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Dietary antioxidants and glucose metabolism

Franzini, Laura; Ardigò, Diego; Zavaroni, Ivana

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: July 2008 - Volume 11 - Issue 4 - p 471–476
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328303be79
Carbohydrates: Edited by David D'Alessio and Luc Tappy

Purpose of review Oxidative stress seems to play a pathogenic role in the vicious circle linking obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Hypothetically, dietary antioxidants should decrease oxidative stress and therefore improve glucose metabolism. However, many interventional trials evaluating the effect of antioxidant supplementation on insulin resistance, plasma glucose levels and risk of type 2 diabetes gave inconsistent results.

Recent findings Many studies have recently demonstrated a positive effect of vitamin supplementation and of food enriched in antioxidant (seafood, whole nut, etc.) on markers of oxidative stress, insulin resistance, fasting plasma glucose and incidence of diabetes. The present paper critically reviews the consolidated notions on dietary antioxidant in view of the recent evidences.

Summary Although a definitive estimation of the impact of dietary antioxidants on glucose metabolism is still lacking, food with high antioxidant concentrations seems to have a protective effect, improving oxidative stress-mediated detrimental effects on the vicious circle among obesity, insulin resistance and redox imbalance.

Department of Internal Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Parma, Parma, Italy

Correspondence to Ivana Zavaroni, via Gramsci 14, 43100, Parma, Italy Tel: +39 0521033295; fax: +39 0521033271; e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.