Berry Wine Might Aid Diabetics

August 22, 2012

2 Min Read
Berry Wine Might Aid Diabetics

URBANA, Ill.According to a press release issued by the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, a dealcoholized fruit beverage made from fermented blueberries and blackberries could hold promise for decreasing blood sugar levels in diabetics. In evaluating the bioactive compounds of Illinois blueberry and blackberry wines, the scientists found compounds that inhibit enzymes responsible for carbohydrate absorption and assimilation, which could help people with diabetes decrease their blood sugar. Results from this research were published in the Jan. 2012 issue of the Journal of Food Science (Comparison of Chemical Composition and Antioxidant Capacity of Commercially Available Blueberry and Blackberry Wines in Illinois).

Were thinking about a dealcoholized fermented fruit beverage that would optimize the inhibition of the alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase enzymes and also make use of the wines other healthful bioactive components, said Elvira de Mejia, professor, food chemistry and food toxicology, Division of Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois and a researcher on this project, along with graduate student Michelle Johnson.

The researchers evaluated the nutritional value of 19 Illinois wines, deciding on a blueberry-blackberry blend for maximum effectiveness. In the in vitro study, they compared the anti-carb effects of the alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase enzymes with acarbose, an anti-diabetes drug. The carb-degrading enzymes were inhibited in a range of 91.8% for alpha-amylase compared to acarbose, and 103.2% for alpha-glucosidase compared to acarbose, notes de Mejia.

The study is the first to assess the effect of berry fermentation at different temperatures on these carb-inhibiting enzymes. Results showed that the berry wine retained the ability to degrade the enzymes at both room and cold (4°C) temperatures.

In a second study, Johnson quantified the antioxidant, polyphenol and anthocyanin content of blueberry and blackberry wines. Her proposed blend contains an abundance of these bioactive compounds, which add to its healthful properties.

The researchers are particularly interested in the ability of anthocyanins to reduce inflammation, which contributes to the development of many chronic illnesses, including cancer, metabolic disease, and cardiovascular disease. They are experimenting with the berries effects on inflammatory cells and have found that anthocyanins reduce markers associated with the inflammatory response.

Preliminary studies have indicated that anthocyanins may have a positive effect on cognition and overall brain health, while protecting against some of the effects of aging, such as Alzheimers disease and memory loss, said de Mejia. These berries have some very intriguing components. Although the researchers are targeting a nonalcoholic wine, these bioactive ingredients could also be added to any prepared beverage to give it color, flavor and nutritional properties, making them useful to the food industry, she said.

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