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Industry review: Resveratrol enhances the effects of diabetic drug

By Nicola Cottam , 14-May-2014
Last updated on 14-May-2014 at 17:51 GMT2014-05-14T17:51:03Z

Study identifies resveratrol,
Study identifies resveratrol, "as a potentially effective and safe adjunct treatment of type-2 diabetes for patients who are being treated with Metformin and related glucophage-type drug.”

Red wine-sourced antioxidant resveratrol – found in the skin of red grapes and wine – can amplify and extend the beneficial effects of anti-diabetic drug Metformin, says a new peer review study.

The review, peer-reviewed and published in European Endocrinology, showed evidence that resveratrol could inhibit diabetic nephropathy (a kidney disease), improve cardiovascular health and prevent diabetic retinopathy - a condition where small blood vessels of the eye rupture resulting in loss of vision loss and sometimes permanent blindness.

Researchers from Virginia-based Biotivia Labs assessed a series of human clinical trials carried out at the Albert Einstein Medical College between 2005 and 2014.

In the first trial, a daily 500 mg dose of resveratrol was found to slow down the progression of pre-diabetes into diabetes mellitus, while a second pilot study showed a daily dose of 1-2 g of resveratrol improved glucose metabolism and vascular function. Further trials revealed additional preventative and therapeutic qualities.

Metformin benefits

The review describes more recent clinical studies on patients with type-2 diabetes that substantiate resveratrol’s ability to enhance the positive effects of Metformin, to increase insulin sensitivity, lower blood glucose levels and improve mitochondrial function.

Taken in conjunction with Metformin, resveratrol was also shown to delay and even prevent some of the more serious ensuing symptoms suffered by diabetic patients.

The authors wrote: “The in vitro and in vivo evidence underlying resveratrol’s ability to attenuate blood glucose levels and reduce hypertension, inhibit insulin resistance and beneficially modify the ratio of plasma high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) to low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) and triglycerides, clearly identify this compound as a potentially effective and safe adjunct treatment of type-2 diabetes for patients who are being treated with Metformin and related glucophage-type drug.”

They added that resveratrol's beneficial effects go beyond those of Metformin by lowering blood pressure, decreasing body weight, and attenuating both HDL and triglyceride cholesterol levels.

“Given the absence of observed adverse effects attributed to this compound after more than 10 years of investigation, coupled with clinical evidence of its efficacy and safety, the use of resveratrol as a nutritional supplement is well justified in patients with type-2 diabetes.”

“A case now exists to support the enhancement of existing national healthcare systems’ diabetes prevention and treatment programmes via augmentation with a resveratrol-based nutraceutical component.”

Metformin is the most commonly prescribed type-2 diabetes treatment worldwide, according to the study, and is also used to slow the progress of cancer, reduce heart disease and limit the symptoms of Alzheimer's.

It first appeared on the market 80 years ago as a treatment for metabolic disorders. It is now one of only two anti-diabetic drugs on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) list of Essential Medicines.


Source: European Endocrinology

May 2014

‘Resveratrol for the Management of Diabetes and its Downstream Pathologies’

Authors: James Betz and Moola Nanjan

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