Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Food Science and Human Nutrition


Mary Ellen Camire

Second Committee Member

Alfred A. Bushway

Third Committee Member

Adrienne White


Diabetes affects approximately 250 million people worldwide and health care costs related to diabetes equal approximately $98 billion each year. Aldose reductase has been shown to contribute to the side effects of diabetes including kidney disease, nerve disease, and retinopathy. Cranberries contain anthocyanins and other flavonoids that have been shown in vitro to inhibit the enzyme aldose reductase and to inhibit protein glycosylation. It is believed that daily cranberry supplementation could reduce side effects of diabetes. Twenty-seven adults with type 2 diabetes were recruited for this 12 week double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Fasting blood analysis was done at weeks 0, 6, and 12. The blood analyses included: cholesterol (total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL, and percent HDL), glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA, c), blood glucose, insulin, fructosamine, aldose reductase activity, and hexanal. The subjects were asked to take 6 capsules each day that contained either spray-dried cranberry powder or a placebo. The placebo consisted of cellulose and artificial food coloring, as well as sucrose, fructose, magnesium hydroxide, and ascorbic acid in the same concentrations as in the cranberry powder. Improvements were seen in blood glucose levels, HbAic, fructosamine, insulin, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and percent HDL for some subjects. Glucose levels were significantly lower (p = 0.036) at week 12 in subjects who had diabetes more than 5 years in the cranberry group compared to the placebo group. At week 6, in subjects less than 50 years of age, blood glucose levels decreased significantly (p = 0.030) in the cranberry group compared to the placebo group. HbAlc levels decreased significantly (p = 0.031) in the cranberry group at week 6 in subjects who had diabetes more than 5 years. Fructosamine levels improved significantly in patients less than age of 50 in the cranberry group compared to the placebo group from week 0 to week 6 (p = 0.027). Triglyceride and total cholesterol levels were significantly lower (p = 0.013 and p = 0.007 respectively) in the cranberry group than the placebo group in subjects who had diabetes more than 5 years. Cranberry supplementation may be beneficial for individuals with diabetes. More research is needed in subjects with poor glycemic control and to determine proper dosages.