Antioxidant Rich Foods Improves Insulin Resistance

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD), insulin resistance is a condition in which the pancreas eventually can’t keep up with the body’s demand for insulin (a hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy). Eventually, an excess of glucose builds up in the bloodstream — and that sets the stage for type 2 diabetes.

New research just presented at the Endocrine Society’s 92nd Annual Meeting, held in San Diego, shows that natural antioxidants in the diet can be a powerful way to improve insulin resistance — even in people who are obese and suffering from metabolic syndrome. A precursor of diabetes associated with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions (including high blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels) that raise the risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as diabetes.

“The beneficial effects of antioxidants are known, but we have revealed for the first time one of their biological bases of action — improving hormonal action in obese subjects with the metabolic syndrome,” lead researcher Antonio Mancini, MD, an endocrinology researcher at Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, Italy, said in a statement to the media.

Although the researchers did not discuss the possibility, the ability of the high antioxidant diet to greatly improve insulin resistance without any medication is a hopeful indication that diets rich in natural antioxidants alone may help many people faced with this pre-diabetic problem who can not take — or don’t want to take — the drug metformin. The medication’s most common side effects (which occur in one out of every three patients) are nausea, vomiting, gas, bloating, diarrhea and loss of appetite.

Dr. Mancini pointed out that there’s evidence oxidative stress, which can result in damage to blood particles and cells, plays a role in the metabolic syndrome. And previous research has shown that antioxidants can prevent oxidative damage to cells and sometimes even repair damage. Antioxidants, which are found naturally in many foods including fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, include vitamins E and C, selenium and carotenoids, such as beta-carotene.

Source: Natural News, July 12, 2010

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