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Resveratrol: Another Tool for Managing Type 2 Diabetes 

Increasing rates of obesity and the aging of the population means more people living with type 2 diabetes. Smart choices, such as regular physical activity and a healthy diet, help keep the complications of this disease at bay, and now health experts have found that supplementing with resveratrol also may support living well with type 2 diabetes.

Moving toward better blood sugar control

Researchers invited 62 adults with type 2 diabetes to participate in a study on resveratrol, a nutrient found in grapes, wine, grape juice, peanuts, blueberries, bilberries, and cranberries. Study participants were prescribed oral hypoglycemic medications to help control blood sugar, and half were randomly selected to take 250 mg of resveratrol per day in addition to their diabetes medications.

Blood levels of hemoglobin A1c, a marker of blood sugar control (with lower levels indicating healthier blood sugar levels) were assessed at the start of the study and three months later. Other measures of health, including cholesterol levels and blood pressure, were tracked throughout the study.

After three months, hemoglobin A1c levels, total cholesterol levels, and blood pressure were significantly lower in those who took the medication plus a daily resveratrol supplement, compared with the people taking only oral hypoglycemic medications.

Finding blood sugar balance

This study found that a daily 250 mg resveratrol supplement improves blood sugar control and other measures of heart health in people with type 2 diabetes. The study is small, and it was not blinded—participants knew which people were taking the supplement. Still, it suggests that resveratrol may provide benefit to those living with type 2 diabetes. Read on for some tips and tricks on how to better manage your diabetes, with or without resveratrol:

  • Consult the pros. Resveratrol is considered safe for most people, but always talk to your healthcare provider before adding new dietary supplements into your self-care routine.
  • Track results. If you get the go-ahead from your doctor and decide to give resveratrol a try, keep careful notes of how your blood sugar levels change over time. If you’re going to spend your resources on a new dietary supplement, you’ll want to know whether or not it’s working for you.
  • Focus on health. Simply walking briskly for 30 minutes daily can make a real difference in blood sugar control, even if you don’t lose a single pound. Remember, it’s about your health, not your size.
  • Seek balance. When snacking, eat a mix of protein, healthy fat, and complex carbohydrates. For example, try low fat cottage cheese and fruit, Greek yogurt and whole grain cereal, hummus and veggies, a banana and peanut butter, an apple and almond butter, or hard boiled eggs and whole grain crackers.

(Nutr Res 2012;32:537–41)

Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.
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