The Grapefruit and Your Blood Sugar


Feb 05
Sliced grapefruit.

I had wanted to add “grapefruit” to the article “How To Keep Your Blood Sugar From Spiking,” except I could not yet explain it all. I didn’t quite understand the mechanism behind it and, as in the past, I don’t pass something on till I understand it.

One reason the lay public doesn’t understand science is that when you get really into it (deeply), you’ll discover a whole nother language. The magical language of scientists is like Latin to a Catholic priest. As long as the church spoke Latin, an air of mysticism hung over the entire procession of sacraments from baptism to extreme unction (the anointing of the sick and dying). In absolute fact, the dropping of Latin by the Catholic church was to bring the public in closer to the church.

We are told that scientists, to be more accurate, need their own jargon. To some degree I can accept this, but my more practical side admits to a sense of snobbishness that excludes all non-members from their exclusive club.

I felt I had to first translate their gibberish into English before I could pass this information onto you.

First I must teach you about three genes (or proteins, since genes are proteins too):

PPARα, PPARγ, and LXRα. In the lingo of scientists, they are peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors alpha and gama (the first two); the last one being Liver X Receptor Alpha.

A peroxisome is a small body (microbody) within each of our cells dedicated to the synthesis and usage of “energy.” Energy, as you should know already, comes from sugar, or at the cellular level, glucose.

Fats can be broken down into sugars, which takes place in the liver. It’s a very interesting process by which adipose tissues (your fat) sends fatty acids to the liver where they are processed into sugar (a process we call fat metabolism) and that sugar is furnished to the cells where the peroxisomes (working with the mitochondria) turn it into energy. We want to metabolize our fat because in this society we have way too much of it. [Mitochondria and peroxisomes: are the ‘big brother’ and the ‘little sister’ closer than assumed?]

In science when it comes to the activities of our cells, you have proliferators and inhibitors. Proliferators make things happen or start; while inhibitors make things not happen or stop.

The liver is the organ that regulates carbohydrate and lipid (fat) levels in the blood.

PPARα, when activated, usually by starvation, stimulates the liver to turn some fat into sugar (before we die). Now wouldn’t the pharmaceutical industry love to come up with a drug that did this? Turns on your fat metabolism?

PPARγ, when activated, lowers your blood sugar and turns off the inflammation response.

Now this gene LXRα, when expressed (activated) leads to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Why it exists and why it’s expressed I can’t imagine, although I’m sure it has something to do with homeostasis. When the body gets out of balance, things like this try to put it back. The problem is that some things can get over-expressed.

So, the pharmaceutical industry is hard at work trying to come up with an LXRα inhibitor.

This is where our friend the grapefruit comes in.

Studies out of Israel in 2010 showed that eating grapefruit activated both PPARα and PPARγ while suppressing LXRα.

The result? More fat metabolism with lower blood sugar and less inflammation.

This is why having half a grapefruit before meals has been recommended to people who are dieting.

And now we know, that it’s a good idea for anyone with metabolic syndrome and/or type two diabetes (or pre-diabetes).

And I must tell you one more thing. Drinking grapefruit juice does NOT have the same effect as eating the actual fruit.

The only contraindication (reason you would not eat grapefruit) would be if you are on medications. Grapefruit seems to work synergistically with meds making them much more powerful than you would normally want them to be.

So, in this case, check with your doctor because they get a lot of literature from drug companies on interactions with grapefruit.

Further Reading:

Grapefruit For Diabetes

Grapefruit ‘can help to treat diabetes’… Antioxidant found in the fruit has same benefits as two separate drugs

Grapefruit’s Bitter Taste Holds a Sweet Promise for Diabetes Therapy