According to a new study, an antioxidant found in broccoli, called sulforaphane, may provide a new option for treating type 2 diabetes. They identified a substance called sulforaphane that showed it could reduce the exaggerated glucose production from the liver, which is a central mechanism in type 2 diabetes. They used highly concentrated broccoli extract, which would be equivalent to eating about 5 kg of broccoli per day.  When it was given to patients and they measured their glucose control before and 12 weeks after treatment, there was significant improvement in fasting blood glucose and HbA1c  in obese patients. Sulforaphane was used in a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial in humans with type 2 diabetes. All participants were taking metformin — 60 had well-regulated diabetes while 37 had dysregulated diabetes (20 nonobese, 17 obese). Participants were randomized to broccoli extract or placebo for 12 weeks. In the broccoli-extract group HbA1c levels decreased significantly after 12 weeks (P = .004), while the placebo group showed no difference from baseline (P = .5). The participants who started the study with dysregulated diabetes showed significantly reduced fasting blood glucose with broccoli extract compared with placebo (P = .023). And specifically in the obese patients with dysregulated diabetes who received broccoli extract, both fasting blood glucose and HbA1c significantly decreased compared with placebo (P = .036, and P = .034, respectively). Some patients experienced gastrointestinal discomfort and flatulence. But these symptoms disappeared after the first few days, and there was no significant difference in adverse effects between the broccoli-extract group and placebo. They now plan to test the extract in prediabetes to see whether the extract can help prevent diabetes developing. Further studies are needed, however, before broccoli extract can be recommended for patients. — Sci Transl Med. Published online June 24, 2017. Abstract