There is evidence that points to dandelion compounds being effective in protecting the liver and the kidneys.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which excess fat in the liver makes it more difficult for the liver to function. The excess fat build-up is not caused by alcohol but, rather, is associated with the adoption of a sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary practices. One study evaluated the effectiveness of using dandelion in patients with a history of high blood pressure and concurrent chronic liver injury. In addition to conventional drugs, the patients received a dandelion decoction twice a day over five months. The researchers evaluated blood pressure levels, liver enzymes and other parameters. The results demonstrated a mild reduction in blood pressure and enhancement of regenerative capabilities in the liver. During the trial, 93.8% of those taking the intervention had maintained blood pressure lower than 140/90.
A second animal study evaluated the hepatoprotective effects of a dandelion root extract and compared that against treatment with silymarin (an extract from milk thistles). The researchers then measured liver and kidney parameters and oxidative stress markers. The data demonstrated that the dandelion root extract helped to lower liver and kidney injury, as well as improve triglyceride levels and oxidative stress tests. The researchers concluded that the extract had a “hepatoprotective effect and reduces renal dysfunction. These effects were correlated with the antioxidant activity and systemic oxidative stress reduction.”
Dandelions Help Manage Blood Sugar
Diabetes is a metabolic condition with insulin resistance as its hallmark symptom. Affecting a growing number of people who have the condition it is of concern as along with diabetes are several health complications including glaucoma, peripheral neuropathy, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. In addition to having an effect on your cardiovascular system and blood pressure, dandelion plants can also help manage blood sugar.
A 2021 study published in Food Chemistry found flavonoids from the dandelion plant could inhibit pancreatic alpha amylase in a noncompetitive manner. Pancreatic alpha amylase is manufactured in the pancreas and used in the initial step of carbohydrate metabolism to produce glucose. This function is likely one of the mechanisms that make dandelion compounds antidiabetic. In some countries, dandelions are used for blood sugar control. Much of the initial research into dandelions demonstrated promising results against Type 2 diabetes. However, further work, is needed. During the fall months, the dandelion plant becomes higher in inulin. This is a dietary fiber that acts as a prebiotic to nourish beneficial gut bacteria and may help control blood sugar.
In one study, participants with prediabetes took an inulin supplement for 18 weeks. The group taking inulin lost weight and liver fat. Researchers believe by promoting weight loss and reducing hepatocellular and muscle fat, the inulin had a positive impact on fasting blood sugar measurements.
In an earlier study, insulin supplementation also improved glycemic indices in women with Type 2 diabetes. The normalization of liver fat may help reduce insulin resistance and improve Type 2 diabetes.
To be continued…