Gymnema Sylvestre: Another Natural Diabetes Treatment

by Cindy

Natural Diabetes Treatment: Gymnema Sylvestre

Natural treatments for diabetes are rapidly gaining popularity across the globe.  Patients who are frustrated with expensive medications that cause unpleasant side effects are often turning to diabetes treatments that date back to ancient times. One example of a natural diabetes treatment is gymnema sylvestre.

What is Gymnema Sylvestre?

Gymnema sylvestre is a popular herb that is known by several different names such as gurmar, gymnemic acids and gymnema gum.  This substance is often used as a natural diabetes treatment to treat patients with diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. 

Gymnema is a perennial climbing plant that is native to India and parts of Africa and has been used for its medicinal properties for ages.  The leaves of gymnema plants contain several compounds that have been used for to treat numerous health problems such as asthma, diabetes, inflammation and more.

Gymnema Sylvestre and Diabetes

Gymnema sylvestre is one of the most widely used natural treatments for diabetes.  The leaves of this plant possess compounds called gymnemic acids.  Gymnemic acids have been carefully studied in both human and animal models and these studies have demonstrated that these substances can benefit diabetic patients by lowering fasting blood sugar levels and hemoglobin a1c.  Gymnemic acids can achieve this reduction in blood sugar and improvement in overall health in the following ways:

  • Decreased Glucose Absorption:  Scientific research has shown that gymnemic acids block the absorption of sugars into the blood stream from the digestive tract.  These studies, which were conducted in laboratory animals, indicate that gymnema can lower glucose readings by stopping sugars from entering the blood.  This occurs because the gymnemic acid molecules occupy areas of the intestinal tract, called receptors.  When these receptors are occupied by gymnema, sugars cannot be moved from the intestines to the blood. 
  • Stimulates Use of Glucose:  Gymnema sylvestre also can lower blood sugar levels by helping the body to use the absorbed sugars more effectively.  This results in lower glucometer readings because gymnemic acids increase the amount of glucose that is used by the body, resulting in less circulating sugar. 
  • Increased Insulin Secretion:  Studies have shown that animals who are given gymnema have improved insulin secretion and decreased insulin resistance. This more efficient use and release of insulin results in lower blood sugar levels and improved glycemic control!
  • Decreased Sugar Intake:  Gymnema is commonly used to reduce dietary intake of sugars.  This natural diabetes treatment is supported by several studies that show that people who take gymnema acids experience fewer cravings for sugary foods.  This occurs because gymnema molecules block the areas on the tongue that sense sweets, resulting in less desire to eat sugary foods.
  • Improved Cholesterol:  Studies conducted in laboratory rats suggest that gymnema can help decrease triglyceride and cholesterol levels by increasing the amount of cholesterol that is excreted from the body. 
  • Fight Obesity:  Gymnema leaves are currently marketed and widely used in several countries to fight obesity by reducing cravings of sweets, blocking glucose absorption, and lowering triglyceride levels.

Gymnema Sylvestre For Diabetes Treatment

Gymnema can be found in many different forms, among the most popular are gum, tea and extract.  It is currently unclear what dose of this supplement is necessary to achieve improved blood glucose control and its safety in pregnant women and children is unknown.  It is known that this natural diabetes treatment can interact with prescription diabetes medications and it may cause stomach upset in patients who choose to take this supplement.  In addition, patients taking gymnema should monitor their blood sugar closely to screen for hypoglycemia. It is important that all diabetic patients who wish to try this supplement ask their doctor if it is safe to do so.

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