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Purple Corn Anthocyanins for Diabetes and Kidney Disease

Scientists from Korea have discovered that compounds extracted from purple corn grown in Peru and Chile may be used to treat kidney problems related to diabetes. This corn variety is related to the blue corn found in the US, and has been reported to possess anti-diabetic properties.

Researcher Min-Kyung Kang and colleagues from the Department of Food and Nutrition and Department of Biochemistry at Hallym University in Korea studied the effects of purple corn anthocyanins (or flavonoids, a type of antioxidant) using cultured human cells and mice in separate experiments.

The results of the study which were recently published in the American Journal of Physiology — Renal Physiology showed that the compound inhibits the development of diabetic nephropathy, a kidney disorder related to type 2 diabetes.

High blood sugar levels which are characteristic of diabetes can cause the kidney to filter too much blood, overworking the kidneys and causing them to eventually fail. When this happens the kidneys fail to filter out or eliminate waste products, resulting in kidney disease. When diagnosed early, kidney disease may be treated and kidney failure may be prevented.

In the first experiment they treated human cells cultured under hyperglycemic (high sugar levels) conditions with purple corn anthocyanins (PCA). In another experiment they used diabetic and non-diabetic mice to evaluate the effects of PCA on their kidneys. The results of their experiments show that PCA inhibits the inflammatory processes involved in kidney cell damage associated with increased blood sugar levels found in diabetes.

The authors believe that the protective effect of PCA against kidney damage may have an important role in the treatment of diabetic complications.


American Physiological Society. Compound found in purple corn may aid in developing future treatments for type 2 diabetes, kidney disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2012.

Posted in: Anthocyanins, Anti-diabetes, Antioxidants, Diabetes, Diabetes Research, Diabetes Treatment, Kidney Disease, News Briefs

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