According to a team of scientists, one of the chemical compounds commonly found in broccoli could potential become an alternative treatment method for people with type 2 diabetes.
Research on the matter was led by Annika Axelsson, part of the Diabetes Centre of the Lund University in Malmö, Sweden. Together with her team, she created the “disease signature” of type 2 diabetes, which was based on 50 genes. Then, this was compared to various “drug signatures”. These are used to map the interactions between chemicals and their genetic targets.
Together with her team, Axelsson tested over 3,850 such compounds, with sulforaphane showing the most promising results. This is a compound generally found in many cruciferous vegetables, for example, cabbage or brussels sprouts, and especially broccoli.
Broccoli Compound Active in Dealing With Type 2 Diabetes
The research team then tested the effects of sulforaphane on cultured human liver cells. It also studied its benefits for diabetes-suffering mice and their altered liver gene expression.
Experiment results showed that sulforaphane had different responses, per the targeted use. For example, in the culture liver cells, it helped reduce the glucose production. In the case of the diabetes affected mice, the broccoli compound was noted to shift the liver’s gene expression away from the disease.
These tests and results were then followed by a small clinical trial involving 97 patient suffering from type 2 diabetes and obesity. Trial participants were given either a concentrated broccoli compound extract or a placebo. These were both administered on a daily basis, over 12 weeks time.
Clinical trial results showed that participants who were given the compound presented significantly reduced glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and fasting blood glucose levels.
Based on the study result tests, the team concluded that this broccoli compound could potentially reverse the type 2 diabetes signature. In doing so, it may also possibly act as a new way of controlling blood glucose level.
However, “At this point, we cannot recommend that anyone take the currently available extracts on the market to treat type 2 diabetes,” stated Dr. Anders Rosengren.
He is the senior researcher of this new study. Dr. Rosengren added that increasing the daily consumption of broccoli could be useful. But even a plateful of broccoli could not account for the levels of sulforaphane used during the study.
More research on the matter is still needed. Current research results are available in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
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