Type 2 diabetes: Blood sugar treatment includes onions, study suggests

Type 2 diabetes means that the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar or that the insulin it produces is not absorbed by the cells. Insulin regulates blood sugar – the main type of sugar found in the blood. Without this mechanism, blood sugar levels can rise to dangerous levels. Fortunately, there is an effective countermeasure at hand.

According to results presented Thursday at the 97th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society in San Diego, the extract of the onion bulb, Allium cepa, significantly lowered high blood glucose (sugar) and total cholesterol levels in diabetic rats when given with metformin, an anti-diabetic drug.

“Onion is cheap and available and has been used as a nutritional supplement,” said lead researcher Anthony Ojieh, MBBS (MD), MSc, from Delta State University in Abraka, Nigeria.

“It has the potential to be used in the treatment of patients with diabetes.”

To three groups of rats with medically induced diabetes, Ojieh and his colleagues gave metformin and various doses of onion extract – 200, 400 and 600 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day (mg/ kg/day) – to see if this would improve the effects of the drug.

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They also gave metformin and onion extract to three groups of non-diabetic rats with normal blood sugar levels, for comparison.

Two control groups, one non-diabetic and one diabetic, received neither metformin nor onion extract.

Two other groups (one diabetic, one without) received only metformin and no onion extract. Each group contained five rats.

Two doses of onion extract, 400 and 600 mg/kg/day, significantly reduced fasting blood glucose in diabetic rats by 50% and 35%, respectively, from “baseline” levels at the start of l study before rodents received the onion. excerpt, Mr. Ojieh reported.

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Allium cepa was also reported to lower total cholesterol levels in diabetic rats, with the two highest doses again having the greatest effects.

Onion extract caused an increase in mean weight in non-diabetic rats, but not in diabetic rats.

“Onion is not high in calories,” Mr. Ojieh said. “However, it appears to increase metabolic rate and with that increase appetite, leading to increased eating.”

“We need to investigate the mechanism by which the onion caused the reduction in blood sugar,” Ojieh said. “We don’t have an explanation yet.”

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The study, which also involved scientists from Cranfield University in the UK, found that the brown skin and outer layers of onions contain useful amounts of fiber and flavonoids, and that the bulbs contain compounds sulfur and fructans.

Research has shown that because the brown skin of onion is rich in dietary fiber, it can be used as a functional ingredient, and two outer fleshy layers also contain fiber and flavonoids, and have high antioxidant capacity.

Researcher Vanesa Benitez commented: “One solution could be to use onion waste as a natural source of ingredients with high functional value, as this vegetable is rich in compounds beneficial to human health.

She added: “Consumption of fiber reduces the risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and obesity.”

Rachel J. Bradford