Resveratrol, a compound found in red grape skins, is a well-known and powerful antioxidant, and a real anti-ageing superstar. It boosts brain power, protects your eyes and heart, and may even prevent cancer. I regularly recommend it to clients, especially those who have been diagnosed with cancer, and the results I’ve seen have turned me into a real resveratrol devotee.
Lately I’ve been delighted to find that some small trials have shown that resveratrol could benefit people with type 2 diabetes, reducing their insulin resistance and thereby lowering blood sugar levels.
In a newly published meta-analysis, researchers in China examined results from 11 clinical human trials. They concluded that resveratrol “significantly reduced fasting glucose, insulin, haemoglobin A1c and insulin resistance levels in participants with diabetes”.
More results are rolling in all the time, and they all point to one conclusion – that resveratrol could help people with type 2 diabetes cut down on— or even wave goodbye to— the drugs they depend upon to control their blood sugar.
Here we have a natural plant compound that appears to have the same effects as diabetes drugs, but without the risks and side effects that are often associated with them. If these results had come from trials for a conventional medication, you can bet that every doctor in the country would soon be offering it to their type 2 diabetes patients as a standard treatment. As it is, few doctors are likely to even be aware of this research, let alone to suggest that you try taking something that isn’t yet covered by their clinical treatment guidelines.
RESVERATROL VS. CONVENTIONAL MEDICATIONS
Conventional diabetes medications are laden with serious risks and side effects. Even metformin, which for a long time was the mainstay of conventional type 2 diabetes treatment, has now been shown to carry an elevated risk of heart failure in male patients. Other commonly prescribed diabetes drugs also come with increased risk of heart disease as a side effect – the last thing anyone already trying to manage a chronic health condition would want.
Resveratrol, on the other hand, appears to act in several different ways to protect against heart disease, and may be of particular benefit in preventing heart failure according to a recent review of research studies. It could also be unique among natural antioxidants in its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, and so extend its protective benefits the brain and nervous system.
In addition to its antidiabetic and cardioprotective properties, studies suggest that resveratrol could also:
- Prevent Alzheimer’s disease
- Lower blood pressure
- Protect against cancers and prevent them from spreading
- Reduce chronic inflammation (which underlies many degenerative diseases)
- Protect cells from free radical damage and increase their lifespan
HOW DO I TAKE IT?
Drinking red wine (in moderation, you party animals) is a great way to get some resveratrol. However, the amounts of resveratrol used in studies where it was shown to lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity were well above those that could be obtained from red wine or diet alone. To experience the maximum benefits from resveratrol, I suggest the following:
- If you enjoy the occasional glass of red wine, keep at it!
- For the teetotalers amongst us, you can get similar levels of resveratrol from unsweetened red grape juice.
- Eat blueberries! Resveratrol content is just one of the many goodies they have to offer.
- Snack on organic peanuts or peanut butter.
- A few squares of dark chocolate a day is a particularly tasty way to up your resveratrol intake.
- If you need help controlling your blood sugar levels, take a quality supplement of 500 mg of resveratrol daily, then talk to your doctor about reducing your diabetes medication.