December 28, 2004 "It is possible that consumption of cherries and other fruits containing these compounds [anthocyanins] could have a significant impact on insulin levels in humans," says study leader Muralee Nair, Ph.D., a natural products chemist at Michigan State University in East Lansing. "We're excited with the laboratory results so far, but more studies are needed."
Researchers have identified a group of naturally occurring chemicals abundant in cherries that could help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. In early laboratory studies using animal pancreatic cells, the chemicals, called anthocyanins, increased insulin production by 50 percent, according to a peer-reviewed study scheduled to appear in the Jan. 5 issue of the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. ACS is the world's largest scientific society.
Although other fruits contain anthocyanins, cherries appear to be the most promising source of these compounds on the basis of serving size, according to the researcher. The compounds are found in both sweet and sour (tart) cherry varieties.
Previous studies by the researcher found that certain anthocyanins isolated from cherries have anti-inflammatory properties and may be useful in fighting arthritis.
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