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Grapefruit compound may boost diabetic kidney health

By Stephen Daniells , 13-Dec-2011
Last updated on 13-Dec-2011 at 18:36 GMT

Supplementing the diet with naringenin, a compound from grapefruit, may reduce markers of inflammation and boost kidney health in diabetics, suggests data from a study with mice.

Naringenin, responsible for the bitter taste in grapefruits, lemon and tomatoes, has already been reported to offer potential benefits for people with diabetes, arteriosclerosis and hyper-metabolism.

The new study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, adds to this body of science, and suggests that the compound may boost kidney health in people with diabetes. Diabetic renal injury (diabetic nephropathy) is just one potential complication of diabetes, and it has been suggested that inflammation may contribute to its development.

Taiwanese researchers now report that supplementing the diet of lab mice with 2% naringenin may reduce levels of various inflammatory markers, such as of interleukin (IL)-1beta and IL-6, as well as reducing the activity of a protein called nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-kappaB), which is known to be play a key role in some inflammatory pathways.

“Although naringenin at 2% exhibited effective anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic activities in diabetic mice, further studies are necessary to examine its safety before it is used for humans,” wrote the researchers.

 

Study details

 

The researchers tested the potential kidney protecting effects of naringenin at doses of 0.5, 1, and 2% of the diet.

 

Results showed that diabetic mice consuming the higher doses of the compound displayed decreased blood sugar levels, and increased insulin levels, compared to the control (no naringenin) mice.

 

In addition, various markers of inflammation were significantly reduced, including IL-1beta and IL-6 reductions of 45% for the 2%-fed animals.

 

“These results indicated that this compound attenuated renal inflammatory injury via down-regulation of these inflammatory mediators,” wrote the researchers.

 

While most of the anti-inflammatory effects were observed in a dose-dependent manner, only the 2% group displayed lower activity of NF-kappaB, said the researchers.

 

“This compound […]suppressed NF-kappa B activation,” wrote the researchers. “Therefore, supplementation with this agent or foods rich in this compound might be helpful for the prevention or alleviation of diabetic nephropathy.”

 

Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1021/jf203259h
“Anti-inflammatory and Antifibrotic Effects of Naringenin in Diabetic Mice”
Authors: S-J. Tsai, C-S. Huang, M-C. Mong, W-Y. Kam, H-Y. Huang, M-C. Yin

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