Pharmaceutical doses of two compounds found in oranges and red grapes may improve the heath of diabetic patients and decrease obesity and heart disease, according to the study “Improved glycemic control and vascular function in overweight and obese subjects by glyoxalase 1 inducer formulation“, published in the May issue of Diabetes.
Methylglyoxal (MG) is a damaging sugar-derived compound that accounts for the majority of damaging sugar effects. Sugar-rich diets lead to MG accumulation, inducing insulin resistance, blood vessel damage, and defective control of cholesterol levels – all which increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Because Glyoxalase 1 (Glo1) is a protein in the body known to neutralize MG, the research team led by professor Paul Thornalley, of Systems Biology at Warwick Medical School, screened compounds found in normal diets to identify specific compounds that could induced Glo1 activity. The team detected two specific compounds, hesperetin (HESP) commonly found in oranges, and trans-resveratrol (tRES) found in red grapes, that acted as ‘Glo1 inducers’ in cell culture.
“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,” Thornalley said in a press release.
In collaboration with researchers at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, the combined pharmceutical administration of both compounds was evaluated in a placebo-controlled clinical trial followed by accessments of changes in sugar levels and artery health.
The study enrolled 32 overweight and obese patients, ages 18 – 80 with body mass index (BMI) between 25-40. Patients were asked to maintain their usual diet and physical activity, and use a dietary questionnaire to monitor food intake. Participants were given the supplement in capsule form, once a day, for eight weeks.
The investigators found that the tRES-HESP formulation induced increased activity of Glo1, decreased glucose levels, increased insulin resistance, lessened blood vessel inflammation, and improved artery function. The results suggested that pharmaceutical doses of tRES-HESP combination may be given to patients with diabetes, obesity, or at high risk of heart disease.
“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,” Thornalley said.