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Yes, Eating Onions Can Lower High Blood Sugar

Hyperglycemia, or “high blood sugar” is a precursor to and a complication of diabetes.

Rates of type 2 diabetes are on the rise. The CDC estimates that 1 in 10 people in America have diabetes, and 90 to 95% of those are type 2 cases.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition that causes too much sugar in your blood. However, new research has found that a common vegetable – the onion – can lower blood sugar levels by 50 percent.

Research presented at The Endocrine Society’s 97th annual meeting in San Diego, revealed that the extract of an onion bulb can “strongly lower” high blood sugar and total cholesterol levels when given alongside the antidiabetic drug metformin.

Lead study author Anthony Ojieh of Delta State University in Abraka, Nigeria, said at the time, “Onion is cheap and available and has been used as a nutritional supplement. It has the potential for use in treating patients with diabetes.” 

The study presented used diabetes-induced rats. 

The study found that, of the diabetic rats, those given 400mg and 600mg per kilogram of body weight of onion extract “strongly reduced” their blood sugar levels by 50 percent and 35 percent, respectively, compared with a baseline level.

The onion extract also lowered the total cholesterol level in diabetic rats, with the 400mg and 600mg having the greatest effects.

The study also found that the onion extract led to weight gain among the nondiabetic rats, but not the diabetic rats.

“Onion is not high in calories,” Ojieh explained. “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. We do not yet have an explanation.”

In the past, onions have also been found to exhibit other healthy and antiaging properties because they are high in the phytonutrient quercetin. Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant that has been associated with lowering cholesterol and other cardiovascular benefits, and it could also be the source of the onion’s power to lower blood sugar. 

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