Food Additive Could Cure Diabetes
Central Fla. Scientists May Have Unlocked Secret In Grapes
Diabetes affects more than 20 million Americans and a new additive derived from grapes could offer those people relief.
Julie Locklin knows a lot about the disease. She is a diabetic and a diabetes educator at Florida Hospital.
"Initially you don't believe it. It doesn’t seem real. You feel fine. You're not sick, but you now need to make changes in your life. It's very scary," Locklin said.
Two scientists at ATM Metabolics said they have unlocked a mystery about the peels and rinds of tropical fruits like the muscadine grape, which is grown in Central Florida.
Their discovery is called Emulin, a compound extracted from the grape peel that acts as a sugar buffer.
"You know, we're not a big drug company. We're from Central Florida. This is what we like to do," Joseph Ahrens of ATM Metabolics said.
Scientists said Emulin works by reducing the amount of carbohydrates absorbed after meals and the amount of glucose manufactured by the liver. It also is intended to speed the removal of excess sugar from the bloodstream.
After a round of animal testing with great results, the company moved on to human testing.
In independent clinical trials, Emulin was compared to a placebo and to Metformin, one of the leading diabetes drugs.
"Emulin outperformed the drug, and when Emulin was added to people we had a ten-fold increase in the efficacy of Metformin," Ahrens said.
"Some of the test subjects had to be removed off of insulin because it was working so well," Daryl Thompson of ATM Metabolics said.
Locklin said she would love to get rid of her insulin pump, something ATM Metabolics scientists believe is possible.
Once Emulin makes it to the general food supply, it could even prevent diabetes, scientists said.
"If you take this product on a regular basis and keep a minimum about in your body and, this is a bold statement, you will reverse type 2 diabetes and perhaps go a long way to reverse type 1 diabetes," Ahrens said.
Locklin said the food additive almost sounds too good to be true.
"Millions of people would benefit from this," Locklin said.
The drug company is working to get Emulin into the food supply by introducing it into everyday processed foods like soda, cake mixes, pasta and cookies.
The additive would not be used as a sugar substitute. Foods with Emulin would still have sugar, but the additive would make the sugar safer.
Scientists warn this is not a license to overeat sugary foods.
Emulin could make its way into the food supply within a year.