A new study is showing some promising results that, in the future, lettuce could hold the key to bone health.
Diabetes is a condition that presents a series of problems for the body. One of the problems of this condition, marked by drastic fluctuations in blood sugar, is weaker bones and an increased risk of breaks.
But a research team may have come across a cost-effective way to reduce the risk of breaks and significantly improve the density and quality of bones in diabetics. And they’ve done it by injecting a protein into lettuce.
The University of Pennsylvania-based research team injected insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a protein with a sizeable role in developing and regenerating muscle and bone, into lettuce cells. The cells then became a part of lettuce’s DNA and spread to the leaves.
After freeze-drying and powdering the leaves, they looked at how it worked in mouse and human cells, as well as living mice with diabetes. They noted that it was able to promote cell growth in human and mouse cells, particularly those that needed to grow bones.
On the live follow-up, diabetic mice given the lettuce experienced accelerated bone healing and greater bone density, volume, and area. Basically, the IGF-1 enhanced lettuce greatly improved bone health.
What might be even more impressive about the powdered lettuce is that it has a shelf-life of three years. This could mean that if human studies replicate the findings, it could be a cost-effective method of maintaining skeletal integrity among diabetics.
Bone health is a major concern facing aging individuals. Although this “super lettuce” is unlikely to be available soon, it does promote some very promising results.
In the meantime, you can do your best to reduce the risk of diabetes and bone fractures by staying active, performing resistance training, and eating a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet.