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Diabetes: Red Wine or a Pill? You choose.

Prescription medications for the management of type 2 diabetes, while effective for many patients, have been fraught with side effects including weight gain that can make the disease worse given its link with obesity. Would it be possible to replace the pill with natural alternatives?

Diet and exercise has long been known to be a highly effective method to manage type 2 diabetes, giving some patients more benefit than typical prescription medications. Since the discovery of the “French paradox” in the early 1990′s that noted a low incidence of heart disease in France despite diets high in saturated fats (all those fabulous cheeses!), red wine has been studied for a variety of health benefits. Antioxidants such as resveratrol found in grape skins are being heralded as “anti-aging” agents.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that drinking red wine can cure type 2 diabetes, or any other disease, but a recent paper in the journal Food & Function shows that two glasses of wine contain more compounds that affect the same biochemical pathways as does the typical dose of a commonly used medication, Avandia:

I love this type of study!

The team tested the chemical composition of two white wines from Austria and 10 reds. In the most promising experiment, 100 milliliters of a 2003 Blaufränkisch contained four times the recommended daily dose of rosiglitazone, a commercially available drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and marketed as Avandia.

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