Whether you have a family history of diabetes, or you’re simply concerned about keeping your levels from creeping up, there’s no better time than right now to start reigning in your blood sugar, before it gets out of control.
The good news is you don’t have to turn to drugs to do it. Research has revealed you can use herbs to naturally tame your blood sugar. Following are three effective choices. One could turn out to be the perfect solution for you.
Recharge your pancreas with an Indian herb
Blood sugar problems begin to bubble up when the beta cells in your pancreas become damaged and stop effectively producing insulin. But it turns out the leaves of Gymnema sylvestre plant, a shrub that grows wild in the forests of India, may be able to help.
Remarkably, there’s evidence that the herb could help repair damaged pancreas cells, allowing your body to make more of its own insulin again.1 But Gymnema’s benefits don’t end there.
Research suggests the herb also has the ability to help keep your small intestine from absorbing glucose.2 Several studies have found that extracts of Gymnema sylvestre improve glucose control in folks with type 2 diabetes.3,4
Experts typically recommended 400 to 800 mg of Gymnema sylvestre a day. Take it about 10 minutes before your main meal of the day with a full glass of water. And, of course, check in with your doctor before you start using any new herb or supplement.
Slash your blood sugar with a savory spice
Slash your blood sugar 18 to 29 percent with a spice? Believe it or not, it’s true! It turns out the cinnamon you use for baking—and that makes your house smell terrific around the holidays—could also help lower your blood sugar.
Research has found that the spice helps improve insulin sensitivity. When a group of women with PCOS took cinnamon or a placebo for eight weeks, the lucky ladies who got the cinnamon saw a significant drop in their insulin resistance.5
In another study a group of volunteers with type 2 diabetes took either 1, 3 or 6 grams of cinnamon a day. After 40 days on the cinnamon supplement fasting blood sugar levels had plummeted 18 to 29 percent.6
According to experts, cinnamon is nearly as effective at lowering average blood sugar levels over time as two popular diabetes drugs. But the spice doesn’t come with any side effects and is far cheaper than the drugs, which means it may be a better choice for some folks.7,8
To try to replicate the results in your own life you can look for a cinnamon supplement if you like. But since cinnamon is delicious, we recommend you try the real deal too. Sprinkle around a half a teaspoon a day into your favorite foods.
Cinnamon is delicious in coffee or tea. The spice perfectly complements yogurt or cottage cheese. And if you haven’t tried it before, you will fall in love with how cinnamon tastes sprinkled into your favorite savory main dishes such as baked chicken or beef stew.
Chinese medicine staple reigns in blood sugar
Traditional Chinese medicine healers have been using berberine extracts from the Indian Barberry plant for centuries. The herb is traditionally used to ease inflammation and help balance blood sugar.
According to researchers, berberine may be able to help tackle elevated blood sugars in more than one way. First, the plant appears to activate the AMPK enzyme that’s responsible for triggering your cells to use glucose. And second, it’s believed that berberine actually reduces the amount of glucose your liver pumps out.
A stack of studies have found the extract significantly reduces blood sugar in folks suffering from type 2 diabetes.9,10 In a head to head battle berberine has even been proven to be just as effective as a popular diabetes drug.11
In fact, the herbal compound is so effective if you’re already taking something for blood sugar balancing you should be careful you don’t drop your levels too low. Have a chat with your doc and if he gives the thumbs up to try berberine, the usual recommended dosage is 1,000 to 1,500 mg a day.
Take control of your own blood sugar starting today.
1. “Gymnema sylvestre: A Memoir,” J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2007 Sep; 41(2): 77–81
2 “Fecal steroid excretion is increased in rats by oral administration of gymnemic acids contained in Gymnema sylvestre leaves,” J Nutr. 1999 Jun;129(6):1214-22
3. Effect of Gurmar (Gymnema sylvestre) Powder Intervention on the Blood Glucose Levels among Diabetics,” Ethno-Med, 3(2): 133-135 (2009)
4. “Effect of Extended Release Gymnema Sylvestre Leaf Extract (Beta Fast GXR),” Diabetes In Control Newsletter, Issue 76 (1): 30 Oct 2001
5. “The effect of cinnamon extract on insulin resistance parameters in polycystic ovary syndrome: a pilot study,” Fertil Steril. 2007 Jul;88(1):240-3
6. “Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes,” Diabetes Care. 2003 Dec;26(12):3215-8
7. “Call for Comparative Effectiveness Research: Lowering A1c with Sitagliptin, Saxagliptin, or Cinnamon,” J Manag Care Spec Pharm, 2009 Oct;15(8):696-700
8. “Cinnamon: Potential Role in the Prevention of Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, and Type 2 Diabetes,” J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2010 May; 4(3): 685–693.
9. “Berberine as a therapy for type 2 diabetes and its complications: From mechanism of action to clinical studies,” Biochem Cell Biol. 2015 Oct;93(5):479-86
10. “Meta-analysis of the effect and safety of berberine in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, hyperlipemia and hypertension,” J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Feb 23;161:69-81
11. “Efficacy of Berberine in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes,” Metabolism. 2008 May; 57(5): 712–717
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