Broccoli contains an ingredient that can help those with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar level according to a new study.
Sulforaphane, a chemical in vegetables such as broccoli and sprouts, is thought to be responsible in lowering glucose levels as experiments on diabetic rats revealed. It’s is thought that sulforaphane might be a replacement to metformin for some patients, up to fifteen percent of those with diabetes can’t take metformin because of it’s risk of liver and kidney damage. Sulforaphane deactivates enzymes in the liver that stimulate glucose output, on the other hand, Metformin makes cells more sensitive to insulin, reducing the amount of glucose in the bloodstream.
Researchers used computer models to identify genetic changes linked with type 2 diabetes, and then searched through thousands of chemicals that might reverse or inhibit further genetic changes. sulforaphane has been found to be able to reduce glucose production in liver cells, and reverse abnormalities in liver gene expression in diabetic rats. “We’re very excited about the effects we’ve seen and are eager to bring the extract to patients.” one of the researchers, Anders Rosengren of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, said at New Scientist.
“We saw a reduction of glucose of about 10 percent, which is sufficient to reduce complications in the eyes, kidneys and blood.” That 10 percent average reduction was across a sample of 97 human volunteers taking part in a 12-week placebo-controlled trial. The dose was equivalent of about 5 kilograms of broccoli daily, but the researchers say it could be adapted into a powder to add to food or drinks.
It’s important to note that all but three of those taking part in the trial continued to take metformin, a drug already used to improve blood sugar regulation in people with diabetes. More detailed and intense studies are required before the drug can get approved for regular treatments though, and until then it’s probably wise to keep your vegetable intake to a normal healthy level, and people should continue with the treatment prescribed by their healthcare team.