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Resistant Starch Improves Insulin Sensitivity

BRIDGEWATER, N.J.—A new study shows that low doses of Hi-maize resistant starch could improve insulin sensitivity in men at risk for prediabetes, a non-disease state where blood sugar (glucose) levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.  The study was underwritten by National Starch LLC, a business unit of Corn Products International.

Results of the study, presented at Experimental Biology 2011 by study leader Kevin C. Maki, Ph.D. of Biofortis-Provident Clinical Research, suggest that regular dietary consumption of modest levels of Hi-maize resistant starch can help those at risk for prediabetes maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

The study was a randomized, double-blind, controlled, crossover trial consisting of three 4-week treatment periods, separated by 3-week washouts. Participants were overweight and obese men and women, 18 to 69 years of age, with elevated waist circumference, which is a marker for insulin sensitivity. Male participants showed a 72.7% improvement in insulin sensitivity after receiving a 30 gram per day dose of resistant starch from Hi-maize 260, and a 56.5% improvement in insulin sensitivity from a 15 gram per day dose. There was no improvement in insulin sensitivity in overweight women. Researchers say women were perhaps less insulin-resistant at baseline, and changes over the menstrual cycle may have obscured the effects.

According to Dr. Christine Pelkman, Clinical Research Manager for National Starch and co-author on the study: “There is good evidence that minimal weight loss and increased physical activity can help to preserve healthy blood sugar levels. But in the United States, we seem to be moving in the opposite direction. The number of overweight and obese people in this country is increasing, and even when people are diagnosed with prediabetes, the percentage of people who commit to permanent lifestyle change is relatively low. With the costs in human suffering and medical treatment associated with high blood sugar levels, we should be doing everything we can to meet this burgeoning challenge."

Hi-maize resistant starch is a natural bioactive ingredient isolated from a special hybrid of corn that is naturally high in amylose content. Resistant starch resists digestion in the small intestine and reaches the large intestine.

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