In a recent study presented at the Endocrine Society’s 97th Annual meeting, research findings indicate that onions may reduce blood sugar levels by 50% in individuals with Type 2 diabetes.
Anthony Ojieh, the study’s primary author from Delta State University in Abraka, Nigeria, noted that vegetables are a readily available, cheap, nutritious supplement that can be utilised to treat diabetic patients.
“Onion is cheap and available and has been used as a nutritional supplement. It has the potential for use in treating patients with diabetes,” Ojieh further said.
He disclosed that pairing an onion bulb extract with the anti-diabetic medication metformin has a potent effect on decreasing blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
How the research was carried out
To carry out the research, medically induced diabetic rats were divided into three groups. Each group was given onion extract to see if it would enhance the metformin performance.
The onion extract was administered at 200mg, 400mg, and 600mg per kilogram of the rat’s weight.
The researchers also fed metformin and onion extract to three groups of non-diabetic rats with normal blood sugar levels.
Of the three groups of diabetic rats, it was found that those who received 400 mg per kilogram of body weight had blood sugar levels of type 2 diabetes reduced by 50%. In contrast, those who received 600 mg per kilogram of body weight had blood sugar levels reduced by 35%.
The diabetic groups receiving 400 and 600 mg also experienced the highest cholesterol reduction. Ojieh, however, admitted his team has not yet understood the mechanism of the results.
“We need to investigate the mechanism by which onion brought about the blood glucose reduction. We do not yet have an explanation,” Ojieh said.
The research found that the extract increased body weight in non-diabetic but not diabetic rats.
According to Ojieh, this was caused by an increase in metabolic rate, which led to an increase in appetite. “Onion is not high in calories,” he explained.
Increased feeding as a result of increased appetite resulted in weight gain.