Sulforaphane Improves Glucose Control

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A recently published study on 14 June 2017 in the journal Science Translational Medicine entitled, “Sulforaphane reduces hepatic glucose production and improves glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes”, found that sulforaphane-containing broccoli sprout extract was well tolerated and improved fasting glucose in human patients with obesity and dysregulated type 2 diabetes.  1 

The authors of the study analyzed the pattern of gene expression associated with type 2 diabetes and compared it to the gene signatures for thousands of drug candidates to find compounds that could counteract the effects of diabetes. By interrogating a library of 3800 drug signatures, the leading candidate from this analysis was sulforaphane, a natural compound found in broccoli,broccoli sprouts, brussel sprouts and other vegetables.

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Figure 1.  Sulforaphane molecule

The authors showed that sulforaphane inhibits glucose production in cultured cells by activating nuclear translocation of nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 (NRF2) and improves glucose tolerance in rodents on high-fat or high-fructose diets.  It also decreased expression of key enzymes in gluconeogenesis.

Moreover, sulforaphane reversed the disease signature in the livers from diabetic animals and attenuated exaggerated glucose production and glucose intolerance by a magnitude similar to that of the drug metformin.

Finally, sulforaphane, provided as concentrated broccoli sprout extract, reduced fasting blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in obese patients with dysregulated type 2 diabetes.

  

Summary of Benefits of Sulforaphane in Type 2 Diabetes

  • Inhibits glucose production by activating NRF2
  • Improves glucose tolerance
  • Decreased expression of key enzymes in gluconeogenesis
  • Reduced fasting blood glucose
  • Reduced glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c)

Related article:  Broccoli Sprouts and the Health Benefits of Sulforphane