Gymnema sylvestre and diabetes

What is gymnema and what can it do? It is located in the forests of Africa and India and is a woody climbing shrub that has been used for medicinal purposes for many centuries. It is considered fairly safe to take and if you chew on the leaves of this special plant, you will experience an interference in the ability to taste anything that’s sweet.

There is possible evidence that gymnema sylvestre can help people in controlling their blood sugar. It may increase the secretion of insulin. In a study done back in 2001, over 60 patients who had taken gymnema extract all had lower blood sugar levels after a 90 day period.

Now it’s always important to note that anything you do should be discussed with your doctor or healthcare professional. You just can’t assume that introducing something new into your body won’t have side effects or interactions with medications you may be taking.

A perfect example of this is that pregnant women, breast feeding, or planning on becoming pregnant should not be taking gymenma. And in addition to that, if you’re going to have any kind of surgery, discontinue taking gymnema at least two weeks prior to the surgery.

Gymnema sylvestre is known for its ability to eradicate sugar. This medicinal herb has been used to cure diseases such as diabetes, indigestion, infection and more. It also contains many healing properties as well.

One of the major active ingredients in gymnema sylvestre is gymnemic acid and while this extraordinary compound is similar to glucose in structure, it does not act the same as sugar does in your body. While it’s origin is in Asia, it has been used for so many years in India.

The benefits of Gymnema Sylvestre for diabetics

* Sugar cravings- This is important because gymnenma sylvestre contains a biochemical called gurmarin. The key here is that changes the ability of your tongue’s bitter and sweet tastes. So research done in India showed that the taste buds sugar receptors were blocked by this herb and the result was that even with the intake of sugar, the taste buds were not stimulated at all!

I don’t know about you, but I was always a sugar lover. Chocolate, candy, ice cream, you name it. I think one of the biggest problems growing up as a kid was the access to chocolate and junk foods with sugar. Everywhere you turned, there was something with sugar calling your name, remember?

Sometimes I feel that we, as kids were just supposed to have the good stuff because it tasted so good and for our entire childhood we enjoyed it all the time. It’s just part of being a kid, right? It’s the cravings for sugar that got us hooked since the first time we could eat solid food. When you’re growing up, you don’t think about how sugar affects you. You’re a kid and all you want is candy, ice cream, cake, and anything that has sugar, sugar, and more sugar.

It’s amazing that we didn’t go into a sugar coma, don’t you think? So what do think was the biggest sugar craving day of the year? You knew the answer before you finished reading the question. I knew it! HALLOWEEN! I used to go out on Halloween and come back for a second filling up of my Halloween bag. Did you? I’m sure you did or maybe even a third bag?

You’re as guilty as I am! But seriously, if we knew then what we know now? Okay, we would still pig out on the sugar because we’re kids and the sugar just keeps you craving for more. But then as time went on and we gained weight and started to have weight issues, dental issues, developing diabetes and a host of other problems, it started to get really serious.

I’m talking a lot about sugar cravings because that’s where it all began. No excuses. Anyone can change at anytime they want to if they put their mind to it. Some of us do change and lose weight, exercise, cut off sugar altogether, and start eating healthy and turn diabetes around and possibly get off the diabetes medications too.

Is it easy to turn off the sugar cravings? Heck no! But when push comes to shove, you must win and sugar has to lose. Anything you believe in and set your mind to is worth the effort you put into it. So the bottom line here is that if gymnema sylvestre kills the sugar cravings, then count me in! Where was it years ago? It was there, maybe just a lot of us didn’t know about it.

* The pancreas- So what is so special about gymnema sylvestre? Well, it can treat both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and this awesome herb works to repair and regenerate the beta cells in the pancreas. Further studies revealed that gymnema usage can control glucose levels for months.

What’s pretty amazing is that another study done with rats who were given gymnema sylvestre wound up with the same blood sugar levels as those treated with insulin! This was also done with people and they experienced the identical results.

* Losing weight and body fat- While gymnema is well known for its components against diabetes, it is also an effective weapon against the war on obesity. Obesity has a lot to do with diabetes so this is like killing two birds with one stone! The component that is responsible for losing weight and burning fat by extracting from the actual leaves of the gymnema sylvestre is known as hexane.

Being overweight and having diabetes is hard enough but even harder when you have both at the same time. There are many different reasons for obesity which is a cause of diabetes. Now while there are other causes of diabetes, if you can control your weight and help with exercise, then you have a better chance of not developing diabetes. But if you already have diabetes, then there are still options for controlling or reversing it.

I feel the first thing when it comes to losing weight is to tackle the sugar craving issue. Join a weight reduction program, start a healthy eating program, and begin exercising everyday. Another thing that I always had a problem with was emotional eating. If you fall into this category, it’s something you should address because that’s the way a lot of us gain all the weight.

