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Let’s start with the most prominent benefit of Gymnema Sylvestre – that the leaves of this plant could put an end to diabetes & hypeglycemia.
In diabetes, we have two situations:
Type 1 diabetes is where the body’s own immune system attacks the pancreas beta cells, the cells responsible for producing insulin.
Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is where the body’s tissues are resistant to insulin. This means that the body does not utilize glucose like it’s supposed to because it doesn’t respond to insulin.
In both situations, we have resulting high blood sugar. If this goes on untreated, it could lead to serious consequences, including heart disease, kidney damage, stroke and blindness.
The first scientific evidence that gymnema controls blood sugar came almost a century ago when researchers demonstrated that gymnema leaves reduced glucosuria in diabetic rats. In the animal experiment, gymnema leaf powder lowered both fasting and after-meals blood sugar levels.
But, it’s an animal study. How would we know if it translates to humans?
Well, two human studies in particular stand out. One study involved 27 type 1 diabetics who were given gymnema extracts at a dose of 400 mg daily for 6 to 30 months. Another 37 diabetics were asked to continue insulin therapy, and were tracked for 10 to 12 months.
In the treatment group, the gymnema extract significantly decreased blood glucose from 232 mg/dL to 152 mg/dL in the gymnema group, and even cut insulin requirements by half.
On the other hand, the control group showed no significant reductions in either blood glucose or insulin requirements.
A similar study involved 22 type 2 diabetics who were given 400 mg Gymnema extract daily, in combination with their normal prescription drugs for 18 to 20 months. Gymnema extract significantly decreased blood sugar and HbA1c, and actually increased insulin levels. The extract also decreased medication requirements among 17 of the participants, and entirely eliminated the need for medication in five.
How exactly does Gymnema Sylvestre control blood sugar levels?
Gymnema appears to work in four ways.
1. alcohol gymnema extract appears to stimulate insulin release from pancreatic beta cells by increasing cell membrane permeability.
2. gymnema extract produced with a novel extraction technique has been found to actually regenerate pancreatic beta cells. (click link below)
3. it may also increase utilization of glucose in type 2 diabetes
4. because gymnemic acid is similar in structure to glucose, it is able to bind to sugar receptors in the intestines, thereby preventing the absorption of carbs.
However there is one major problem with standard Gymnema extracts…Click the link below to find out.