Citrus and vine extracts to lower blood sugar levels

ENEA researchers are developing nutraceuticals prepared from orange, lemon and red vine extracts to lower high blood sugar, as part of the Med-Matrix-3 project, funded by the nutraceutical company Esserre. Preliminary results show that liver cells treated with some bioactive molecules from citrus fruits and red grapes are stimulated to respond to circulating sugar blood levels.

“Specifically, the different plant matrices seem to favor the intracellular uptake of glucose, resulting in a significant increase in glycogen content and an improvement in insulin resistance,” explained Barbara Benassi, head of the ENEA Health and Environment Laboratory and co-author of the study with her colleague Maria Pierdomenico and Costanza Riccioni, Esserre’s manager of R&D  activities.

The research team studied insulin resistance using human liver cells treated with natural extracts to verify the hypoglycaemic effect of anthocyanins and flavanones, beneficial molecules abundant in red vine and citrus fruits.

Insulin resistance is identified as a pathological feature in which target cells, in particular liver, muscle and adipose tissue, do not respond to normal levels of circulating insulin, with consequent alteration of glucose and lipid balance (homeostasis). “In terms of mechanism of action, it often involves impaired IRS-1; acting on this molecule through an innovative nutraceutical formulation could significantly improve insulin response”, concluded the ENEA researcher.

If further validated, these experimental results would pave the way to the use of formulations based on flavonoids prepared from lemon, orange and red vine extracts as nutraceuticals to control glycemia and treat insulin resistance in subjects at risk or who experience serious side effects associated with conventional hypoglycemic drugs.


For more information please contact:
Barbara Benassi, ENEA – Head of the Health and Environment Laboratory,




anorexia covid19 design event evento Fabio De Furia florida Genius health lazio medicine miami miami dade miamisic nanotechnology PMI research small industry startups