Researchers have identified an antioxidant – richly occurring in broccoli – as a new antidiabetic substance. A patient study shows significantly lower blood sugar levels in participants who ate broccoli extract with high levels of sulforaphane. “There are strong indications that this can become a valuable supplement to existing medication,” says Dr. Anders Rosengren, Docent in Metabolic Physiology at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and affiliated with the Lund University Diabetes Centre. Publication of the finding in the June 14, 2017 issue of Science Translational Medicine builds on several years’ research at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, and the Faculty of Medicine at Lund University. The open-access article is titled “Sulforaphane Reduces Hepatic Glucose Production and Improves Glucose Control in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes.” The objective of the study was to find new medications against type 2 diabetes by addressing an important disease mechanism: the liver’s elevated glucose production. The classic drug metformin works by doing just that, but often causes gastric side-effects and can also not be taken when kidney function is severely reduced, which affects many with diabetes. The researchers began by mapping the genetic changes in the liver in diabetes. 50 genes proved to play key roles. These were then matched against different substances in the search for compounds that could affect these particular key genes, and thereby attack the disease on a broad front. Of 2,800 substances investigated through computer-based mathematical analyses, sulforaphane proved to have the best characteristics for the task.
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