Bran Cuts Death Risk in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Patients

Type 2 diabetes mellitus in many cases can be prevented by following a modified lifestyle. Studies have suggested that even those who have acquired the disease may well control or even reverse their condition by following a healthy diet.

For example, eating whole grain cereal particularly bran supplemented foods may help reduce risk of premature death in women with type 2 diabetes mellitus, a new study recently published in the journal Circulation suggests.

The study led by Meian He Ph.D. and colleagues from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston Massachusetts found eating high amounts of bran was not only associated with significantly reduced risk of death from all causes, but also from cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) or CVD in women with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Bran is a hard outer layer of cereal grains such as rice, corn, oats, barley, millet and wheat and consists of combined aleurone and pericarp. It is full of dietary fiver and omegas and contains high amounts of starch, protein, vitamins and dietary minerals.

Type 2 Diabetes mellitus is a health condition that can lead to serious complications including  bladder control problems for women, heart disease and stroke, nerve damage, eye disease, erectile dysfunction, foot problems, and kidney failure.

Whole-grain consumption has early been associated with lower risk of heart disease and stroke and mortality in the general population, according to the background in the study report.

The study was meant to determine the association of whole grain, cereal fiber, bran and germ with all-cause and CVD-specific mortalities in women with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

For the study, 7,822 U.S. women with type 2 diabetes mellitus enrolled in the NUrse’ Health Study were followed for up to 26 years during which 852 all-cause deaths and 295 CVD deaths were identified. Subjects’ dietary intakes and potential confounders were assessed regularly with questionnaires.

The subjects were divided into five groups based on their intakes of whole grain, cereal fiber, bran and germ.  After adjusted for age, the highest intakes of whole grain, cereal fiber, bran and germ were associated with a 16 to 31 percent reduction in the risk of death from all causes compared to the lowest intakes.

After further adjustment for possible lifestyle and dietary risk factors, only bran intake was correlated with reduced risk.

Specifically, women in the group with the highest intake of bran were 28 percent less likely to die from all causes compared to those in the group with the lowest intake. This is an inverse association with higher intake leading to lower risk of all-cause death.

Bran intake was also inversely associated with CVD-related death with the highest intake linked with 45 percent reduction in the risk of heart disease and stroke or CVD compared to the lowest intake.

The researchers concluded “Whole-grain and bran intakes were associated with reduced all-cause and CVD-specific mortality in women with diabetes mellitus. These findings suggest a potential benefit of whole-grain intake in reducing mortality and cardiovascular risk in diabetic patients.”

Previous studies have suggested Mediterranean diet, green leafy vegetables, breastfeeding, brown rice, plant-based diet, soy foods, black tea, vitamin D, L-carnitine, turmeric, selenium, bitter melon, fish oil, psyllium fiber and drinking coffee may help prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Meanwhile, half way across the world, S. Haripriya and S. Premakumari from Pondicherry University and Avinashilingam University for Women in India conducted a small trial and proved that eating wheat bran help type 2 diabetes mellitus patients better control their condition.

The trial involved 30 patients aged 45 to 50. Half were assigned 20 grams of wheat bran, which consisted of 42.8 percent dietary fiber, each day for a 6-month period. And another group of 15 diabetics were not given any bran supplements.

For the trial, blood samples were collected at baseline and at the end of the trial to analyse biochemical factors including serum fasting glucose levels, postprandial glucose levels, and glycosylated hemoglobin levels or HbA1C in all the type 2 diabetes mellitus patients.

In the group of diabetes mellitus patients receiving wheat bran supplements, compared to the levels at baseline, the fasting glucose levels at the end of the trial were reduced by an average of 22.8 mg/ml. Controls did not experience any significant change.

Those on the bran supplement also reduced serum postprandial glucose levels by 39.80 mg/ml and the glycosylated hemoglobin or HbA1C by nearly 2 percent while controls did not have any significant change.

HbA1C is considered the most reliable index of long term diabetes control.  Blood sugar tends to fluctuate from day to day and even from hour to hour while HbA1C reflects a true average index of glucose control for a period of 2 to 3 months.

Both groups of diabetes mellitus patients at baseline had 8.39 to 8.45 percent, a level of HbA1C considered by the definition of American Diabetic Association under unsatisfactory control.

After the supplementation trial, diabetes mellitus patients reduced the index by 1.96 percent, pushing the index down to 6.41 percent, a level which is considered under good control.

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