Preventive and Therapeutic Potentials of Anthocyanins in Diabetes and Associated Complications

Curr Med Chem. 2018;25(39):5347-5371. doi: 10.2174/0929867325666171206101945.


Diet is an essential factor affecting the development of and risk for diabetes mellitus. In search of preventative and therapeutic strategies, the potential role of certain foods and their bioactive compounds to prevent the pathogenesis associated with metabolic diseases is to be considered. Human consumption of anthocyanins is among the highest of all flavonoids. Epidemiological studies have suggested that the consumption of anthocyanins lowers the risk of diabetes and diabetic complications. Anthocyanins are important natural bioactive pigments responsible for red to blue colour of fruits, leaves, seeds, stems and flowers, which are present in a variety of plant species particularly in berries and cherries. A large number of bioactive anthocyanins, such as cyanidin, malvidin, delphinidin, pelargonidin, peonidin, petunidin and their metabolites have shown multiple biological activities with apparent effects on glucose absorption, glucose uptake, insulin secretion and sensitivity, on the enzymes involved in glucose metabolism, gene expressions, inflammatory mediators, glucose transporters in progression of diabetes and associated complications, such as diabetic retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy and diabetic vascular diseases. The versatility of the anthocyanins provides a promising approach for diabetes management than synthetic drugs. Here we summarize the effect of several anthocyanins on many in vitro, in vivo and clinical studies and also reveal the mechanisms which could prevent or reverse the underlying mechanisms of diabetic pathologies including promotion of antioxidant, antihyperlipidemic, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic activities.

Keywords: Anthocyanins; complications; diabetes mellitus; diet; glucose; preventative and therapeutic strategies..

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anthocyanins / chemistry
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology
  • Anthocyanins / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / pathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / prevention & control*
  • Diet
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Fruit / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydroxybenzoates / chemistry
  • Hydroxybenzoates / pharmacology
  • Hydroxybenzoates / therapeutic use
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects


  • Anthocyanins
  • Hydroxybenzoates
  • protocatechuic acid
  • pelargonidin
  • cyanidin
  • delphinidin