A group of scientists found that broccoli contains an ingredient that can help control blood sugar levels in patients that suffer from type 2 diabetes, possibly providing a hypothesis of treatment for everyone suffering from this condition, the chemical known as sulforaphane, can be found in various cruciferous vegetables, and according to tests done in diabetic rats in the laboratory, it appears to reduce the glucose levels.
The researchers used computer models to identify the genetic expressions linked to type 2 diabetes, and then analyzed thousands of chemicals until they identified one that eventually reversed the effects. After the first tests, a 10 percent reduction in blood glucose was detected, which may be sufficient to attenuate complications in the eyes, kidneys and blood.
The dose of the chemical supplied was equivalent to about 5 kilograms of broccoli per day, but the researchers believe that over time they will be able to make it into a powder that you can simply add to food or drink. About 15 percent of patients with diabetes cannot take metformin because it causes kidney complications, making this approach to sulforaphane extremely important.
The two chemicals work by different approaches, and while sulforaphane acts to suppress the enzymes present in the liver that stimulate glucose production, metformin makes the cells more sensitive to insulin, thus consuming more glucose.
In the United States alone, there are more than 29 million people suffering from type 2 diabetes, and this number will probably grow exponentially, so any kind of help is crucial.
Before scientists began testing on humans, they found that sulforaphane also has the ability to reduce glucose production in liver cells, and return liver gene expression to normal levels in rats suffering from the condition.
Further studies will be needed, to ensure the beneficial effect of the chemical, so for now, it is not worth raising the consumption of this type of vegetables.