Maqui (Aristotelia chilensis) plants produce wild berries in central and southern Chile as well as in Argentina. These are some of the healthiest berries due to high levels of polyphenols. Maqui berries have strong antioxidant activity and high levels of anthocyanin*, while other chemicals in maqui are known to be cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory. Traditional use of maqui has been for diarrhea, fever, and inflammation. Its strong antidiabetic effect may be due to anthocyanins.
Researchers studied maqui berries for antidiabetic activity and extracted an anthocyanin (delphinidine), which may be primarily responsible for the antidiabetic effect of the berries. An anthocyanin concentrated product was used, and the fruit were extracted using 70% methyl alcohol. The polyphenols were further extracted in the laboratory to obtain the “anthocyanin enriched fraction”, and the strength of the product was determined.
The mice used had a genetic disposition to develop diabetes and were fed a standard diet designed to induce the disease (60% of calories were fat derived). After 13 weeks, the mice were divided into groups, one of which served as controls. The mice were either given anthocyanins or some other test solution. They were then given glucose, and a glucose tolerance test was done. The mice which received the anthocyanin extract had significant reductions in their fasting sugars after they received the extract. They had better control of their blood sugars.
CONCLUSION: Based on their findings, the authors suggested that an enhanced anthocyanin extract of maqui berries may be a good treatment for type II diabetes mellitus and insulin resistance.
NOTE: *Anthocyanins are flavonoids which are also pigments, resulting in very colorful fruits and vegetables. These chemicals have many health benefits.
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