Diabetes is a health scourge that is not going away anytime soon.
In fact, it’s getting worse.
The number of diabetics worldwide has nearly quadrupled since 1980.[i]
In the U.S., diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death… and nearly half of American adults are diabetic or prediabetic.[ii]
If you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (the most common type), your doctor will likely want you to exercise and lose weight, which is good.
He or she might also put you on a medication like metformin. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s a lot of research supporting the drug’s benefits. But I always prefer a natural approach.
In this case, I recommend Gymnema sylvestre (pronounced Jim-NEE-muh sil-VES-tree).
It’s a shrub native to India, Africa, and Australia. It’s been a part of traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Extracts are usually taken from the plant’s leaves.
Gymnema has long been reputed to fight diabetes. In India, it’s called gurmar, Hindi for “sugar destroyer.” In recent years, scientific research has backed up this belief.
Gymnema: The Science Showing It Works
Gymnema works against diabetes in two ways:
- Reduces sugar cravings. One of the active ingredients in gymnema is gymnemic acid, which suppresses sweetness. Research from India’s Institute of Chemical Technology has shown that gymnema inhibits the sugar receptors on taste buds.[iii] A study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior gave subjects a variety of milkshakes. Some of the drinks were sweetened with sugar, some with an artificial sweetener. After taking a gymnema extract, the beverages seemed less sweet to about half the subjects. An hour later, researchers gave the subjects sugary snacks. The subjects whose sense of sweetness had decreased ate less than the others.[iv]
- Lowers blood sugar levels. An article published in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design reviewed gymnema studies. Researchers found that subjects given 200 to 400 mg of gymnema had reduced intestinal absorption of glucose. That means less sugar got into their bloodstreams.[v]Another study, from the journal Diabetes in Control, looked at 65 type 2 diabetes patients. Researchers gave them daily Gymnema supplements. The patients’ blood sugar levels were an average of 11% lower after 90 days. They also lower blood sugar spikes after eating and they had fewer complications from their diabetes.[vi]
Gymnema extract is safe for most people. But children and pregnant women shouldn’t take it.
If you’re on a diabetes medication, consult with your doctor before trying gymnema. It’s so effective that it could bring your blood sugar down too low.
Gymnema supplements are available from online retailers and health-food stores. A typical dose is 100 mg, three to four times daily.
Diabetes is a modern epidemic…and an ancient remedy may be the best way to stop it.