Washington, Mar 19 : When it comes to keeping complications of diabetes at bay, it seems that an apple a day may have to take a back seat to another fruit - grapes.
Researchers at the Peninsula Medical School in the South West of England have found that the grape skin compound Resveratrol couple stop complications of diabetes like heart disease, retinopathy (which if left untreated can lead to blindness) and nephropathy (kidney disease).
It does so by protecting against the cellular damage to blood vessels caused by high production of glucose.
Resveratrol stops the damage by helping cells make protective enzymes to prevent the leakage of electrons and the production of toxic 'free radicals'.
Dr. Matt Whiteman, Principal Investigator and Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Science, Peninsula Medical School, said: "Resveratrol's antioxidant effects in the test tube are well documented but our research shows the link between high levels of glucose, its damaging effect on cell structure, and the ability of resveratrol of protect against and mend that damage."
"Resveratrol or related compounds could be used to block the damaging effect of glucose which in turn might fight the often life threatening complications that accompany diabetes.
"It could well be the basis of effective diet-based therapies for the prevention of vascular damage caused by hyperglycaemia in the future," he added.
The study appears in the science journal "Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism" this week.