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Vegetables, PUFA rich plant oil help diabetes mellitus

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By Jimmy Downs

Monday Nov 19, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- People with type 2 diabetes mellitus experience high levels of inflammation/oxidative stress, which at least partially explains why they have to face a high risk of cancer.  A study in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research suggests eating vegetables and polyunsaturated fatty acids rich plant oil can help reduce DNA strand breaks, which could otherwise lead to mutagenesis and or carcinogenesis, in those with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The study led by E. Müllner of University of Vienna, Austria and colleagues showed that subjects with diabetes mellitus who ate 300 grams of vegetables and 25 mL of PUFA rich plant oil per day for 8 weeks or two months increased serum levels of antioxidants and reduced glycated hemoglobin or HbA1c, which is a biomarker indicating the severity of diabetes, and DNA strand breaks.

The findings should not be a surprise.  Antioxidants are known to prevent DNA from being damaged by oxidation and other damaging processes like radiation.  Dietary antioxidants can only come in large quantity from vegetables and fruits or in the form of dietary supplements.

The study involved 66 people with diabetes mellitus and 21 without.  All subjects were offered information about the benefits of a healthy diet.   People with diabetes mellitus who did not use 300 grams of vegetables and 25 plant oil reduced HbA1c levels as well, but not reduce oxidative damage to DNA, suggesting that eating 300 grams of vegetables per day prevented DNA damage.

The researchers concluded "This study provides evidence that a healthy diet rich in antioxidants reduces levels of DNA strand breaks in diabetic individuals."

Antioxidants from supplements or vegetables can prevent DNA from being damaged by oxidative stress induced not only by inflammatory diseases like diabetes mellitus, but also by other factors such as ionizing radiation exposure.  For this reason, those who plan to expose themselves to diagnostic radiation may want to take megadoses of antioxidants like vitamin C, E and eat large amounts of antioxidant-rich vegetables before and after radiation exposure to minimize the DNA damage induced by radiation.

For people with diabetes mellitus, it is important not only to maintain high intake of antioxidant-rich vegetables, but also to reduce intake of trans fat and saturated fat, both of which are associated with elevated risk of diabetes mellitus.

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