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Medical professionals are studying the effects of broccoli on lowering blood sugar levels
In our childhood, many of us have certainly heard from their parents that they should eat their vegetables because they are healthy for the body. Some doctors would like to prescribe vegetables such as broccoli to their patients in order to allow them to benefit from the positive effects. Researchers have now developed a powder of broccoli extract that can lower the blood sugar level of people with type 2 diabetes by up to ten percent.
The scientists at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found in their investigation that a newly developed powder, which contains a concentrated extract of broccoli, lowers blood sugar levels by up to ten percent in people with type 2 diabetes. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Science Translational Medicine".
Effects of type 2 diabetes
In people with type 2 diabetes, the body does not respond to insulin, which normally controls the level of glucose in the blood. Abnormal insulin regulation causes an increase in blood sugar levels. This leads to an increased risk of heart attacks, blindness and kidney problems in humans, the experts explain. People with type 2 diabetes often take metformin, which lowers blood sugar. However, about 15 percent of those affected cannot use this form of therapy because it can lead to kidney damage, the authors add.
Doctors examine almost 100 subjects for their study
A substance called sulforaphane is naturally found in broccoli sprouts. This sulforaphane has the ability to reduce glucose levels in diabetic rats. The Swedish researchers are now trying to find out whether the same positive effect also occurs in humans. For this purpose, the scientists administered 97 subjects with type 2 diabetes a concentrated dose of sulforaphane for a period of three months. Some of the subjects received only a placebo. All but three of the subjects also continued to use meformin, the scientists explain. Despite the lack of metformin, these participants were able to control their condition relatively well.
Powder taken daily contained sulforaphane from about five kilos of broccoli
The concentration of sulforaphane administered was about 100 times higher than that naturally found in broccoli. The amount was comparable to the consumption of about five kilos of broccoli per day, explains author Anders Rosengren from the University of Gothenburg.
Which people were most effective with the extract?
On average, people's blood sugar levels were reduced by ten percent when they took the broccoli extract. The extract was most effective in overweight participants with so-called dysregulated diabetes, the researchers say. The observed effects were very gratifying and a future application on patients would be very interesting, emphasizes study author Rosengren. We found a reduction in glucose of around ten percent, reports the expert. This is enough to reduce complications in the eyes, kidneys and blood.
How do metformin and sulphoraphane affect the body?
Further research showed that both metformin and sulphoraphane reduce blood sugar levels, but in completely different ways. Metformin makes cells more sensitive to insulin. Sulphoraphane reduces glucose by suppressing liver enzymes, which otherwise stimulate glucose production, the researchers say.
Broccoli extract helps when patients have kidney complications
Broccoli extract is not competitive with metformin, but there are many people with diabetes who cannot take metformin due to kidney complications, the scientists explain. For such people, broccoli extract could be an ideal substitute, according to the doctors. (as)