The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 10 No. 1 • March 2007

Dietary Factors and Adiponectin, a Fat-Derived Peptide that Improves Insulin Sensitivity: Moderate Alcohol Strikes Again

We have written, in our article on supplements for healthy weight management (see “Supplements We Take with Our Meals to Enhance Health and Healthy Weight Management” in the May issue of Life Enhancement), on the increase in adiponectin gene-expression levels that occurred when fat cells were treated with anthocyanins found in purple corn color. Similar anthocyanins are found in blueberries and other blue and purple fruits and vegetables. Adiponectin is important for insulin sensitivity, and its levels are reduced in the obese and in diabetics. Here, we describe a recent paper1 that reports an increase, by moderate alcohol consumption, in adiponectin concentrations in men with no history of cardiovascular disease. The paper also found that a carbohydrate-rich diet with a high glycemic load is associated with lower adiponectin concentrations in this same population of men.

Moderate alcohol consumption continues to deliver interesting health benefits. This study included 532 male participants from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The paper reports that there was a significant nonlinear association between plasma adiponectin concentration and alcohol intake. Whereas nondrinkers had mean plasma adiponectin concentrations of 16.48 mg/L, those who consumed 0.1–4.9, 5.0–14.9, 15.0–29.9, or equal to or greater than 30 grams of alcohol per day had mean concentrations of 16.79 (P=0.77 compared with nondrinkers, not significant), 18.97 (P=0.02), 19.11 (P=0.01), and 18.39 (P=0.10, not significant) mg/L, respectively.

The authors also described another recent study2 that examined the effects of 40 g of whiskey per day as compared to water on plasma adiponectin concentration in a randomized crossover trial. They found significantly greater plasma adiponectin concentrations after the consumption, for 17 days, of whiskey (8.78 mg/L) as compared to water (7.94 mg/L).


  1. Pischon et al. Association between dietary factors and plasma adiponectin concentrations in men. Am J Clin Nutr 81:780-6 (2005).
  2. Sierksma et al. Effect of moderate alcohol consumption on adiponectin, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and insulin sensitivity. Diabetes Care 27:184-9 (2004).

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