Broccoli Sprouts Could Help Manage Blood Sugar

| June 26, 2017

We all know that eating broccoli is good for us. And sprouted broccoli seeds have long been shown to contain anti-cancer and heart-healthy phytochemicals. But now scientists have discovered that these same natural substances could help to control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

In a neat piece of detective work, an international team of researchers created a “genetic signature” for type 2 diabetes, based on 50 genes that have previously been linked to the disorder.1 They then fed the results into a database of more than 3,800 compounds, which used the genetic signature to look for those specifically linked to gene expression in liver cells. A chemical called sulphoraphane looked the most promising.

Sulphoraphane is naturally present in vegetables of the cabbage family – it’s what gives them their characteristic, slightly bitter taste. In laboratory tests, the researchers found that sulphoraphane switched off glucose production in liver cells taken from diabetic rats. And when they tried it with live rats, they saw that sulphoraphane was as effective as the diabetes drug metformin in correcting glucose metabolism.

The next step was a human clinical trial. Since sulphoraphane is most concentrated in sprouted broccoli seeds, they gave 97 obese patients with poorly-controlled type 2 diabetes a concentrated broccoli sprout extract, for 12 weeks. The result was significantly reduced fasting blood glucose and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) levels. And the broccoli sprout extract was well-tolerated, with minimal side effects.

Sulphoraphane could also benefit people with diabetes or metabolic syndrome by helping to prevent heart disease. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties combat the build-up of plaque in the arteries and it triggers genes that produce more than a hundred natural protective compounds in the body.2

In other research, sulphoraphane has shown benefits for the treatment of osteoarthritis, certain cancers, respiratory illnesses and skin and blood disorders. This natural plant chemical is available in supplement form, or you could try sprouting broccoli seeds yourself at home for at tasty addition to your salads.

Wishing you the best of health,

Martin Hum
PhD DHD Nutritionist
for Real Diabetes Truth

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Sources: 

1. National Obesity Forum in association with the Public Health Collaboration. Eat Fat, Cut The Carbs and Avoid Snacking To Reverse Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes (PDF, 338kb). May 2016.

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