Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chemicals found in cherries may help fight diabetes

21.12.2004


Perhaps George Washington wouldn’t have chopped down his father’s cherry tree if he knew what chemists now know. They have identified a group of naturally occurring chemicals abundant in cherries that could help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. In early laboratory studies using animal pancreatic cells, the chemicals, called anthocyanins, increased insulin production by 50 percent, according to a peer-reviewed study scheduled to appear in the Jan. 5 issue of the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. ACS is the world’s largest scientific society.



Anthocyanins are a class of plant pigments responsible for the color of many fruits, including cherries. They also are potent antioxidants, highly active chemicals that have been increasingly associated with a variety of health benefits, including protection against heart disease and cancer. "It is possible that consumption of cherries and other fruits containing these compounds [anthocyanins] could have a significant impact on insulin levels in humans," says study leader Muralee Nair, Ph.D., a natural products chemist at Michigan State University in East Lansing. "We’re excited with the laboratory results so far, but more studies are needed." Michigan is the top cherry producing state in the nation.

Until human studies are done on cherry anthocyanins, those with diabetes should continue following their doctor’s treatment recommendations, including any medicine prescribed, and monitor their insulin carefully, the researcher says. The compounds show promise for both the prevention of type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes, the most common type, and for helping control glucose levels in those who already have diabetes, he adds.


While fresh cherries and fruits containing these anthocyanins are readily available, medicinal products may be the most efficient way to provide the beneficial compounds, according to Nair. It’s possible that anthocyanins eventually could be incorporated into new products, such as pills or specialty juices that people could take to help treat diabetes. Such disease-specific products may take several more years to develop, he notes.

Scientists in Nair’s laboratory have even developed a unique process, patented by the university, for removing sugar from fruit extracts that contain anthocyanins. This could lead to "sugar-free" medicinal products for people with diabetes.

The current study, partially funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, involved tart cherries (also known as sour cherries or pie cherries), a popular variety in the United States, and the Cornelian cherry, which is widely consumed in Europe. Nair and his associates, B. Jayaprakasam, Ph.D., L.K. Olson, Ph.D., and graduate student S. K. Vareed, tested several types of anthocyanins extracted from these cherries against mouse pancreatic-beta cells, which normally produce insulin, in the presence of high concentrations of glucose.

Insulin is the protein produced by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels. Compared to cells that were not exposed to anthocyanins, exposed cells were associated with a 50 percent increase in insulin levels, the researchers say. The mechanism of action by which these anthocyanins boost insulin production is not known, Nair says.

Nair and his colleagues are currently feeding anthocyanins to a group of obese, diabetic mice to determine how the chemicals influence insulin levels in live subjects. Results of these tests are not yet available.

Although other fruits, including red grapes, strawberries and blueberries, also contain anthocyanins, cherries appear to be the most promising source of these compounds on the basis of serving size, according to the researcher. The compounds are found in both sweet and sour (tart) cherry varieties.

The potential benefits of cherries extend beyond diabetes. Previous studies by the researcher found that certain anthocyanins isolated from cherries have anti-inflammatory properties and may be useful in fighting arthritis. Nair’s colleagues have found that cherries also may help fight colon cancer.

But people with diabetes are encouraged to use caution when it comes to consuming maraschino cherries, the bright red candied version that adorns ice cream and cocktails, Nair points out. Many of the beneficial cherry pigments that were present in the fresh fruit have been removed during processing, replaced with food coloring, and extra sugar has been added.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization, chartered by the U.S. Congress, with a multidisciplinary membership of more than 159,000 chemists and chemical engineers. It publishes numerous scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>