diabetes treatment

A discovery regarding a combination of two compounds, found in separate fruit, may provide a new treatment for type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even cardiovascular disease.

The compounds were found in red grapes and oranges, and could be used to improve health and reduce the effects of metabolic conditions. However, just eating these fruit is not enough, and the compounds have to be actively combined together into a treatment.

The discovery was made at the University of Warwick, as a result of research led by Professor Paul Thornalley, and a collaboration with University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.

Thornally said: “This is an incredibly exciting development and could have a massive impact on our ability to treat these diseases. As well as helping to treat diabetes and heart disease it could defuse the obesity time bomb.”

The compounds in question are trans-resveratrol (tRES) and hesperetin (HESP), which are found in red grapes and oranges respectively.

Pharmaceutical level doses of the compounds together caused a decrease in blood glucose levels and insulin resistance, and improved the health of arteries.

tRES and HESP work by increasing levels of the protein glyoxalase 1 (Glo1) which helps to reduce levels of methylglyoxal (MG), one of the main contributors to sugar-based damage body wide. MG is also connected to insulin resistance, and associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Thirty-two people with a BMI of between 25 and 40 were given the compounds in a supplement form for eight weeks. They maintained their usual diet, which was monitored via questionnaires, while their blood sugar levels, artery health and other blood markers of metabolic conditions were measured.

Those with BMIs of over 27.5 were found to have decreased glucose levels, insulin was more effective in their body and they had healthier artery function, alongside an increase in Glo1. Placebos has no effect.

“Obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are at epidemic levels in Westernized countries. Glo1 deficiency has been identified as a driver of health problems in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said Professor Thornalley.

“Diabetic kidney disease will be the initial target to prove effective treatment for which we are currently seeking commercial investors and partners. Our new pharmaceutical is safe and expected to be an effective add-on treatment taken with current therapy.

“The key steps to discovery were to focus on increasing Glo1 and then to combine tRES and HESP together in the formulation for effective treatment.”

He added: “As well as the positive effects for the UHCW patients who took part in the trial, we hope this study will lead to new treatments to help patients with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases all over the world.”