A No Alcohol Berry Wine That Lowers Glucose

Many of us relish a glass or two of wine at parties or with dinner, particularly during the holidays, but wine’s effect on blood sugar can crimp our enjoyment.

Having an alcohol-free wine that also lowers glucose levels would be a welcome option for some wine drinkers, and scientists at the University of Illinois may have created it.

Berries and Blood Sugar

Since earlier studies showed that eating blueberries can lower high blood sugar in obese mice, the U of I researchers wondered whether a fermented, dealcoholized blueberry-blackberry drink would have a more significant glucose-lowering effect. They suspected it would after determining that when fermented at low temperatures, berries contain an increased anthocyanin concentration.

Anthocyanins are compounds found in the pigment of various fruits such as grapes, blueberries, and blackberries. These compounds are known to increase insulin sensitivity, lower blood glucose levels, and facilitate insulin secretion.

Fermented Berry Power

So, to test the therapeutic prowess of a non-alcoholic fermented berry drink, mice having diet-induced obesity and high blood sugar were given either:

  • A common diabetes medication called sitagliptin (brand name, Januvia).
  • A fermented berry beverage with a specific concentration of anthocyanins (0.1x, 1x, or 2x). (The alcohol removed from the beverage was replaced with water, and some of the sugars remaining after fermentation were also removed.)

The mice in each group were fed the same diet, with an identical calorie and sugar content.

All the mice enjoying the fermented beverage benefited from its blood glucose lowering effects. However, those imbibing the highest anthocyanin concentration had the best results, which were on par with those noted in the sitagliptin group—including no weight gain.

Researchers also found the anthocyanin-laced beverage improved glucose uptake into muscle tissues and other organs, and reduced the animals’ oxidative stress, and inflammation.

A Doable, Delicious Drink

The U of I scientists are hoping wineries notice their work. They feel a commercial, non-alcoholic, anthocyanin-rich black-and-blueberry wine is “perfectly doable,” would find a ready market, and might help people lower their dose of type 2 diabetes medication.

“There needs to be more studies to see how the anthocyanins work in the presence of medication...then maybe you could decrease the amount of the drug,” says Elvira de Mejia, a U of I food chemist. “We need to consider diet, exercise, lowering body weight, and all the different strategies that the American Association of Diabetes recommends, and maybe...with the approval of a physician, you could decrease the level of a drug to keep glucose under control.”

The investigators also insist that the berry beverage is delicious.

Since it’s conceivable that many people would rather enjoy a tasty wine-like beverage with dinner than take more medication, and there’s 100 million people on the planet with diabetes, the scientists might be right about their study’s commercial prospects. Maybe their “anthocya-wine” will become both a cause for celebration, and a means of celebrating. For now, it’s wait and see.

Source: Science Daily

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