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Moderate Alcohol Consumption Lowers Fasting Glucose 20mg/dL

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2008

A daily glass of wine with dinner for those with type 2 diabetes lowers fasting plasma glucose (FPG), Israeli researchers report in the December issue of Diabetes Care. 

Dr. Iris Shai of Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva and colleagues randomized 109 patients with type 2 diabetes who had previously abstained from alcohol to have 150 mL of wine (13 g alcohol) or a nonalcoholic diet beer (control) daily with dinner for 3 months.

A total of 91 patients completed the trial. The age range of the subjects was 41 to 74 years.

Mean FPG was 139.6 mg/dL at baseline in the intervention group, and it fell to 118.0 mg/dL after 3 months with alcohol consumption. Baseline FPG was 136.7 in controls, and remained essentially unchanged 3 months later at 138.6 mg/dl.
Patients with higher A1C levels at baseline had greater reductions in FPG with alcohol consumption than those with lower A1C levels.

Alcohol consumption had no effect on postprandial plasma glucose, and there were no changes in bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase or aspartate aminotransferase levels.

It Dr. Shai commented that it was important that the subjects drank alcohol with their evening meal, which contained carbohydrates.

Dr. Shai explained that, "The decline in hepatic glucose production can provoke hypoglycemia when alcohol is ingested in the fasting state. Since ethanol does not appear to directly affect insulin secretion or glucose disposal, a hypoglycemic effect of ethanol is likely to be highly dependent on nutritional state."

"The trial might suggest that moderate alcohol consumption could be considered as prescription for patients with type 2 diabetes in very specifically eligible groups," she noted, but added a caveat. "A patient who drinks one glass of wine a day should balance the extra calories by omitting 100 kcal that come from a carbohydrate source.... It is important to note that higher doses of alcohol are dangerous, and each patient should talk with his physician before initiation."

Source: Diabetes In Control: Diabetes Care 2007;30:3011-3016.

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