Broccoli is more than just a vegetable, it is a lifesaver.
A student from the University of Queensland (UQ) is investigating the beneficial effects that a broccoli has against the dreaded type 2 diabetes. Published on May 10, 2013 at the university’s website, Ann Nie Kong, a scholarship student from UQ, is conducting a study regarding the relationship between the broccoli sprout powder and the stress levels of patients with type 2 diabetes.
Kong, who studies under UQ’s School of Human Movement Studies, took on the research on broccoli due to the presence of sulforaphane, an ingredient in broccoli that exhibits anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties. She stated that sulforaphane contains many health benefits including lessening of oxidative stress levels on patients. Oxidative stress is considered as one of the causes of many illnesses that include type 2 diabetes, Kong added.
Previous studies conducted on the effects of sulforaphane showed that it reduced diabetes complications; however, Kong’s research is an exception, citing that it is a first when a certain broccoli product shall be made use in a clinical experiment to examine the outcome of a broccoli sprout product in patients afflicted with type 2 diabetes. It was discovered that broccoli sprouts contained the highest content of sulforaphane compared to other cruciferous vegetables.
Aside from broccoli, sulforaphane is also present in other cruciferous vegetables, although at a lesser extent, such as cabbages and brussels sprouts. The molecule is produced through the enzyme myrosinase, which alters glucoraphanin (a glucosinolate), transforming it to sulforaphane, when the plant is damaged, in instances during chewing. It is found out that those rich in glucoraphanin are young sprouts of cauliflower and broccoli.
Studies show that sulforaphane has its benefits on various diseases including stopping of uncontrollable cell division, which is linked with the early stages of cancer, and reducing chronic inflammation present in cardiovascular diseases.
Moreover, studies in the past have shown that people consuming broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have regularly shown a lower risk in contracting chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Also, researchers have established that the substances present in broccoli operate as anti-oxidants that detoxify various enzymes within the body. Further studies have also implied the alteration of estrogen levels in the body brought about by the substances, which might lower the risk of breast cancer.
The cultivation of broccoli commercially started in the United States around the 1920s, though the vegetable has been around for 2,000 years. At present, ninety percent of the broccoli produced in the U.S. is from California.
The research on the relationship between consuming a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables primarily broccoli and its effect on the lessening of risk against cancer started around two decades ago. But the study on the specific chemicals found within broccoli was established not until around the 1990s, which helped identify the cancer-fighting contents of the vegetable. Further, a study was published in 1997 which made known that broccoli sprouts had a higher level of the substances than in matured ones.
With the study, UQ stated on its website that it is looking for participants that will take part of the clinical trials of Kong’s research, delving on the effects of broccoli sprout powder on type 2 diabetic patients.
Together with Kong in her study are PhD student Christine Houghton, Gary Wilson, the scientific officer, and supervisors Professor Jeff Coombes and Professor Robert Fassett all from the University of Queensland. They will be conducting the clinical trials with the goal to develop a treatment for type 2 diabetes.
The researchers are hoping to see a decrease in the effect of type 2 diabetes on the patients who will undergo the clinical trials—they will be given supplemental intervention using the broccoli sprout powder.
Furthermore, there will be two clinical trials to be conducted starting July 2013. For the first trial, it will run for seven days with 10 participants, while the second trial will need 80 participants and will last for four months.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes which is due to the ineffective use of insulin by the body. Ninety-percent of people afflicted with diabetes are those with type 2 diabetes, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported. The other 10 percent are people afflicted with type 1 diabetes and gestational diabetes mellitus. WHO estimates that there are already 347 million people worldwide afflicted with diabetes.
Also, an increased risk in cardiovascular disease (CVD) is found to be one of the major illnesses contracted by people with diabetes. Cardiovascular disease is accountable for the almost 50 percent to 80 percent of deaths among people having diabetes.
As of this writing, no known cure has yet been discovered for diabetes. However, some countermeasures can be taken to ensure that the disease will not progress. Keeping blood sugar levels under the normal levels is of paramount importance.