Purple Corn Extract and Its Anti-Diabetic Activity
Updated: Apr 15
According to the CDC, 34.2 million Americans have diabetes. That’s just over 1 in 10 Americans (1). Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose is too high, which prevents your body from properly using the energy from the food you eat. The two main types are Type 1 and Type 2. In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas makes little or no insulin, so sugar cannot get into the body’s cells for use as energy. In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes insulin, but it either does not produce enough, or the insulin does not work properly (clevelandclinic.org).
Multiple studies have reported that anthocyanins exhibit various biological activities including anti-oxidation, glycemic (blood sugar) regulation, neuroprotection, lipid-profile (cholesterol) regulation, body weight control, anticancer, and more. Purple corn extract (PCE) is rich in anthocyanins (2).
This study investigated the anti-diabetic activity and mechanisms of the anthocyanin and non-anthocyanin components of purple corn extract on mice. The mice were divided into four groups: a diabetic control group (DC), 10 mg/kg purple corn extract (PCE 10), 50 mg/kg purple corn extract (PCE 50), or 10 mg/kg pinitol, a known anti-diabetic agent (pinitol 10). During the experiment, body weight and blood glucose levels were measured weekly. At the conclusion of treatment, several diabetic parameters were measured.
Results from this study showed that overall, the anthocyanin-rich PCE improved insulin resistance and reduced diabetes-associated mesangial fibrosis and inflammation. Fasting blood glucose levels of the mice were measured and were shown to be 68% lower in PCE 50 group and 51% lower in the pinitol 10 group. Furthermore, the PCE 50 group showed “2-fold increased C-peptide and adiponectin levels and 20% decreased HbA1c levels than in the DC group.”
In addition to lower fasting blood glucose and HbA1c levels, purple corn extract “increased the phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and decreased phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK), glucose 6-phosphatase (G6pase) genes in liver, and increased glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) expressions in skeletal muscle,” ultimately suggesting that anthocyanin-rich purple corn extract may have benefits for the prevention of diabetes and its complications (3).
The full study can be found here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4317475/
(1) “National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/diabetes-stat-report.html#:~:text=New%20in%202020%2C%20the%20report,1%20in%203%E2%80%94have%20prediabetes. Accessed 10 July 2020.
(2) Muste, S., Ranta, O., Molnar, A., & Păcurar, A. D. (n.d.). ANTHOCYANINS IN MAIZE (ZEA MAYS): COMPOSITION AND HEALTH EFFECTS - A REVIEW, 7.
(3) Huang, B., Wang, Z., Park, J. H., Ryu, O. H., Choi, M. K., Lee, J. Y., Kang, Y. H., & Lim, S. S. (2015). Anti-diabetic effect of purple corn extract on C57BL/KsJ db/db mice. Nutrition research and practice, 9(1), 22–29. https://doi.org/10.4162/nrp.2015.9.1.22