Meet Marisa Pellegrini, ND


Marisa Pellegrini, ND, to Present Diabetes Research in Korea

For more than three years, Marisa Pellegrini, ND ('10), has been intricately involved with diabetes patients at Bastyr Center for Natural Health as a clinical supervisor in the Diabetes and Cardiovascular Wellness specialty clinic.

But during that time, she also has been working behind the scenes researching the nutritional supplement quercetin and its potential role in helping individuals with diabetes.

Her work as co-investigator on the Bastyr University study will be presented at the 10th annual International Congress on Complementary Medicine Research held May 13-15, 2015, in South Korea.

“I’ve always had an interest in diabetes,” says Dr. Pellegrini, who lost an uncle to complications from the disease. “There is so much that naturopathic medicine has to offer regarding prevention and treatment of diabetes. It is important field of research since this condition affects so many people worldwide.”

Naturopathic Approach to Diabetes

As a naturopathic physician, Dr. Pellegrini puts a bigger focus on diet and lifestyle modifications than on medications for patients in the Diabetes and Cardiovascular Wellness clinic.

Significant research has shown that diet and lifestyle modifications are more effective in preventing type-2 diabetes than early pharmaceutical care.

“Through nutrition and lifestyle changes, we are able to significantly impact the course of disease,” Dr. Pellegrini says. 

Patients in the specialty clinic benefit from education about their condition(s), comprehensive lifestyle guidance, naturopathic perspectives on choices in medications, and recommendations for supplemental nutritional and botanical treatments.

Quercetin to Lower Blood Sugar?

Dr. Pellegrini implemented the quercetin study under the leadership of principal investigator Ryan Bradley, ND (’03), MPH, when she served as the chief resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in 2012-13.

Preliminary research on quercetin had shown it had the potential to help lower blood sugar and improve blood vessel function; this new Bastyr University study aimed to prove whether previous results were replicable in people with uncontrolled diabetes.

With help from naturopathic residents and physicians at Bastyr Center, the study consisted of 19 participants ages 18-75 with type-2 diabetes tested three times over the course of a couple of months.

“A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this study, and there have been a lot of people helping Dr. Bradley and I over the years,” Dr. Pellegrini says, specifically naming Lela Altman, ND, MS, LAc (’11), and Sara Parent, ND, as significant contributors. “In addition, we absolutely could not have done this without the help of our 19 participants, so I’d like to send out a special thanks to them.”

Read the posting of the study: “Effects of Quercetin on Blood Sugar and Blood Vessel Function in Type 2 Diabetes.”

Results Still Not Published

Although Dr. Pellegrini and Dr. Bradley are giving an oral presentation on the research study’s abstract next month in South Korea, its results have yet to be released and published, Dr. Pellegrini says.

“This is a unique opportunity to share the information we learned here at Bastyr with the research community on an international level,” she says. Every year, the International Congress on Complementary Medicine Research moves to a different location around the globe, reaching a broad swath of researchers.

In the meantime, Drs. Pellegrini and Bradley hope to publish the results of their study in a research journal in the near future. Keep an eye on the Bastyr University Research Institute web page for more information or to learn more about other Bastyr research projects.

To make an appointment in the Diabetes and Cardiovascular Wellness clinic at Bastyr Center, go to the make and appointment page or call 206-834-4100.


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