Antioxidants Helps Lower Diabetes
Higher consumption of antioxidants in the diet in order to lower
the rate of diabetes should be made a public health priority,
according to a new study.
The findings of the study, published in the journal Nutrition,
Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases supports the view that
dietary antioxidants are associated with improved glycemic biomarkers
in healthy adults, as well as in diabetic patients.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately
150 million people have diabetes mellitus worldwide, and this
number may double by the year 2025 due to population growth, ageing,
unhealthy diet, obesity and sedentary lifestyle.
The researchers, based at the University of Athens, said recent
studies suggested that oxidative stress is related to diabetes,
possibly originating through increased free-radical production,
with the theory proposed that pancreatic cells are particularly
susceptible to reactive oxygen species, due to their low free-radical
Thus, by damaging mitochondria, oxidative stress could
induce apoptosis of pancreatic beta cells, blunt insulin secretion
and dysregulate glucose levels, they continued.
The Greek scientists also report that total dietary antioxidant
capacity has been found to be inversely related to markers of
inflammation, suggesting that inflammation and oxidative stress
And they explained that the hypothesis that a diet high in antioxidants
could be inversely related to the development of diabetes prompted
their decision to evaluate the relationship between glycemic indices
(glucose, insulin and insulin resistance) and dietary antioxidant
intake, in apparently healthy adults as well as in adults with
The authors said they based this study on a random sub-sample
from the well documented ATTICA study, with participants consisting
of 551 men and 467 women from all parts of the Attica region in
Greece. Complete nutritional and biochemical information was included,
Dietary habits were evaluated using a validated food-frequency
questionnaire, with participants reporting their daily or weekly
average intake of several food items including fruit, vegetables,
legumes, non-alcohol beverages, chocolate, honey, jam, nuts, rice,
pastas and grains.
The authors noted previous research suggesting that a diet rich
in antioxidant containing fruit and vegetables was associated
with a reduction of diabetes risk by 13 per cent.
Overall dietary habits were assessed using a composite index
that evaluates adherence to the Med diet, and the dietary antioxidant
capacity was measured by ferric-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP),
total radical-trapping antioxidant parameter (TRAP) and Trolox
equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC), they said.
The researchers said that participants were categorised as non-diabetic,
impaired fasting glucose (IFG) and diabetic and were also defined
for socio-demographic, lifestyle and health factors such as smoking,
exercise and hypertension. People with type 1 diabetes were not
included in the ATTICA study, they added.
The results indicated that higher total dietary antioxidant intake
is correlated with lower levels of glycemic indices in healthy
individuals, as well as in pre-diabetic and diabetic ones, and
the findings are an important consideration for public health
planners, claim the researchers.
And the scientists added that the observed, protective association
of dietary antioxidant intake to diabetes biomarkers was independent
of age, gender and physical activity status, but did not hold
in obese individuals.
The authors admit limitations in relation to the cross-sectional
nature of their study, and they stress that aetiologic, mechanistic
conclusions cannot be addressed effectively as a result.
They said that further research is required, with perhaps the
inclusion also of antioxidant supplement usage, in order to substantiate
causality between high antioxidant consumption and improved glycemic
biomarkers in the general population.
Source: Nutrition, Metablolism & Cardiovascular Diseases
February 24, 2010