T1D is usually treated by insulin injections that act as a substitute for the natural insulin deficiency within the body. In T1D activated T-lymphocytes and monocytes infiltrate the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas, causing a general inflammation reaction that leads to a progressive destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells. Therapies that could slow or decrease the autoimmune inflammatory process should be able to slow the progress of this condition. However up to now, no therapy has proven to be effective in slowing or halting the disease’s progression2.
A new study appearing in the American Society for Nutrition journal showed that daily consumption of grape powder could protect the pancreas against the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells. Due to their high sugar content of grapes, only a precisely defined quantity of freeze-dried grape powder was given to the mice, as a larger quantity would probably have negative consequences on diabetic individuals. Grapes are naturally rich sources of polyphenols and vitamin A, two known modulators of immune function. Histological analysis showed that the pancreas of mice treated with grape powder was much less infiltrated by immune cells, actually leading to a longer life without T1D symptoms. Also, the grape diet improved the antioxidant capacity of the blood resulting in a reduction in oxidative stress within the islets of Langerhans, further protecting pancreas cells from apoptosis.
1. “Type 1 Diabetes”. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-1/ Retrieved 2015-10-28..
2. luestone JA, Herold K, Eisenbarth G (2010). “Genetics, pathogenesis and clinical interventions in type 1 diabetes”. Nature 464 (7293): 1293–1300. Bibcode:2010Natur.464.1293B. doi:10.1038/nature08933. PMID 20432533
3. Zunino, Susan J.; Storms, David H.; Stephensen, Charles B. (2007-05-01). “Diets Rich in Polyphenols and Vitamin A Inhibit the Development of Type I Autoimmune Diabetes in Nonobese Diabetic Mice”. The Journal of Nutrition 137 (5):
1216–1221. ISSN 0022-3166. PMID 17449584.
Dr. Claudio Butticè, PharmD.