37 strawberries a day, keeps doctors away

June 29, 2011 at 6:58 PM

LA JOLLA, Calif., June 29 (UPI) -- Thirty-seven strawberries a day may help keep diabetes complications away, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at the Salk Institute's Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory say fisetin, a naturally-occurring flavonoid found most abundantly in strawberries and to a lesser extent in other fruits and vegetables, lessens complications of diabetes.

"This manuscript describes for the first time a drug that prevents both kidney and brain complications in a type 1 diabetes mouse model," co-author David Schubert, professor and head of the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, says in a statement.

Corresponding author Pam Maher, a senior staff scientist in the CNL, initially identified fisetin as a neuroprotective flavonoid 10 years ago, which may provide the protective effect of the Mediterranean Diet.

In the study, mice fed a fisetin-enriched diet remained diabetic, but acute kidney enlargement-or hypertrophy-seen in untreated mice was reversed and high urine protein levels -- a sure sign of kidney disease -- fell, Maher says.

Researchers observed that blood and brain levels of sugars affixed to proteins known as advanced glycation end-products were reduced in fisetin-treated mice. Excessively high advanced glycation end-products also correlate with inflammatory activity thought to promote some cancers, the study says.

The findings are published in PLoS ONE.

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