Recently released study shows that onions can help in blood sugar and Diabetes type 2 treatment

When someone has type 2 diabetes, either their pancreas does not create enough insulin to properly manage their blood sugar levels or the insulin that their pancreas does make is not properly used by their cells. Insulin is the hormone that controls blood sugar, which is the primary form of sugar that is present in blood. If this system isn’t working, the sugar levels in your blood might reach potentially harmful heights. To our great good fortune, an efficient countermeasure is readily available.

When administered to diabetic rats in conjunction with the anti-diabetic medication metformin, an extract of the onion bulb, also known as Allium cepa, was found to have a significant ameliorating effect on both high blood glucose (sugar) levels and total cholesterol levels. These findings were presented on Thursday at the 97th annual meeting of The Endocrine Society in San Diego.

“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.”

Mr. Ojieh and his colleagues gave metformin and varying doses of onion extract – 200, 400, and 600 milligrams per kilogram of body weight daily (mg/kg/day) – to three different groups of diabetic rats in order to determine whether or not the onion extract could boost the effects of the drug. The diabetes in the rats was caused by a medical procedure.

In order to make a comparison, they also administered metformin and onion extract to three groups of non-diabetic rats whose blood sugar levels were normal.

Both of the control groups, one of which did not have diabetes and the other of which did, did not receive metformin or onion extract.

Two further groups, one of which had diabetes and the other of which did not, were given simply metformin and not onion extract. There were five rats in each of the groups.

According to the findings reported by Mr. Ojieh, two doses of onion extract, 400 and 600 mg/kg/day, significantly lowered the levels of fasting blood sugar in diabetic rats by approximately 50 and 35 percent, respectively, compared with the “baseline” levels measured at the beginning of the study, before the diabetic rodents were given onion extract.

According to the findings, Allium cepa was also able to reduce the total cholesterol level in diabetic rats, with the two bigger dosages producing the most significant results once again.

The non-diabetic rats that were given onion extract showed a rise in their overall weight, but the diabetic rats did not.

“Onion is not high in calories,” Mr Ojieh said. “However, it seems to increase the metabolic rate and, with that, to increase the appetite, leading to an increase in feeding.”

“We need to investigate the mechanism by which onion brought about the blood glucose reduction,” Mr Ojieh said. “We do not yet have an explanation.”

The research, which also included the participation of researchers from Cranfield University in the United Kingdom, discovered that the brown skin and surface layers of onions contain significant quantities of flavonoids and fiber, while the bulbs contain sulphurous chemicals and fructans.

According to the findings of the research, the brown skin of the onion, which is rich in dietary fiber, has the potential to be employed as a functional component. Furthermore, the two outer fleshy layers also contain fiber and flavonoids, and they have a high capacity for antioxidants.

Due to the abundance of components that are beneficial to human health, researcher Vanesa Benitez suggested that “one answer may be to use onion trash as a natural source of nutrients with high functional value.”

She added: “Eating fibre reduces the risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal complaints, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and obesity.”

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