Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Whether you call it metabolic syndrome X or cardiometabolic syndrome or, as is the case with the nation of Australia, the attention-getting anagram of CHAOS, its effects on the human system are decidedly in the negative column. With the increase in risk for the development of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, this pre-cursor condition poses a significant threat to human life expectancy and is responsible for the necessity of tailored healthcare and the exorbitant costs associated with it.
For individuals whose doctors have cautioned them as being in these elevated risk categories, a light appeared at the end of a long tunnel this week. And the solution is both surprising and elegantly elementary. In fact, for anyone who has read of or personally extolled the virtues of a well-timed glass of wine to aid in health, your position has been bolstered by research presented this week at the Experimental Biology conference in Boston.
The study behind the research was led by principal investigator E. Mitchell Seymour, PhD, of the University of Michigan Health System. The team’s findings claim the consumption of grapes could go a long way to protecting your organs from damage typically associated with the progression of metabolic syndrome. The team claims the benefit is derived from polyphenols, a natural component of the fruit.
In the conduct of the study, the team intentionally took note of the American-style diet, unique for its higher fat content. The team explored the effects of this diet both with and without the addition of grapes. They paid special attention to how the heart, liver, kidneys and fat tissue were affected in research rats bred specifically to a disposition toward obesity. For the rat subjects chosen to receive the addition of grapes to their diet, they were provided a combination of red, green and black grapes, presented in the form of a freeze-dried powder. The initial experimental phase was conducted over a 90-day period.
What the team soon realized was after the three-month experiment had concluded, the markers denoting inflammation throughout the body were all significantly reduced. Furthermore, a marked increase was noted in both the liver and abdominal fat tissue. Also interesting was the increase in antioxidant defense in the body, particularly in the liver and kidneys.
“Our study suggests that a grape-enriched diet may play a critical role in protecting against metabolic syndrome and the toll it takes on the body and its organs,” said Seymour. “Both inflammation and oxidative stress play a role in cardiovascular disease progression and organ dysfunction in Type 2 diabetes. Grape intake impacted both of these components in several tissues which is a very promising finding.”
This is not the first foray into the benefits of the noble grape for Seymour. His previous research demonstrated a grape-enriched diet was able to reduce risk factors associated with heart disease and diabetes in the obesity-prone rats.
The Experimental Biology conference is a multidisciplinary, scientific meeting that aims its focus toward research and life sciences. This broad approach allows them to cover the fields of anatomy, biochemistry, nutrition, pathology, pharmacology and others. This years meeting is expected to be attended by nearly 14,000 scientists and exhibitors.