Diabetes: Red Wine or a Pill? You choose.



Prescription medications for the management of type 2 diabetes, while effective for many patients, have been fraught with side effects including weight gain that can make the disease worse given its link with obesity. Would it be possible to replace the pill with natural alternatives?

Diet and exercise has long been known to be a highly effective method to manage type 2 diabetes, giving some patients more benefit than typical prescription medications. Since the discovery of the "French paradox" in the early 1990's that noted a low incidence of heart disease in France despite diets high in saturated fats (all those fabulous cheeses!), red wine has been studied for a variety of health benefits. Antioxidants such as resveratrol found in grape skins are being heralded as "anti-aging" agents.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that drinking red wine can cure type 2 diabetes, or any other disease, but a recent paper in the journal Food & Function shows that two glasses of wine contain more compounds that affect the same biochemical pathways as does the typical dose of a commonly used medication, Avandia:

I love this type of study!

The team tested the chemical composition of two white wines from Austria and 10 reds. In the most promising experiment, 100 milliliters of a 2003 Blaufränkisch contained four times the recommended daily dose of rosiglitazone, a commercially available drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and marketed as Avandia.

The Austrian researchers add a note that is both cautionary and promising:

A drawback to red wine consumption, which must be taken into account for type 2 diabetes and obesity patients, is their comparatively high sugar and alcohol content.
This has been frequently overlooked because moderate wine consumption also correlates with lower body weight compared with non-wine consumers. The four-year SWAN study clearly showed that consuming a glass of wine a day reduces metabolic syndrome.{4} A glass of wine approximately corresponds to 10 g alcohol. Reduced waist circumference, higher HDL levels, and lower triglyceride levels have been correlated with moderate wine consumption.{48,49}

Ultimately, health benefits are all about balance. Perhaps something as simple as substituting those "big gulp" sodas with a glass of wine or two at dinner could be a first step towards reversing the epidemic of type 2 diabetes and obesity that is spreading globally.

In vino veritas!

You can read the full paper here.

More like this

How does this compare to the active ingredient in Methformin?
Seeing that the 'dose' in a glass of wine can be higher then what is normally given to a diabetic what risks on overdosing are there?

By who Cares (not verified) on 02 Feb 2011 #permalink

They didn't find that wine contains rosiglitazone.

They found that wine contains other compounds which bind to PPAR-gamma (the major active site of rosi...). They used a questionable model to infer that the amount of these compounds in a glass of wine is in some sense equivalent to 2 - 18 mg of rosi... There's a huge difference between "contains rosiglitazone" and "contains a poorly studied molecule that binds to the same receptor as rosiglitazone."

Moreover, binding isn't the same as having an agonist action, and the study in question didn't address important pharmacology issues such as bioavailability, tissue distribution, half-life. The author's model to convert ligand content in wine into equivalent rosi... doses is based on simply multiplying IC50 values and is naive.

I think the findings are at best preliminary, and definitely over-interpreted.

Anyways, the study doesn't even make sense. Nobody ever claimed that red wine improves glucose control in type II diabetes (it doesn't). And rosi... is associated with increased MI risk compared to placebo treatment, in diabetes trials (odds ratio: 1.43, Nissen 2007 NEJM). Where's the health benefit in that? Red wine supposedly (based on epidemiology) lowers MI risk. If it really acted like rosi... it would go the other way.

As was once said, the authors are working in the rosy-glasses-zone.

Maybe the problem is that they were studying red wine, rather than pink (rose)

disclaimer: in the remote past I did a little PPAR-gamma agonist research. not very much, and not very important, but still...

An advantage to wine is that we have a few millennia of history of long-term use, so its ills and side-effects are well-known.

You are absolutely correct. The text I quoted is an over-interpretation stating that red wine literally contains rosiglitazone. I have revised my text to reflect this:

...two glasses of wine contain more compounds that affect the same biochemical pathways as does the typical dose of a commonly used medication, Avandia:

Thank you for your astute comment.

I choose natural.

Type II diabetes can be cured with exercies, diet, and natural remedies. It has been done before.

My personal favorite is Human Growth Hormone. Even if the Fascist Drug Administration or your own "doctor" refuses to give it to you, you can go to GNC or a host of other places and get HGH releasers. It takes more time to work, but the end results are worth it in the end. As the leftists lenninists so often say "The ends justify the means".

