Wild cucumber may help with blood sugar control

A compound that is found in wild cucumber may help to improve blood sugar control, according to a new study from the University of California, Davis.

Cucurbitacins are compounds that make certain fruits, like cucumber, pumpkin, melon, watermelon and squash, taste slightly bitter. As it turns out, these compounds can also improve conditions like cancer and diabetes.

Mice who were injected with cancerous cells were 60 percent less likely to develop cancer if they had consumed high levels of the bitter juice derived from wild cucumber. Researchers say that the juice's enzymes were able to cut off the "food supply" to cancer cells by inhibiting glucose transportation.

Wild cucumber and diabetes

The study also found that cucurbitacin could also lower blood sugar levels considerably, which could help to prevent or treat diabetes.

Wild cucurbits leaves have had a place in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, namely to help treat liver disease, reports UC Davis.

"The new research shows how domestication tweaked cucumber genetics to make the fruit more edible," said Sanwen Huang Lucas, study investigator. "Understanding that process might open up approaches to developing other food crops based on plants that are naturally either inedible or poor in nutrition. It could also make it much easier to produce cucurbitacins in large enough quantities to use in clinical trials and potentially in medicine."

Source: UC Davis

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