Elderberry Extracts and Diabetes Type 2
What is it Diabetes Type 2?
Diabetes type 2 is a long-term metabolic disorder where body cells develop a resistance against the sugar (glucose) regulating hormone insulin. Insulin is regulating the glucose transport from the blood to the body cells. Therefore, the sugar level in the blood is constantly high while at the same time the body cells are starving. The high blood sugar leads to well-known diabetes symptoms like increased thirst, frequent urination, and unexplained weight loss. Additionally, some people experience increased hunger, tiredness, and sores that do not heal. Symptoms can develop over years and are sometimes not noticed. Type 2 diabetes can lead to long-term complications including heart disease, strokes, osteoporosis and in some cases blindness.
Which foods help in managing Diabetes Type 2?
Besides regular exercising, it is well known that specific diets that can contribute to control high blood sugar. A good overview on which foods are recommended and which foods should be avoided can be found here.
In general, it is advised to fill half of the plate with non-starchy vegetables. Round out the meal with other healthy choices — whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean protein, fat-free or low-fat dairy, and small portions of fresh fruits and healthy fats.
Avoid sugar and processed carbohydrates. That includes soda, candy, and other packaged or processed snacks, such as corn chips, potato chips, and the like.
Apart from specific food recommendations, more and more researchers are looking into specific food components which could have a positive effect on the blood sugar levels.
The scientific evidence for Elderberry and Diabetes Type 2
We have identified 5 peer reviewed studies where Elderberry extracts have been tested in diabetic animal models. No Human intervention study has been performed so far.
In the first study in 2007
Anthocyanins are responsible for the red colour in elderberries. This study looked at the effects of feeding a specific anthocyanin to diabetic type 2 mice. Mice were fed for 5 weeks. The results showed significantly reduced blood glucose levels and enhanced insulin sensitivity. The study describes also the molecular mechanisms behind these effects. The authors linked the positive results to the molecule Anthocyanin which is present in Elderberries. More information on this study can be found here.
The second study in 2009
An invitro study in 2009 showed beneficial effects of polyphenols from elderberry on diabetic type 2 rats. Elderberry polyphenols gave a protection from the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries which is a common symptom in diabetes patients.
More information on this study can be found here.
The third study in 2012
Diabetes type 2 can have a negative impact bone health leading to osteoporosis and bone loss.
An extract from Elderberry was fed to diabetic type 2 rats to evaluate its possible antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-osteoporosis effects. To determine the bone health status, bone density tests were performed. The results demonstrated a significant improvement in the antioxidative capacity of the serum in diabetic rats treated with natural polyphenols from Elderberry. The treatment resulted in an improved osteoporosis status of the bones. To summarize, the researchers concluded that extracts of Elderberry could potentially be used a dietary supplement in diabetic osteoporosis. More information on this study can be found here.
The fourth study in 2015
The researchers of this study have looked a common complication of Diabetes mellitus called Diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage that is caused by diabetes. Over time, high blood glucose levels, and high levels of fats, such as triglycerides, in the blood from diabetes can damage nerves.
Currently only a few approved therapies with limited efficacy and several side-effects are available. The present study looked at Elderberry water extracts, and their potential active isolates as potential Diabetic neuropathy treatment.
The researchers isolated a compound from Elderberrry, called Kaempferol. Compared to positive controls, Kaemperfor showed remarkable activity in regulating blood sugar. Additionaly, Kaempferol was also effective in reducing Diabetic Neuropathy. The researchers conclude that Elderberry and their active isolates have significant effects in iproving Diabetic Neuropathy symptoms and diabetes-induced complications.
More information on this study can be found here.
The fifth and most recent study 2017
Elderberry extracts where tested in diabetic mouse models. In this test, mice were fed with a high fat died and it was found that the water extracts from elderberry changed glucose metabolism by correcting hyperglycemia (high sugar levels). The authors of the publication conclude that elderberries are a potential source of bioactive compounds for formulations in diabetes management. More information on this study can be found here.
Does Elderberry Extract help manage Diabetes type 2?
As we have seen above, there is some evidence that Elderberry has components which might have beneficial effects on people with Diabetes Type 2.
However, the evidence is derived from invitro studies and mouse models, and not from human studies.
At this stage there are 2 modes of actions possible:
- Anthocyanins can help opening the body cells so that glucose can leave the blood stream and enter
- Alfa-amylase inhibition: Alfa-amylase is an enzyme which helps breaking down larger sugar molecules into smaller available glucose units. Retardation of carbohydrate digestion by inhibition of this enzymes would lead to blood glucose level reduction and hence could be considered as a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of diabetes.
It is to early to conclude that Elderberry extracts help in Humans to manage Diabetes. However, seeing the evidence from invitro studies there is a possiblity for possitiv effects. We recommend using premium products with a high anthocyanin content above 30mg per dosage.