Diabetes and Chocolate
Polyphenols from cocoa (used to make chocolate) may offer diabetes benefits, a new study reports.
Researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University and the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan investigated the effects of dietary supplementation with cacao liquor proanthocyanidins (CLPr) on blood glucose levels in obese diabetic mice.
Researchers explained that effective approaches are needed to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus, which has been increasing in developed countries. The present study examined whether dietary supplementation with CLPr may prevent elevation of blood glucose levels in mice with diabetes mellitus and obesity.
Diabetic obese mice and control mice were fed a diet containing 0 percent CLPr, 0.5 percent CLPr or 1.0 percent CLPr from age three weeks to age six weeks. Levels of blood glucose were measured at four and five weeks of age. The animals were sacrificed and the levels of blood glucose and fructosamine were measured at six weeks of age.
The study found that the levels of blood glucose and fructosamine were higher in the db/db mice than in the db/+m mice fed a diet containing 0 percent, 0.5 percent or 1.0 percent CLPr (72 percent total polyphenols). In the db/+m mice, the levels of blood glucose or fructosamine were not significantly different across animals fed 0 percent CLPr, 0.5 percent CLPr and 1.0 percent CLPr. In the db/db mice, however, a diet containing 0.5 percent or 1.0 percent CLPr decreased the levels of blood glucose and fructosamine compared with that containing 0 percent CLPr without significant effects on body weights or food consumption.
The proanthocyanidins reduced blood glucose levels in a dose-dependent manner. Indeed, blood glucose levels after four and five weeks of age, and of fructosamine at six weeks of age were significantly lower than in those fed 0 percent CLPr AIN-93 diet. Body weights and food consumption did not differ significantly among the groups. The 1.0 percent dose used in this study would be equivalent to a daily polyphenol intake of five grams for a human, or about 2.5 kilograms of normal chocolate, report researchers. However, studies using flavonol-rich dark chocolate have reported positive effects with intakes of only 100 grams of dark chocolate per day, providing a flavonol dose of 88 milligrams.
Further research is needed to investigate if such results can be repeated in humans, and what mechanism is responsible for these apparent benefits.
Researchers concluded that dietary supplementation with CLPr may dose-dependently prevent the development of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) in diabetic obese mice. The dietary intake of food or drinks produced from cacao beans might be beneficial in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Integrative therapies with good scientific evidence in the treatment of diabetes include beta-glucan, bitter melon, ginseng, gymnema and stevia.
1.Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. http://www.naturalstandard.com/ Copyright © 2007.
2.Tomaru M, Takano H, Osakabe N, et al. Dietary supplementation with cacao liquor proanthocyanidins prevents elevation of blood glucose levels in diabetic obese mice. Nutrition. 2007 Mar 10. View Abstract.