Broccoli contains active compounds against diabetes

Type 2 diabetes afflicts more than 300 million people globally, and as many as 15% of those patients cannot take the first-line therapy metformin because of the risks of kidney damage associated with the drug. Seeking an alternative treatment, researchers from Lund University, in Sweden, used a computational approach to identify compounds that might counter the disease-associated gene expression changes associated with type 2 diabetes.

The researchers constructed a signature for type 2 diabetes based on 50 genes, then used publically available expression datasets to screen 3,852 compounds for drugs that potentially reverse disease. The most promising candidate from this analysis is sulforaphane, a naturally occurring compound found in broccoli and other vegetables. The results showed that sulforaphane inhibits glucose production in cultured cells and improved glucose tolerance in animal models on high fat or high-fructose diets. Mechanistically, the researchers noted that sulforaphane shifted liver gene expression away from a diseased state in diabetic rats.

Then the researchers gave concentrated broccoli sprout extracts to 97 human type 2 diabetes patients in a 12-week randomized placebo-controlled trial. The clinical trial results showed that sulforaphane-containing broccoli sprout extract was well tolerated and significantly decreased fasting blood glucose level in human patients with obesity and dysregulated type 2 diabetes.

So, if you need another reason to eat your broccoli, here you have it. Next time, when ordering your side dish, skip the fries and opt for the steamed broccoli.

Thanks for reading.

Journal Reference: Annika S. Axelsson et al. Sulforaphane reduces hepatic glucose production and improves glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetesScience Translational Medicine, 2017 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aah4477
Source: Informed Nutrition

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