Grape Skin Extract May Soon Be the Answer to Treating Diabetes

A preliminary study conducted by researchers at Wayne State University demonstrated that grape skin extract (GSE) exerts a novel inhibitory activity on hyperglycemia and could be developed and used to aid in diabetes management.

Funding provided by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health, this $2.1 million transitional study will provide insights into the novel inhibitory action of GSE on postprandial hyperglycemia (elevated sugar levels after meals) and will also provide preclinical data in support of the effectiveness and safety of GSE and its components in potential prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes.

“It is hopeful that our research may eventually lead to the successful development of a safe, targeted nutritional intervention to support diabetes prevention and treatment,” said Kequan Zhou, Ph.D., assistant professor of food and nutrition science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and lead investigator on the grant. “Our study will provide important pre-clinical data regarding the anti-diabetic mechanisms, biological efficacy and safety of GSE that should facilitate eventual translation into future clinical studies to assess GSE and its components as a safe, low-cost and evidence-based nutritional intervention for diabetes.”

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. In addition, some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes, including African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, and the elderly. “Type 2 diabetes is one of the major chronic diseases of modern societies,” said Gloria Heppner, Ph.D., associate vice president for research at Wayne State University. “It threatens the health of a variety of populations, with growing numbers of young people being diagnosed with the disease every day.

The diabetes rate in the United States nearly doubled in the past 10 years. Approximately 26 million Americans are now classified as diabetic, stressing an urgent need for safe and effective complementary strategies to enhance the existing conventional treatment for diabetes.

“Dr. Zhou’s study offers great hope for a potential treatment that is natural and without harmful side effects for the many people inflicted with type 2 diabetes,” Heppner said.

New Herbs Containing Diabetes Fighting Chemicals Discovered

Researchers at the University of Illinois tested four different herbs, either grown in a greenhouse or dried commercial versions, to see if they interfere with an enzyme involved in Type 2 diabetes.

Commercial extracts of Greek oregano, Mexican oregano and rosemary were better inhibitors of the enzyme than greenhouse-grown herbs, the researchers found. Diabetes-fighting chemicals were found in oregano and rosemary.

The study appears in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

The researchers said the results are promising, but more studies should be completed to understand how exactly the herbs can help those with diabetes.