Calcium-Fortified Beverages Improve Insulin Sensitivity, Study Shows

Insulin resistance is an important aspect of the mechanisms behind type 2 diabetes. The less sensitive one’s body is to insulin, the harder one’s pancreas has to work to produce enough insulin for it, until eventually it cannot keep up, and then man-made insulin is required to keep the person alive. If insulin sensitivity can be improved, however, and some strain can be taken off the pancreas, type 2 diabetes could be avoided, put into remission, or made less severe.

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A recent study looked at the effects of calcium intake on insulin sensitivity in older adults. Seven out of ten seniors don’t (and sometimes even can’t) get an adequate amount of calcium in their diets, which exacerbates the issue of insulin resistance. So the researchers gave a group of diabetes sufferers a calcium-fortified drink made with sprouted barley grass and chickpea powder and monitored the changes in their insulin sensitivity and antioxidant metabolism.

The participants had measurements taken for height, weight, total body fat percentage, and a host of biochemical markers. They took a survey to see what their calcium intake was like. Then they were monitored for three weeks before they began drinking calcium-fortified beverages and for three more weeks while they consumed the drinks daily.

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Researchers noted a decrease in insulin in participants, meaning their pancreases didn’t have to produce as much insulin due to improved insulin sensitivity. There was a notable rise in catalase activity and a fall in H2O2-induced DNA oxidative damage.

Calcium-fortified beverages also helped keep participants’ fasting blood glucose levels from creeping up as they tend to do over time. Those numbers were not statistically significant over such a short period of time, but they do show promise and should be researched further.

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No other statistically significant differences were found in participants’ biochemical analyses.

“These results suggest that CFB is a promising agent for the management of diabetes and antioxidant metabolism,” the authors wrote. “However, future studies with large sample sizes and more rigorous experimental design considering long-term effects are needed.”

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