Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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One in 10 people in the UK are predicted to have type 2 diabetes by 2030 – a startling figure. This prevalence makes managing the condition critical: failing to manage the condition could cause the healthcare system to implode under the pressure. The most important aspect of diabetes control is regulating blood sugar levels.
High blood sugar levels – the main threat posed by type 2 diabetes – can be lowered by making simple dietary modifications.
Research suggests a cheap ingredient can cause high blood sugar levels to plummet.
Researchers investigated the blood sugar-lowering benefits of an onion extract prepared from an onion bulb.
“Onion is cheap and available and has been used as a nutritional supplement,” said lead investigator Anthony Ojieh, MBBS (MD), MSc, of Delta State University in Abraka, Nigeria.
“It has the potential for use in treating patients with diabetes.”
To test the hypothesis, Ojieh and his colleagues gave metformin and varying doses of onion extract – 200, 400 and 600 milligrams per kilogram of body weight daily – to three groups of rats with medically induced diabetes.
The primary aim was to see if it would enhance the drug’s effects.
They also gave metformin and onion extract to three groups of non-diabetic rats with normal blood sugar, for comparison.
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Metformin is one of the main drug treatments prescribed for diabetes.
Two control groups, one non-diabetic and one diabetic, received neither metformin nor onion extract.
Another two groups (one with diabetes, 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, strongly reduced fasting blood sugar levels in diabetic rats by 50 percent and 35 percent, respectively, compared with “baseline” levels at the start of the study before the rodents received onion extract, Ojieh reported.
The onion extract also reportedly lowered the total cholesterol level in diabetic rats, with the two larger doses again having the greatest effects.
“We need to investigate the mechanism by which onion brought about the blood glucose reduction,” Ojieh said. “We do not yet have an explanation.”
If this were to be administered to humans, it would usually be purified so that only the active ingredients would be quantified for adequate dosing, Ojieh said.
General tips to lower blood sugar levels
The key to lowering blood sugar levels is to monitor your carbohydrate content – carbs are broken down into blood glucose (sugar) faster than other food groups, which causes a spike in blood sugar levels.
Physical exercise helps lower your blood sugar level. You should aim for 2.5 hours of activity a week, advises the NHS.
Type 2 diabetes – main symptoms
Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision.
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