NZ blackcurrant may offer hope for diabetics

A new international clinical trial testing a molecule found in New Zealand blackcurrants may offer hope for thousands of Kiwis living with diabetes and associated metabolic disorders.

According to latest data, an estimated 5 per cent of the New Zealand population is living with type 2 diabetes with this prevalence expected to increase to 7 per cent (430,000) people within the next two decades.

Dr Jian Guan, an Auckland University scientist who is considered the world’s leading expert on cyclic Glycine-Proline (cGP) research, says cGPMax will be tested in an open-label trial among a group of diabetic participants living with a range of metabolic syndromes.

The patient trial is now underway at a university affiliated hospital in China - using cGP derived from New Zealand blackcurrants at a Canterbury production facility.

She says the aim of the trial is to establish the efficacy of the natural form of cGP on type 2 diabetes associated with dyslipidemia, hypertension, peripheral neuropathy, retinopathy and kidney dysfunction.

“Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of disorders resulting from poor metabolism, including hyperglycaemia, high blood pressure, poor insulin function and excessive LDL cholesterol.

“There is a strong correlation between poor metabolism, heart disease, cancer and premature death," says Dr Jian Guan.

“The trial, which is expected to be completed later this year, will investigate whether consumption of the natural form of cGP can improve blood pressure, cholesterol, and complications from diabetes including poor eye function and nerve damage.".

Dr Guan who has studied cGP for over 30 years at Auckland University says feedback from those taking non-synthetic cGP as a supplement for brain health suggest it may assist with other conditions.