Red wine is packed with anti-diabetic compounds and could be a potential source of treatment, says a new study.
Alois Jungbauer and colleagues at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria, tested 10 reds and two whites to find out how strongly the wines bound to a protein called PPAR-gamma, which is targeted by the anti-diabetic drug rosiglitazone.
PPAR-gamma regulates the uptake of glucose in fat cells. Rosiglitazone targets PPAR-gamma in fat cells to make them more sensitive to insulin and improve the uptake of glucose.
The team found that the white wines had low binding affinities, but all the reds bound readily: the tendency of 100 millilitres of red wine - about half a glass - to bind to PPAR-gamma is up to four times as strong as the same tendency in the daily dose of rosiglitazone.
"It's incredible. It's a really high activity. At first we were worried it was an artefact, but then we identified the compounds responsible in the wine," New Scientist quoted Jungbauer as saying.
However, not all the anti-diabetic compounds may be absorbed by the body. Plus, it also contains ethanol, which will add to your calories.
Veronique Cheynier at University of Montpellier agreed, saying that most polyphenols do not pass through the digestive tract unchanged and may not be absorbed at all.
The next step for Jungbauer and his team will be to measure the metabolic effects of the wine compounds on healthy people.
The study appears in Food and Function.