Insulin resistance is an abnormal physiological state that occurs when insulin from pancreatic β-cells is unable to trigger a signal transduction pathway in target organs such as the liver, muscles and adipose tissues. The loss of insulin sensitivity is generally associated with persistent hyperglycemia (diabetes), hyperinsulinemia, fatty acids and/or lipid dysregulation which are often prevalent under obesity conditions. Hence, insulin sensitizers are one class of drugs currently employed to treat diabetes and associated metabolic disorders. A number of natural products that act through multiple mechanisms have also been identified to enhance insulin sensitivity in target organs. One group of such compounds that gained interest in recent years are the dietary anthocyanins. Data from their in vitro, in vivo and clinical studies are scrutinized in this communication to show their potential health benefit through ameliorating insulin resistance. Specific mechanism of action ranging from targeting specific signal transduction receptors/enzymes to the general antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms of insulin resistance are presented.
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