Grape Seed Extract may be a better starch blocker than the prescription drug acarbose

August 07, 2012

Acarbose is a prescription drug used to treat type 2 diabetes in the US and both diabetes and pre-diabetes in other countries. The drug works by attaching to starch digesting enzymes known as alpha-amylase. This decreases the digestion or breakdown of starches and the absorption of sugar into the blood. The decrease in the absorption of sugar makes it easier for a diabetic to control their blood sugar level at mealtime. This helps prevent blood sugar from rising too high after meals. Because fewer calories are absorbed from the meal it can also help with weight loss.

In this study researchers from Oregon State University tested the ability of Grape Seed Extract, or Green Tea or White Tea to inhibit starch digesting enzymes. The results were compared to those of the drug acarbose. Grape Seed Extract strongly inhibited starch digesting enzymes. Grape Seed inhibited alpha amylase enzymes as well as acarbose. Grape Seed also inhibited alpha glucosidase enzymes, another family of starch digesting enzymes much better than acarbose can. The teas potently inhibited alpha glucosidase enzymes but were less effective inhibitors of alpha amylase enzymes. The study is published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.