (P < .05).

Plasma lipid hydroperoxides were reduced by 0.31 and 0.70 nmol/mL in the normal-weight and overweight AOX-treated groups, respectively, by week 8 (P < .05). Antioxidant supplementation moderately lowers HOMA and endothelial adhesion molecule levels in overweight young adults.

A potential mechanism to explain this finding is the reduction in oxidative stress by AOX.

PMID:

 

19154960

 

PMCID:

 

PMC3325609

 

DOI:

 

10.1016/j.metabol.2008.09.022

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