The University of Warwick researchers found that a combination of two compounds found in red grapes and oranges could be used to improve the health of people with diabetes, and reduce cases of obesity and heart disease.
Paul Thornalley, who led the research, said that this is an incredibly exciting development and could have a massive impact on their ability to treat these diseases. As well as helping to treat diabetes and heart disease it could defuse the obesity time bomb.
The team studied two compounds found in fruits but not usually found together. The compounds are trans-resveratrol (tRES), found in red grapes, and hesperetin (HESP), found in oranges. When given jointly at pharmaceutical doses the compounds acted in tandem to decrease blood glucose, improve the action of insulin and improve the health of arteries.
The compounds act by increasing a protein called glyoxalase 1 (Glo1) in the body which neutralises a damaging sugar-derived compound called methylglyoxal (MG).
Thirty-two overweight and obese people within the 18-80 age range, who had a BMI between 25 – 40, took part in the trial.
He noted, “As exciting as our breakthrough is it is important to stress that physical activity, diet, other lifestyle factors and current treatments should be adhered to.”
Thornalley and his team are now hoping manufacturers will want to explore the use of the compound as pharmaceutical products.
The study appears in the journal Diabetes.