Red Wine Compound May Curb Diabetes

Compound, Called Resveratrol, Counters Insulin Resistance in Lab Tests

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on October 02, 2007
From the WebMD Archives

Oct. 2, 2007 -- Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine, may counter type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, a new study shows.

Insulin is a hormone that controls blood sugar. When the body becomes less sensitive to insulin, that's called insulin resistance, a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Resveratrol curbs insulin resistance in mice, Chinese scientists report.

They included Cheng Sun and Qiwei Zhai of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai.

If the findings apply to people, it might be possible to create new resveratrol drugs that could be a "valuable new strategy for treating insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes," write the researchers.

But don't count on a glass of wine to do the same thing. It would take quite a bit of wine to reach the same level of resveratrol.

"According to our findings, people might need to drink about three liters of red wine each day to get sufficient resveratrol -- about 15 milligrams -- for its biological effects," Zhai says in a news release.

The researchers aren't recommending that anyone rely on wine to help their insulin sensitivity.

Resveratrol Research

Resveratrol is found in grapes (especially in red wine), raspberries, peanuts, and other plants that use resveratrol to defend against threats such as disease.

Sun's team found that insulin-resistant mice become more sensitive to insulin when given resveratrol.

How does that work? The scientists' experiments with cells in test tubes show that resveratrol spurs a gene called SIRT1 to become more active, boosting insulin sensitivity.

The findings appear in October's edition of the journal Cell Metabolism.

Show Sources

SOURCES: Sun, C. Cell Metabolism, October 2007; vol 6: pp 307-319. Zabolotny, J. Cell Metabolism, October 2007; vol 6: pp 247-249. News release, Cell Press. National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet: "Red Wine and Cancer Prevention."

© 2007 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info