Resveratrol Makes Gut Bugs Produce Antidiabetic Compounds

| March 29, 2017

As I mentioned in an earlier post here, the bacteria we carry in our gut play a crucial role in our metabolic health. The beneficial kinds could lower the risk of type 1 diabetes, while helping to prevent chronic inflammation and insulin resistance, regulate blood sugar levels and support healthy immune function.

Kinds of plant fibre called prebiotics are well-known for helping our beneficial bacteria to grow. But the red grape compound resveratrol could go a step further by stimulating bacteria to produce antidiabetic compounds, according to new research at the University of Alberta, Canada.

Resveratrol has already been found in several clinical studies to significantly reduce fasting glucose, insulin, HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin) and insulin resistance levels in people with diabetes, as I explained here. But the amount of resveratrol found in the blood of these patients was very low, leaving scientists scratching their heads over how it works in the body.

The new study found that, as expected, obese mice fed resveratrol for six weeks had lower blood sugar levels and improved glucose tolerance. They also had changes in the make-up of their gut bacteria. In a second experiment, the scientists fed resveratrol to healthy, normal-weight mice for 8 weeks. They then took faecal material from those mice and transplanted it into the colons of obese mice with insulin resistance.

The results from these faecal transplants were dramatic, bringing the blood sugar levels of the ‘prediabetic’ mice down to normal within two weeks. The scientists believe that resveratrol causes changes in gut bacteria that lead to them producing one or more antidiabetic compounds that are more potent and efficacious than resveratrol itself. The next step will be to identify the compounds involved and the strains of bacteria that produce them.

For now, though, taking a supplement of resveratrol and looking after your gut bacteria by following a healthy diet – low in sugar and high in prebiotic fibre – seems like a good way to avoid, or reduce your reliance on, antidiabetic medication. In my next blog post, I’ll be looking into surprising new findings about gluten in the diet and the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Wishing you the best of health,

Martin Hum
PhD DHD Nutritionist
for Real Diabetes Truth

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1. Sung MM, Kim TT, Denou E et al. Improved glucose homeostasis in obese mice treated with resveratrol is associated with alterations in the gut microbiome. Diabetes. 2017; 66(2):418-425.

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