Asparagus Fights Diabetes Controls Blood Sugar, Rat Study
Asparagus Fights Diabetes Controls Blood Sugar – High doses of asparagus extract had a significant effect on insulin production in tests, controlling blood glucose by improving insulin secretion and beta-cell function in streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetic rats.
Asparagus could be a powerful new culinary weapon in the fight against diabetes. Scientists have found regular intake of the increasingly popular vegetable keeps blood sugar levels under control and boosts the body’s production of insulin, the hormone that helps it to absorb glucose.
Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90% of all diabetes cases, is emerging as a major health burden. According to the charity Diabetes UK, at the current rate of increase, the numbers affected will rise from around 2.5 million to four million by 2025 and five million by 2030.
More than a million people are already affected by the condition but do not realize they have it, perhaps because they do not recognize symptoms, such as fatigue, thirst, frequent urination, recurrent thrush and wounds that are slow to heal. Left untreated, type two diabetes can raise the risk of heart attacks, blindness and amputation. But if doctors catch it early, it can be well controlled with diet and medication.
Once known as ‘late onset’ diabetes, since it only tended to strike from middle-age onwards, doctors are now beginning to see patients in their teens with the condition. Unhealthy lifestyles have long been thought raise the risks.
High doses of the asparagus extract had a significant effect on insulin production by the pancreas, the organ which releases the hormone into the bloodstream
To see if asparagus could help, scientists at the University of Karachi in Pakistan injected rats with chemicals to induce a diabetic state, with low levels of insulin and high blood sugar content. They then treated half with an extract from the asparagus plant and the other half with an established anti-diabetic drug, called glibenclamide. The rats were fed the asparagus extract in small or large doses every day for 28 days. Blood tests were then carried out to measure changes in their diabetes.
The results, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, showed low levels of the asparagus suppressed blood sugar levels but did not improve insulin output. Only high doses of the extract had a significant effect on insulin production by the pancreas, the organ which releases the hormone into the bloodstream.
The findings support earlier studies highlighting the benefits of asparagus. One published in the British Medical Journal in 2006 showed asparagus triggered an 81% increase in glucose uptake by the body’s muscles and tissues.
In a report on their findings the University of Karachi researchers said: ‘This study suggests asparagus extract exerts anti-diabetic effects.’
It is only a rat study so we always want to be careful making too much of such research until human studies can also find the same results. However, it does demonstrate the hypoglycemic effect that asparagus can have, even in low levels of the asparagus extract. Asparagus is another great vegetable to incorporate into the Roman Diet for better blood sugar management and a healthier lifestyle.
There is a plethora of divergent opinions about nutrition and diabetes management. We believe the guidance we provide In this downloadable, printable e-publication will help you make more informed decisions for thriving health and optimal blood sugar control. We provide practical examples of select foods and how we believe they stack up for inclusion, exclusion or moderated use in the Health-e-Solutions lifestyle.
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Source: Rahman Md. Hafizura, Nurul Kabira and Sidra Chishtia. Asparagus officinalis extract controls blood glucose by improving insulin secretion and β-cell function in streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetic rats. British Journal of Nutrition / Volume 108 / Issue 09 / November 2012, pp 1586-1595. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007114511007148