Scientists have isolated a chemical found in broccoli that shows promise in boosting blood glucose control in people suffering from diabetes mellitus.
What Is Diabetes Mellitus?
Diabetes mellitus is the medical term for what you may know simply as diabetes. The two common types of diabetes mellitus are type 1 and type 2.
Diabetes mellitus type 1 is when the pancreas produces insufficient insulin, which your cells need in order to absorb sugar from your blood. If there’s not enough insulin circulating through your bloodstream when you’ve just eaten, your cells will have a hard time taking in the influx of digested carbohydrates. This causes your blood sugar levels to stay elevated, which is toxic to your whole body in the long term. If left untreated, common, but serious, complications that can develop include neuropathy, kidney failure, and necrosis of the lower extremities.
If the complications are serious enough, the only viable treatment may be complete amputation of the affected lower limbs.
The most common cause of type 1 diabetes is autoimmune – the immune system attacks the pancreas and destroys its insulin-producing cells. The onset of diabetes mellitus type 1 is most common around the early teens and is least common past the age of 40, which means if you’re 40 and up and haven’t developed type 1 diabetes, you’re most likely in the clear.
It’s important to note that diabetes mellitus type 1 is not the lifestyle disease commonly associated with diabetes. It’s treated with insulin interventions to help offset the body’s low insulin levels. Thankfully, it’s one of the less common types of diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes mellitus type 2 is when your cells become resistant to insulin, which means they don’t respond by absorbing more sugar when more insulin is pumped into your bloodstream by your pancreas. This causes your blood sugar levels to stay high after eating, which leads to the same dangerous condition as in type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is the infamous disease that’s most caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. Many aspects of your life can increase your risk for insulin resistance, like not sleeping enough, drinking too many sugary sodas, and being too stressed all the time. But being overweight or obese, not exercising enough, and regularly eating a diet high in carbs are among the top causes of diabetes mellitus type 2.
Diabetes mellitus type 2 can be prevented and treated naturally by keeping your cells sensitive to insulin and controlling your blood sugar levels. Exercising regularly has been found to lower insulin resistance. Adopting a diet low in carbs has also been found to lower insulin resistance.
But type 2 diabetes is also prevented and treated with prescription medications that can increase insulin sensitivity and insulin production. Some medications can also directly lower blood sugar levels.
The Newfound Diabetes Mellitus Breakthrough With Broccoli
Scientists wanted to find a better treatment option for diabetes mellitus type 2 sufferers because most diabetes medications can have undesirable side effects, like weight gain. They decided to explore diabetes mellitus on a genetic level and mapped out the genes affected when someone becomes diabetic. They focused on 50 key genes and their alterations in diabetics.
They tried to synthesize these genetic alterations artificially, then experimented with almost 4,000 substances to see if they would restore the genes to their pre-diabetic states.
They discovered that sulforaphane, which is found in broccoli sprouts, exceptionally helped reverse these genetic alterations caused by diabetes mellitus out of all the compounds they tested.
They were able to create a broccoli sprout extract containing a concentrated amount of sulforaphane and instructed participants diagnosed with diabetes mellitus type 2 to take it once a day for about three months. Although both the participants and the control group diabetics were both on metformin, which is a prescription medication that helps normalize blood sugar levels, those who took the broccoli sprout extract had lower glucose production, fasting blood glucose levels, and other markers linked with diabetes mellitus.
The broccoli sprout extract also seemed to bestow protective effects against the development of diabetes mellitus complications, like neuropathy and kidney failure.
If you’re diabetic, you can experience sulforaphane’s blood sugar-lowering effects for yourself by buying a natural broccoli sprout extract and taking one tablet per day. You should consult your doctor beforehand in case your particular situation may not agree with the supplement.
Other Natural Ways to Help Prevent and Treat Diabetes Mellitus
Here are other proven ways to help lower blood sugar and prevent developing diabetes mellitus type 2:
Take vitamin D or go under the sun. Researchers found that patients who regularly took a vitamin D supplement had lower fasting blood sugar levels. You can get your vitamin D by enjoying the summer sun (with sunscreen), eating sunbathed mushrooms, or taking a vitamin D supplement.
Drink coffee without sugar. Scientists also found that drinking coffee regularly can protect you from developing diabetes mellitus. The trick is not putting sugar in the coffee.
Eat plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers found that alpha-linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid common in plant sources of food, can lower your risk for developing diabetes mellitus type 2. You can eat walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, winter squash, and even beans to get your daily omega-3 fatty acids. These foods are also high in fiber, which helps you control your blood sugar by slowing the absorption of digested carbs in your gastrointestinal tract. The fiber acts like a narrow corridor that funnels a steady stream of sugar into your bloodstream rather than all the sugar entering your bloodstream all at once. This supplies you with energy for a longer period of time without spiking your blood sugar levels.
If you’re suffering from diabetes mellitus, taking broccoli sprout extract along with your regular diabetes medications can give you better control of your blood sugar levels and help protect you from diabetes mellitus complications. You should also boost your vitamin D intake and eat more plant-based omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods, which also both help you to treat your diabetes.