Grapefruit to the Rescue

Diabetes and arteriosclerosis could be treated with a pre-meal supplement

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Pills are usually designed to get rid of a disease. Now there’s a pill that can possibly prevent health problems before they happen.  Researchers have identified that the bitter taste in grapefruit has possible health benefits.

They transformed the compound into a pill that can now be taken as a pre-meal supplement to help treat diabetes and arteriosclerosis.

"Grapefruit pill may treat several serious health problems."

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Harvard University researchers have formulated a pill that may be able to reduce fat and sugar absorption in the body. The bitter compound found in grapefruit, called naringenin, has been shown to be useful in preventing diabetes, and arteriosclerosis.

Absorption of naringenin in its natural form is too low to be therapeutic . So Dr. Yaakov Hanmias of the Benin School of Engineering and Computer Science at the Hebrew University and graduate student, Maria Shulman, created a “nano-complex” where naringenin is surrounded by a ring of sugar.

The sugar increases naringenin absorption by 11 times to make the pill more effective in reducing fat and sugar absorption.

The researchers found a single dose of the “nano-complex” taken before a high fat and high sugar meal, reduced the production of bad cholesterol (LDL) by 42 percent and increased insulin sensitivity by 64 percent.

Increasing insulin sensitivity allows for the body to absorb the sugar so there is less free sugar throughout the body.

"The complex is special in that it is taken just before a meal, as a preventative measure. In comparison, existing medications are given only after the chronic development of abnormal lipid levels in the blood," said Dr. Nahmias.

This dietary supplement is now undergoing clinical trials.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 25, 2011
Last Updated:
May 27, 2011