A few examples include

Chromium Picolinate
Chromium improves glucose tolerance and balances blood-sugar levels. (Chromium GTF is recommended.) Chromium Picolinate is an essential trace mineral that works with insulin to support healthy blood glucose levels and plays an important role in the proper utilization of protein, fat and carbohydrates. It supports healthy blood sugar levels.

Gymnema sylvestre
Gymnema improves insulin production in the pancreas, as well as insulinâs ability to lower blood-sugar levels. It supports healthy glucose metabolism by mediation of insulin release and activity and enhancement of healthy pancreatic function. Gymnema Sylvestre extract may help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. It happens to be a first-rate warrior against diabetes. Because gymnema sylvestre is known to lower levels of blood sugar, individuals who have diabetes should use it with caution!

Alpha Lipoic acid
Alpha Lipoic acid improves insulin sensitivity and reduces the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. Treats peripheral nerve damage in diabetics, helps control glucose levels.

Vanadyl sulfate (Vanadium)
It improves glucose tolerance in people with type 2 diabetes. Vanadyl sulfate has been shown to help maintain blood-sugar levels already in the normal range by its insulin-like effects in the liver, skeletal muscle, and adipose tissue, by activating glucose transport at the cellular level. Aids insulinâs ability to move glucose into cells. Higher dosages should be under the supervision of a doctor (above 200 mg).

Cinnamon extract
Cinnamon improves insulin sensitivity and utilization. Cinnamon can lower blood sugar by mimicking insulin, activating insulin receptors and working with insulin in the cells to reduce blood sugar by up to 20%.

Super Omega 3, 6 & 9
Essential fatty acids are needed for proper insulin function, and they support nerve health.

By creating a thick gel, Glucomannan delays gastric emptying and slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream, which helps to lower levels of insulin and blood glucose. Glucomannan can greatly benefit individuals with metabolic syndrome or diabetes.

Decreases and stabilizes blood sugar levels, enhances immunity, and improves circulation.

Vitamin B12
It is needed to prevent diabetic neuropathy.

Coenzyme Q10
Improves circulation and stabilizes blood sugar.

Needed for repair of the pancreas. It is a cofactor in key enzymes of glucose metabolism.

Maitake Extract
Helps to normalize blood sugar levels.

By Doctor I.M. Smart (not verified) on 02 Feb 2011 #permalink

Alcohol is poison.

Would it be possible to replace the pill with natural alternatives?

Who cares whether it's "all natural"? I just care that it's more effective and safer. "All natural" has nothing to do with it.

We really need to start getting away from the idea that there is a pill that will cure what ails you. There are so many drugs that have adverse side effects that will cause a multitude of complications that a pill should be considered the last line of defense, not the first.

BTW, a number of edible plants may act as moderate SPPARgMS activators or antagonists, so under this terms the finding cannot be considered a complete novelty, too (e.g. Mueller et al., 2009, Food Chemistry). From a nutritional standpoint, however, the selective influence of dietary phytochemicals on PPARg may be a factor involved in the protection against type-2 diabetes obtained by means of vegetarian diets (e.g. Tonstad et al., 2009, Care Diebetes J.)

Excellent comment. I appreciate the literature references.

For those who do not believe that a glass of red wine or two could work in lowering one's blood sugar... You just might want to try it out for yourself.

So, it's a Saturday night, doctors offices are not open & I don't want to pay emergancy room bills if I can help it. Long story short, I came to the realization today, after a very serious episode this morning, that I've been experiencing high blood sugar levels (along with blurred/double vision). It's then 11:45 pm & my levels spike to 174 (4 hrs after eating). I feel like doodoo & my head's spaced (still no where as major a reaction as this morning tho').... I gotta do SOMEthing. I read about the red wine & I was desperate, so I tried it.... It simply worked - And, I am thankful :)
Oh, and no worries. I have no intension of taking up alcoholism as a hobby & am calling a doctor on Monday.

By Michelle G (not verified) on 20 Jul 2013 #permalink

So sorry.... I forgot to give you the numbers of my blood glucose reading one hour after drinking the red wine.

I started at 174 and ended the hour at 109. Feeling sooo much better too. SOME of the Edema in my hands is still present, but doing much better than before all the way around.

By Michelle G (not verified) on 20 Jul 2013 #permalink