Are Or­anges and Grapes Key to Fight­ing the Flab?

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Or­anges and grapes could hold the key to fight­ing the obe­sity cri­sis, it has emerged. Chem­i­cals in the two hum­ble fruits could also, when com­bined to­gether, help com­bat di­a­betes and heart disease, ex­perts have re­vealed. War­wick Univer­sity re­searchers have taken trans-resver­a­trol, a com­pound found in red grapes, and hes­peretin, a sub­stance in or­anges, and com­bined them in a pill.

That pill, sci­en­tists hope, could in the fu­ture of­fer a new treat­ment to fight the three killer dis­eases. Pro­fes­sor Paul Thor­nally, who led the re­search, 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 time­bomb.’ When given in tan­dem the two com­pounds acted to de­crease blood glu­cose, im­prove the ac­tion of in­sulin and im­prove the health of ar­ter­ies. The com­pounds work by in­creas­ing lev­els of a pro­tein called gly­ox­alase 1 (Glo1) , which neu­tralises the dam­ag­ing ef­fects of a sug­arderived com­pound, called methyl­gly­oxal (MG).MG is a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to the dam­ag­ing ef­fects of sugar. In­creased ac­cu­mu­la­tion of MG, as a re­sult of a high en­ergy diet, is a key driver of in­sulin re­sis­tance, which leads to type two di­a­betes. It can also dam­age blood ves­sels and im­pairs the way the body han­dles choles­terol, which is linked to in­creased risk of heart disease. Block­ing MG im­proved health in over­weight and obese peo­ple, and will likely help pa­tients with di­a­betes and high risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar disease too.

Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal doses for pa­tients with obe­sity, di­a­betes and high risk of heart disease could be given to pa­tients in cap­sule form. Thirty-two over­weight and obese peo­ple aged be­tween 18 and 80 years old, with a BMI be­tween 2540 were given the sup­ple­ment in cap­sule form once a day for eight weeks. They main­tained their usual diet which was mon­i­tored us­ing a ques­tion­naire and they were asked to con­tinue to take the same amount of ex­er­cise.

Changes to their sugar lev­els were checked, artery health mea­sured by artery wall flex­i­bil­ity and other as­sess­ments an­a­lysed us­ing blood tests. Highly over­weight sub­jects who had BMIs of over 27.5 with treat­ment dis­played in­creased Glo1 ac­tiv­ity, de­creased glu­cose lev­els, im­proved work­ing of in­sulin, im­proved artery func­tion and de­creased blood ves­sel in­flam­ma­tion. There was no ef­fect of placebo.

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