A powder containing a highly concentrated dose of sulforaphane, a chemical found in broccoli sprouts, was able to lower blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published Wednesday (June 14) in Science Translational Medicine.
“We’re very excited about the effects we’ve seen and are eager to bring the extract to patients,” study coauthor Anders Rosengren of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden tells New Scientist. “We saw a reduction of glucose of about 10 percent, which is sufficient to reduce complications in the eyes, kidneys, and blood.”
Rosengren and colleagues conducted a 12-week placebo-controlled trial in which 97 people with type 2 diabetes took either a highly concentrated sulforaphane powder (with a dose 100 times that found naturally in broccoli) or a placebo. Most participants continued to take metformin, a drug commonly used to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics.
The team discovered that their compound was able to reduce participant’s fasting blood glucose by 10 percent compared with those who took the placebo. The effects were strongest in individuals who were obese.
“More research is needed to see if this repurposed drug can be used to treat type 2 diabetes, as it was only tested in a small number of people and only helped a subset of those who are taking it,” Elizabeth Robertson, director of research at the charity Diabetes UK who was not involved in the study, tells New Scientist. “For now, we recommend that people continue with the treatment prescribed by their healthcare team.”