Red wine and tea may help regulate
blood sugar in patients with type II diabetes, according
to a study conducted by researchers at the University of
Massachusetts, Amherst and published in the journal of Food
"Red wine and tea contain natural
antioxidants that may slow the passage of glucose through
the small intestine and eventually into the bloodstream
and prevent this spike, which is an important step in managing
this disease." said Kalidas Shetty, co-author of the
Getting blood sugar under control is one
important goal in diabetes management to reduce the risk
of complications such as heart disease, high blood pressure,
and other damages to the eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood
Red Wine and Enzymes
Researchers found that red wine inhibited
a 100%, the enzyme responsible for triggering the absorption
of glucose by the small intestine. In comparison, white
wine inhibited the enzyme by 20%.
This enzyme is a target for current drugs
used to treat Type 2 diabetes.
Shetty and his team attributed the effect
to polyphenolics in red wine. "Our testing showed that
red wine contains roughly ten times more polyphenolics than
white wine," he added.
Tea and Enzymes
The researchers also tested four teas including
black, oolong, white and green tea. Water extracts of black
tea was found most effective in inhibiting the activity
of this enzyme, followed by white tea and oolong tea.
Wine and tea had no effect on the pancreatic
enzyme that breaks down starch. Patients can avoid side
effects of medication used to control blood sugar.
Shetty and his team at the department
of food science conducted the study as part of a larger
initiative to examine the benefits of a diverse diet filled
with fresh and healthy, locally available ingredients. Current
type II diabetes medication to regulate blood sugar has
side effects that include intestinal issues.
The medication induces improper regulation of pancreatic
enzymes, which may cause cramping, flatulence and diarrhea.
Shetty and fellow scientists Young-In Kwon and Emmanouil
Apostolidis said that alternative therapies, such as dietary
management, may offer a solution with no uncomfortable side
Other benefits of wine and tea
Polyphenolics in wine and tea protect against
additional complications of diabetes such as high blood
pressure and heart disease. The natural antioxidants in
wine and tea can neutralize free radicals, which are known
risk factors for heart disease, high blood pressure and
"These results provide strong evidence
for further studying the use of wine and tea to manage some
stages of type 2 diabetes using animal models and clinical
studies, and point to the importance of an antioxidant-rich
diet as part of an overall management strategy," said
Authors of the study issue the customary
warning that more research is required before one can come
to an un-debatable conclusion.
Shetty says that red wine as a type II
diabetes therapy is still in the distant future as it is
difficult to create a daily dosage recommendation for the
general population based on one study. "I would not
suggest drinking red wine to solve a problem all on its
own," he said. "I would suggest one to two glasses
of red wine daily plus four to five glasses of tea and a
range of choices of whole foods," in order to consume
optimal levels of phenols.