Gymnema Sylvestre For Type 2 Diabetes

Gymnema Sylvestre For Type 2 Diabetes
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If one plant were designated as being effective in the fight against diabetes, it could be Gymnema sylvestre. Dozens of studies, including some recent ones, have shown Gymnema sylvestre to possess a number of properties that make it well worth a second and third look if you are considering natural, alternative ways to manage type 2 diabetes.

Gymnema sylvestre fights diabetes from several angles

The herb Gymnema sylvestre is indigenous to the tropical forests of India, and its leaves have been valued as a treatment for diabetes for nearly 2,000 years. Gymnema sylvestre is highly regarded in Ayurvedic medicine, and its Hindi name, "gurmar," means "destroyer of sugar."

With that kind of history, it's only natural scientists would eventually conduct research to discover how effective this herb really is in the fight against diabetes.

Gymnema sylvestre reportedly may increase the amount of insulin in the body while also increasing the growth of beta cells, which are the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. It also contains components that reduce the amount of sugar absorbed from the intestinal tract, according to WebMD.

In an article in the Journal of Clinical Biochemical Nutrition, the authors emphasized that Gymnema sylvestre possesses qualities that can fight diabetes from a number of angles. For example, the plant contains gymnemic acids, which have demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and antisweetener activities.

The authors pointed out that when leaf extract of Gymnema sylvestre has been given to diabetic patients, it can stimulate the pancreas and thus increase the release of insulin. As an antisweetener, Gymnema sylvestre leaf extract can suppress the ability of taste buds to detect sweet, which may in turn reduce a person's intake of sweet foods.

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A mouse study, published in August 2012 in Phytotherapy Research, explored the effect of a Gymnema sylvestre extract on glucose tolerance in insulin-resistant mice and on insulin secretion and synthesis. Investigators reported that the effects of the herbal extract were "consistent with its potential use as a therapy for the hyperglycemia associated with obesity-related T2DM [type 2 diabetes]."

Gymnema sylvestre seems to help mice, but what about people? In the Journal of Dietary Supplements, researchers reported on the use of G. sylvestre in patients with type 2 diabetes. Participants were assigned to be controls or to receive 500 mg daily of the herb for 3 months.

A series of clinical and biochemical tests revealed that use of G. sylvestre resulted in a reduction in fatigue, blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin, and polyphagia, and there was also an improvement in lipid levels and other tests. The authors concluded that their findings "suggest a beneficial effect of GS [Gymnema sylvestre] on diabetes mellitus."

Gymnema sylvestre is just one of numerous natural or herbal remedies that have demonstrated an ability to help fight type 2 diabetes. Some of the others include curcumin, bitter melon, cinnamon, fenugreek, and selenium, among others.

Gymnema sylvestre is available as a supplement and should be taken only with the knowledge of one's healthcare provider, because it can change a diabetic's need for medication. For individuals who have type 2 diabetes, Gymnema sylvestre is a natural management option with promise and a long history of use.

SOURCES:
Al-Romaivan A et al. A novel extract of Gymnema sylvestre improves glucose tolerance in vivo and stimulates insulin secretion and synthesis in vitro. Phytotherapy Research 2012 Aug 21. doi:10.1002/ptr.4815 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22911568
Kanetkar PV et al. Poster presented at the 16th ICFOST meet organized by CFTRI and DFRL. Mysore, India, 2004. Gymnemic acids: a molecular perspective of its action on carbohydrate metabolism.
Kanetkar P et al. Gymnema sylvestre: a memoir. Journal of Clinical Biochemical Nutrition 2007 Sept; 41(2): 77-81
Kumar SN et al. An open label study on the supplementation of Gymnema sylvestre in type 2 diabetics. Journal of Dietary Supplements 2010 Sep; 7(3): 273-82 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22432517
WebMD

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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