We have already looked at the health benefits of resveratrol on heart disease and cancer. Today we’ll take a look at resveratrol and diabetes. We’ll learn how resveratrol impacts probably the most preventable chronic disease we know called type 2 diabetes. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are associated with many complications such as nephropathy (kidney disease), neuropathy (nerve disease), and retinopathy (a leading cause of blindness).
Type 2 diabetes occurs gradually (unlike type 1) taking years to fully manifest itself. So there’s plenty of time to take corrective action. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes increasingly resistant to insulin. This leads to elevated blood sugars which create havoc on our health. Type 2 diabetes typically occurs in overweight individuals. Unfortunately, more and more of us are becoming overweight and the incidence of type 2 diabetes continues to rise.
High blood sugar causes inflammation and generates an enormous amount of oxidative stress. Both of these lead to tissue damage and increase the odds of developing other chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer. Blood vessels injured by elevated blood sugar become stiff losing their ability to regulate blood flow contributing to heart disease and stroke.
Resveratrol and Diabetes: the Link Between Them
Most of the health benefits of resveratrol stem from its ability to activate SIRT-1 genes. Activation of SIRT-1 genes improves metabolic pathways that enables cells to use glucose and insulin more efficiently. This allows the body to function more effectively with less insulin and less sugar.
Activation of SIRT-1 genes also blocks cellular oxidative stress and inflammation. This helps minimize the many complications related to type 2 diabetes. In laboratory animals resveratrol has been shown to improve blood vessel function.
So far studies show resveratrol to slow the progression of kidney disease in diabetics. It’s also been show to improve blood vessel disease in animals lessening the risk of retinopathy.
Obviously, studies in humans need to be done. But, there’s a least enough evidence to suggest that we all should be sure to get more resveratrol through the foods we eat and drink: red wine, dark chocolate, berries, peanuts/pistachios, and red/purple grapes.
The best way to head off the complications of type 2 diabetes is not to get the disease. Eat low glycemic foods, get plenty of regular exercise, and achieve a healthy body composition. Consider resveratrol if you have diabetes.
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