Soaking brown rice in water for a full day before cooking might help reduce common damage done by type 1 diabetes. This soaking process “germinates” the brown rice, and produces chemicals that were shown to be beneficial to diabetics. This knowledge could enable production of these specific chemicals as a diabetic treatment.
Brown rice is unmilled, or partially unmilled rice (white rice is milled rice), and among other characteristics, is known to go bad more quickly. For the most part, brown and white rice have similar caloric and carbohydrate contents, but there is added nutrition in the extra outer layer that brown rice contains.
Past research has shown that germinated brown rice helps lower diabetics’ blood glucose level, but the mechanism that enables this beneficial effect was previously unknown. Apparently acylated steryl glucosides (ASG) “normalizes” dysfunctional enzymes and helps control blood sugar levels in diabetics. ASG is a growth factor found in brown rice after germination. “Part of the way we know this growth factor works is by increasing levels of good enzymes that are decreased in diabetes,” says lead author Dr. Seigo Usuki.
Animal models with varying blood sugar levels were fed pre-germinated and germinated brown rice, as well as white rice. The brown rice was soaked in water for 24 hours, which enabled germination and “resurrected” ASG. ASG was then observed to increase levels of certain beneficial enzymes, such as ATpase and HTase, which are decreased due to diabetes. ATpase decrease leads to nerve damage in diabetics, and HTase decrease helps lead to cardiovascular disease.
Because the chemical in germinated brown rice could benefit diabetics, the most obvious conclusion to be taken from the study is that for diabetics who eat brown rice, make sure it is germinated by soaking it a day before consumption. The potentially more profound result of the study is the observed beneficial effect that ASG has on enzymes reduced by diabetes, which could be utilized for new medicines and treatments. “The advantage of knowing this key ingredient and its structure is we can now make a ton of it; you don’t have to rely on rice to produce it or eating rice to get this beneficial effect,” concludes one of the studies authors, Dr. Robert K. Yu.
Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Yu, Robert K. Usuki, Seigo. Baker, Toni. Journal of Lipid Research news release. July 2008.