Diabetes: The alcoholic drink that lowers blood sugar by ‘stopping its absorption’

Diabetes: The alcoholic drink that lowers blood sugar by ‘stopping its absorption’

19/06/2022

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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Type 2 diabetes usually means a huge lifestyle change for those affected. It occurs when the pancreas can’t make enough insulin, or the insulin it is producing can’t work properly. This causes blood sugar levels to rise.

High blood sugar – or hyperglycaemia – can have dangerous results if untreated, and can damage parts of the body including feet, eyes and blood vessels – putting the person at risk of heart attack or stroke.

As a result, finding ways to reduce blood sugar levels can help.

A study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts, and referenced by Diabetes.co.uk has shown that “red wine lowers blood sugars by stopping the intestines absorbing glucose”.

Academics took the principle that a-amylase and a-glucosidase inhibitors, found in some plant-based foods, can effectively manage hyperglycaemia by “starch breakdown and intestinal glucose absorption”.

To test this they used four types of red and white wines, as well as four different types of tea.

Samples of the drinks were then analysed in a lab.

The report, which was published in the Journal of Food Biochemistry, says: “All the randomly selected red wines had significant a-glucosidase inhibitory activity compared to white wine.

“The a-glucosidase inhibitory activity of the tea and wines correlated to the phenolic content, antioxidant activity and phenolic profile of the extracts.

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“Further, these extracts had less or no a-amylase inhibitory activity, indicating potential to overcome the side effects of undigested starch.

“This research has relevance for managing hyperglycaemia and related oxidation-linked dysfunction and concurrently reducing problems of undigested starch.”

It concludes: “Dietary management of type 2 diabetes by consuming plant-based foods and their products could be a more effective strategy because of likelihood of high compliance and absence of side effects.

“In addition, many bioactive components in the profile of wine and tea can be potential hurdles to counter the oxidative-linked complications of this major chronic disease.”

However, it is recommended to only drink wine – and any alcohol – in moderation.

Diabetes.co.uk says: “People with diabetes need to be extra careful with alcohol,” suggesting “if your diabetes is already well under control, a moderate amount of alcohol may be fine either before, during or soon after a meal”.

You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you:

  • are over 40 (or 25 for south Asian people)
  • have a close relative with diabetes (such as a parent, brother or sister)
  • are overweight or obese
  • are of Asian, African-Caribbean or black African origin (even if you were born in the UK)

“Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising,” the NHS explains.

“This is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.”

However, symptoms can include:

  • peeing more than usual, particularly at night
  • feeling thirsty all the time
  • feeling very tired
  • losing weight without trying to
  • itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
  • cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
  • blurred vision

If you have any of the symptoms or are at high risk of type 2 diabetes the NHS recommends seeing your GP.

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