Balancing Blood Sugar Metabolism
Source: Cracking the Metabolic Code
Authors: James B. LaValle, R.Ph., C.C.N., N.D. with Stacy Lundin Yale, R.N. B.S.N.
Gymnema is a vine indigenous to the rain forests of central and southern India. Ayurvedic medical texts dating back 2,000 years document the use of gymnema inthe treatment of “sweet urine,” or diabetes. Although the exact mechanism is not known, the hypoglycemic or blood sugar-lowering action of the plant may be due to its ability to stimulate the release of insulin stores in the body. Gymnema reportedly increases the activity of enzymes involved in the utilization of glucose by insulin-dependent path-ways. Studies with gymnema have suggested that it may also help in weight loss and in suppressing sweets cravings. So, if you are trying to get your carbohydrate-craving and weight-storing chemistry under control, Gymnema may be of benefit.
Recommended dose is 250-500 mg of Gymnema sylvestre, one to three times a day, standardized to 25 percent gymnemic acids per dosage. Standardized extracts are herbal products guaranteed to contain a specific amount of the herb’s primary active ingredients.
Bitter Melon Fruit (Momordica charantia)
Bitter melon fruit has been reported to significantly improve the body’s natural ability to regulate glucose in humans and animals. Research indicates that molecules with insulin-like bioactivity may be present in bitter melon seeds. A few studies suggest that the mechanism of bitter melon could be partly attributed to an ability to aid the body in increasing glucose utilization in the liver. Either way, bitter melon has long been used in South America and the Orient, not only as a food, but also as a medicinal agent used to support the whole system of those with diabetes. Bitter melon helps by improving blood sugar balance and reducing the amount of sugars in the blood. This supplement should find an important role in reducing insulin resistance.
Recommended dose is 200-400 mg, two to three times a day, standardized to 7 percent bitter acids and 0.5 percent charantin. As with any dietary supplement, check with your healthcare practitioner before taking bitter melon fruit. Since taking this supplement may lower your need for medication, this is especially true if you are on anti-diabetic prescription drugs.
Cinnamon Extract (Cinnamomum spp.)
Cinnamon is among the world’s most frequently consumed spices. Current research suggests that this much-loved spice may have a beneficial impact on our health, as well as on our palates. A compound in cinnamon bark-methylhydroxy chalcone polymer (MHCP)-has been shown to increase glucose metabolism (the process in which cells convert glucose to energy) roughly twenty-fold in a laboratory test conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA.). Researchers tested approximately fifty plant extracts and found that none of them came close to MHCP’s level of affecting glucose metabolism. What’s more, MHCP prevented the formation of oxygen radicals in a blood platelet test, proving it to be a valuable antioxidant.
Recommended dose is 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon daily for people with symptoms of insulin resistance. If you are taking anti-diabetic prescription drugs, your blood sugar levels should be monitored closely since taking this supplement may lower your need for medication.