Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease that causes complications due to insulin deficiency, insulin resistance or the combination of the two. Diabetes is a significant public health issue of considerable significance everywhere in the planet due to the disease’s substantial incidence and complications. In 2017, more than 285 million people around the world had diabetes, and it was then calculated that this amount of people with diabetes will grow to 445 million by 2029.
If you’ve read that a daily glass of red wine can aid lower cholesterol levels, chances are you probably also heard about resveratrol — the often talked-about plant chemical found in red wine. But beyond being a beneficial part of red wine and some other foods, resveratrol possesses health potential in its own right. Indeed, resveratrol supplements have been linked to numerous exciting health benefits, such as preserving brain function, decreasing blood pressure, and, most significantly here, managing diabetes.
What Is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a plant chemical that one in a category of antioxidant-rich polyphenols named stilbenes (also referred to as stilbenoids). Virtually any discussion about resveratrol normally involves reference of red wine. The reason is because red grapes — the principal component in red wine — is the food with the highest amount of resveratrol. This compound tends to be found mainly in the skins and seeds of the grape, and these parts of the grape are present during the fermentation of red wine — hence its particularly high accumulation of resveratrol.
Though probably the most well-known source for resveratrol is red grapes (and thus red wine), this compound occurs in a handful of other foods — although certainly not in concentrations as great as found in red grapes. The following are the leading food sources of this polyphenol:
- Red grapes
- Red wine
- Dark chocolate
How Resveratrol Helps Limit Diabetes Symptoms
Resveratrol has emerged as one of the top natural compounds to combat diabetes and its complications. Resveratrol is not a prescribed, regulated pharmaceutical — it is a polyphenol compound available as a nutritional product. The question is, how does this antioxidant help to treat diabetes? There are a few ways that resveratrol is of benefit to anyone suffering with diabetes. Resveratrol:
- Lessens inflammation, a main contributor of some chronic diseases, including diabetes
- Triggers AMPK, a protein that helps your body metabolize glucose to help keep blood sugar lowered
- Reduces fasting glucose and insulin resistance
Resveratrol Is a Strong Antioxidant
Anytime oxygen combines with some kinds of molecules in your body the by-product can be the production of oxidizing compounds, or free radicals. A surplus of oxidants, or free radicals, can go beyond your body’s complex antioxidant system of defense and cause oxidative stress. This situation may dissolve cell tissue and lead to damage to DNA, leading to inflammation and lifelong conditions including cancer. And diabetes — Oxidative stress causes a number of the complications of diabetes.
Damage from free radicals, or oxidative stress, is largely held as a key factor in the start of insulin resistance. Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant that can protect your cells against oxidative stress. This compound has the ability to provide a hydrogen electron in order to neutralize free radicals, which molecular byproducts from common processes that take place in a person’s body or enter into the body from exterior sources, such as being subject to industrial chemicals, air pollutants, cigarette smoking, ozone, and X-rays.
Resveratrol Increases Sirt1 Enzyme Levels
Sirtuins are a group of longevity enzymes. Humans have seven different kinds of sirtuins, and they are of significance to clinicians because of their role in anti-aging. Of the several types of sirtuins, the enzyme referred to as Sirtuin 1, also called SIRT1, is the most well-studied.
The SIRT1 enzyme has been linked to improved insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, longevity, and DNA repair. This enzyme’s capacity to favorably affect insulin actions makes SIRT1 important to researchers who work in the field of diabetes. Of importance here is that resveratrol is understood to activate the SIRT1 enzyme.
Some research studies have reported a link between the Sirtuin 1 enzyme and the tasks of glucose metabolism and insulin secretion. Resveratrol given to research subjects brought about enhanced insulin sensitivity and lessened insulin resistance.
Taking Resveratrol Supplements
Resveratrol dietary supplements are usually sold in capsule or bulk powder form. Standard suggested dosage is 250 mg to 1,000 mg (1 gm) per day. The studies that included resveratrol supplements did not discover any type of undesirable side effects, even for studies where participants got resveratrol doses of more than 5 grams on a daily basis.
When side effects are reported the side effects are commonly relatively mild and only happen at very high dose amounts. Side effects then involved diarrhea, nausea, and other gastrointestinal problems.