Strawberry flavonoid may help reduce risk of diabetic complications in people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes

Individuals who have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes are often warned that poor diabetes management can lead to serious complications, including blindness, kidney failure or amputation.

Some physicians say that the best way people can reduce their risk of these adverse effects is to maintain healthy blood sugar levels by exercising and consuming a diabetic diet, in addition to adhering to their diabetes medication regimen.

Now, a study published in the journal PLoS One has indicated that consuming flavonoid-rich strawberries was able to reduce the odds of diabetic complications in laboratory rodents.

Other flavonoid-packed products include blueberries and red wine, but the beneficial compound found uniquely in strawberries is called fisetin.

According to the study's results, mice that showed signs of chronic kidney failure - such as acute enlargement of the organ or high urine protein levels - experienced a reversal of these symptoms despite the fact that they remained diabetic while being treated with fisetin.

The researchers explained that the flavonoid increased the activity of an enzyme called glyoxalase 1. The enzyme helps regulate blood levels of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) proteins, which have been associated with inflammatory reactions that play a role in diabetic complications, Alzheimer's disease and some cancers.

The scientists noted that humans would have to consume 37 strawberries daily in order to ingest amounts of the flavonoid that are equivalent to those that were fed to the laboratory rodents.

They noted that their findings reinforce how important it is for individuals with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes to consume a diabetic diet.

"Eat a balanced diet and as much freshly prepared organic food as possible, get some exercise, keep socially and mentally active and avoid sodas with sugar and highly processed foods since they can contain high levels of AGEs," said lead researcher David Schubert.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes work with a dietitian in order to develop a meal plan that can help them improve their blood glucose levels, blood pressure readings and cholesterol numbers, as well as promote or help maintain weight loss.