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June 2023
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“Finish those vegetables before you have your dessert!”: The Importance of Broccoli Concerning Diabetes

Broccoli Paul Thornalley, professor at the University of Warwick and several of his colleagues were determined to find a way to mend the damage done to heart blood vessels in diabetes cases. These defective blood vessels are swarming with three times the normal amount of oxidative molecules called Reactive Oxygen Species, which makes the risk of a diabetes patient
developing heart disease or a stroke five times more likely than someone in good health. As was posted on the online journal Diabetes, broccoli was the researchers’ big answer.

Former studies had proven that consuming a large amount of vegetables, like broccoli was a good option for bypassing heart disease or stroke, but Thornalley and his fellow researchers wanted to know the reasoning behind this.  Their theory was linked to the sulforaphane found within vegetables, which is a know activator of nrf2, a protein that helps increase antioxidants as well as protective and metabolic enzymes.

To test this, they cultured human microvascular HMEC-1 endothelial cells.  Some were low in glucose concentrations and others were high (3 and 30 mMole, respectively).  They analyzed the effects of adding sulforaphane to the mix in order to determine if the activation of nrf2 could prevent any damage to the heart blood vessels or have any result on the Reactive Oxygen Species molecules.

Based on the results, the researchers wrote, “Activation of nrf2 may prevent biochemical dysfunction and related functional responses of endothelial cells induced by hyperglycemia in which increased expression of transketolase has a pivotal role.”  The transketolase in their statement refers to an enzyme that converts harmful glucose byproducts so that they can be safely removed from the body.

In the study, the sulforaphane was able to double the amount of nfr2 typically activated, which in turn doubled the amount of antioxidants and enzymes.  The nfr2 itself reduced Reactive Oxygen Species molecules and prevented the increase of them by an impressive seventy-three percent. 

Regarding their findings, Thornalley said, “[The study] Suggests that compounds such as sulforaphane from broccoli may help counter processes linked to the development of vascular disease in diabetes.”

Although further studies will have to be done with human volunteers suffering from diabetes, even healthy skeptics see the importance of the work done at the University of Warwick.  Diabetes UK charity director of research, Dr Iain Frame said, “Professor Thornalley and his team have identified a potentially important substance that may protect and repair blood vessels from the damaging effects of diabetes.” 

Even the American Diabetes Association cites vegetables like broccoli as a good option for those with the disease.  They suggest eating three servings a day and even compiled a list of helpful tips in order to implore patients to heed their advice. 

Should further studies be conducted and people start taking their mothers’ old warnings to finish the vegetables from their plate, then perhaps the devastating effects of diabetes to the heart can be prevented.

Related Posts

  1. Benefits of Broccoli in your Diet
  2. More Broccoli, Please: An Extra Helping or Two May Prevent Prostate Cancer, Study Finds
  3. Broccolicious!
  4. New Diabetes Drug “Comes At A Price”…
  5. Dangers of Diabetes Drugs

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