The update of anthocyanins on obesity and type 2 diabetes: Experimental evidence and clinical perspectives

  • Honghui Guo
  • Wenhua LingEmail author


With the dramatically increasing prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) worldwide, there is an urgent need for new strategies to combat the growing epidemic of these metabolic diseases. Diet is an essential factor affecting the development of and risk for obesity and T2DM and it can either help or hurt. In searching for preventative and therapeutic strategies, it is therefore advantageous to consider the potential of certain foods and their bioactive compounds to reverse or prevent the pathogenic processes associated with metabolic disease. Anthocyanins are naturally occurring polyphenolic compounds abundant in dark-colored fruits, vegetables and grains. Epidemiological studies suggest that increased consumption of anthocyanins lowers the risk of T2DM. Many in vitro and in vivo studies also reveal an array of mechanisms through which anthocyanins could prevent or reverse obesity- and T2DM-related pathologies including promotion of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, improvement of insulin resistance, and hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic actions. Here, we summarize the data on anthocyanin-mediated protection against obesity and T2DM and the underlying mechanisms. Further population-based and long-term human intervention studies are necessary to ultimately evaluate the use of anthocyanins for protection/prevention against the development of obesity and T2DM.


Anthocyanin Inflammation Obesity Oxidative stress Type 2 diabetes mellitus 







AMP-activated protein kinase


Body mass index




Cholesteryl ester transfer protein


Cardiovascular disease


Glucose transporter 4




High-density lipoproteins


High fat diet


High-sensitivity C-reactive protein




Low-density lipoproteins




Mitogen-activated protein kinase


Monocyte chemotactic protein 1


Monocyte to macrophage differentiation associator


Nuclear factor κB


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ


Reactive oxygen species


Superoxide dismutase


Type 2 diabetes mellitus


Tumor necrosis factor α



This work was supported by grants from the National Basic Research Program (973 Program, 2012CB517506) and the National Natural Science Foundation (81172655, 81372994).

Conflict of interest

Authors declare no conflict of interest or financial relationship with the organization that sponsored some of the research described in this review article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nutrition, Henry Fok School of Food Science and EngineeringShaoguan UniversityShaoguanChina
  2. 2.Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Food, Nutrition and Health; Department of Nutrition, School of Public HealthSun Yat-Sen University (Northern Campus)GuangzhouChina

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