August 21, 2019

New study demonstrates sulforaphane improves glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes

According to a study published two days ago, researchers demonstrated that sulforaphane improves fasting glucose levels and decreases HbA1c levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Insulin resistance is preventable and reversible through lifestyle changes, proper nutrition, supplements, exercise and stress management. Weight loss and exercise are the best treatments for restoring the body’s ability to respond to insulin.

Metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance are a significant health care problem in the United States. Type 2 diabetes affects more than 300 million people. Up to 15% of patients cannot take metformin because of kidney damage risks.

As a result, researchers sought out to identify compounds that may inhibit disease-associated gene expression changes seen 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. They demonstrated that sulforaphane reduced glucose production by liver cells growing in culture and shifted liver gene expression away from a diseased state in diabetic rats.

Researchers then gave 97 patients with type 2 diabetes patients a concentrated broccoli sprout extracts (BSE) for 12-weeks. As result, BSE reduced fasting glucose in patients with dysregulated type 2 diabetes but not in patients with well-regulated type 2 diabetes. They also observed an association between BMI and BSE-induced change in HbA1c. There were significantly reduced levels of HbA1c after BSE treatment in obese patients with dysregulated type 2 diabetes. BSE was also more effective in lowering fasting blood glucose in patients with elevated triglyceride levels and in patients with high HOMA-IR. The BSE-induced reduction of HbA1c correlated with high fatty liver index.

These results demonstrate that sulforaphane reduces glucose production by NRF2 translocation and decreased expression of key gluconeogenetic enzymes and improves fasting glucose and HbA1c in obese patients with dysregulated type 2 diabetes. Sulforaphane reduces glucose production by mechanisms different than metformin and also protects against diabetic neuropathy, renal failure, and atherosclerosis due to its antioxidative effects.

In addition, there are several nutrients that can play a role in improving insulin signaling such as chromium, zinc, carnosine, benfotiamine, alpha lipoic acid, and inositol.

Also, essential fatty acids should be consumed in our diets for overall health, but most individuals with insulin resistance are deficient. Fish oils improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. 

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

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

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