Be Berry Careful with Diabetes

by Matt Weik

According to the CDC, 9.3% of all Americans in the United States have diabetes. That’s roughly 29 million people with the disease. A little over 1 million Americans are diagnosed every year with a staggering 86 million Americans having prediabetes. Diet and exercise play a large role in the likelihood that someone will become diabetic during their lifetime. Now scientists are digging deeper into the nutrition aspect of the disease and are finding berries might play a significant role.

Scientists from Zhejiang University in China pulled data from around 400,000 people and found that those who consumed berries (which contain anthocyanins) regularly in their diet, reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 18%. It was also found that there is a 15% reduction in the risk with the use of dietary anthocyanin. They mentioned that anthocyanins found in berries have powerful antioxidant properties and may be the reason why they help reduce the risk of diabetes when consumed regularly. Scientists also revealed that anthocyanins help with inflammation as well as improving insulin sensitivity. With the availability of berries year-round in the US, the researchers are quickly seeing the health benefits from those who have a healthy amount of berries already in their diet.

One researcher said, “type 2 diabetes and its associated complications cause serious medical and socioeconomic burdens. The findings from the present meta-analysis provide sufficient evidence that dietary intakes of anthocyanins and berries are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.” They mentioned that this study was the first to “evaluate the association of dietary consumption of anthocyanins and berries with type 2 diabetes risk.”

Fresh berries aren’t the only way to take in anthocyanins. Supplement companies are now releasing concentrated extracts that can be purchased over the counter in pill form. Searching online will give you many different options and brands to choose from. Some of the brands that currently carry products containing anthocyanins are Puritan’s Pride, Swanson, and Life Extension. Researchers concluded that “for every 7.5 mg/day increment of dietary anthocyanin or 17 g/day increment in berry intake the risk of type 2 diabetes decreased by 5%.”

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2016.142, “Associations of dietary intakes of anthocyanins and berry fruits with risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies” Authors: X. Guo, et al.