There are a lot of diets available, but they don’t all work and there are different diets for everyone. I found that something that works for both losing weight and controlling diabetes is this! You may want to give it a try. But the bottom line is to lose weight and help control your blood sugars by not just thinking about it but actually taking action.

I know this from experience because i was always looking into some kind of diet and/or exercise program and then either quitting or just not following through. Controlling your weight and your blood sugar is the key to controlling diabetes.

* Blood sugar levels- Now while gymnema sylvestre maintains the blood sugar levels for both type 2 diabetes and type 1 diabetes, it is also is linked to its ability to repair the cells in the pancreas which is very important.

Additional health benefits of gymnema sylvestre

* Gout and arthritis- Gymnema is generally used to help treat gout and arthritis and any joint pain issues. It may also help with the retention of water because it is a diuretic. This can also lead to weight loss too.

* Energy booster- Gymnema sylvestre can reduce the storage of fat from carbohydrates and it will increase the amounts burned for energy use. Getting rid of fat and getting energy is a positive thing!

* Respiratory infection-  It can help treat respiratory infections and a buildup of phlegm. This is important in protecting yourself against these possible infections.

* Digestion- It helps with digestion in many ways such as providing pain from colic, treating stomach issues, help controlling digestion in general.

* Your liver- Gymnema sylvestre contains properties that help to protect your liver. The leaves of the plant are used for treatment of jaundice in India as well.

* Cholesterol- The leaf of the gymnema has chemicals which work to prevent the absorption of triglycerides and cholesterol in the intestines and this results in the excretion of cholesterol. This is good news for your heart and cardiovascular system.

* Anti-inflammatory food- There are anti-inflammatory properties shown in the gymnema leaves extract which proved to protect the parts of your body from dangerous free radicals. Furthermore, gymnema sylvestre has been used generally for the treatment of osteoporosis, issues with the eyes, inflammations, and asthma.

 Side effects of gymnema sylvestre

  • Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar- Gymnema sylvestre can lower your blood sugar and if you’re taking medications, especially medications for diabetes, you do NOT want your blood sugar getting dangerously low. Low blood sugar symptoms can be: increased anxiety, blurred vision, rapid heartbeats, body tremors, and increased hunger. You must be checking your sugars regularly and of course you shouldn’t be taking it without your doctor’s permission and their guidance!
  • Folks who have allergies to milkweed.
  • Anyone taking antidepressant prescriptions.
  • Aspirin because it is a blood thinner and can enhance the effects of gymnema sylvestre.
  • St. John’s Wort for the same reason.
  • Raising your blood pressure.
  • Intoxication of the liver. The chances are extremely low, but still a possibility.

When you do take gymnema sylvestre, you’ll want to take it with food as you can experience stomach issues otherwise.

And finally?

Gymnema sylvestre is a great solution to blocking your sugar cravings and lowering your blood sugar. I hope that you got some positive tips and that they can help you with diabetes and weight loss too and that you discuss with your physician first. While gymnema sylvestre helps in lowering your blood sugar, if you still need some help with your numbers, this will help you additionally!

If you have any comments or any questions, please leave them below. I would appreciate it! Thank you for reading and feel free to pass this on to someone who might benefit from it!

 

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4 Comments

Will L. · December 3, 2017 at 12:44 am

Super interesting! I had never heard of GS before. I have a major sweet tooth. Always have, probably always will. But maybe this will help manage that! I do have a question though. I like to indulge in some adult beverages on weekends. Do I need to be careful mixing GS and alcohol since it sounds like they both effect the liver?

    Rob Sciubba · December 3, 2017 at 3:19 am

    Hey Will! Well, gymnema sylvestre can help with your blood sugar and help to control it.

    Here is an article I have on alcohol and diabetes: Alcohol. Drinking alcohol is fine in moderation but not in excess for diabetics. I couldn’t honestly tell you if mixing gymnema sylvestre and alcohol is a good or bad idea. I would leave that decision up to your physician. They are the professionals when it comes to interactions.

    Thank you for commenting!

Anna · December 4, 2017 at 10:03 pm

Hi Rob,
Thank you for the very interesting article!
My grandmother has diabetes, therefore I’m also at risk, so really good to get to know about Gymnema Sylvestre. Especially because I love sweets!!
I have a question – is it allowed for children? I mean healthy children. Just wondering… Or better to avoid?

    Rob Sciubba · December 5, 2017 at 12:33 am

    Hi Anna,

    I like to write about anything that helps lower blood sugar naturally or has to do with helping diabetes.

    Gymnema sylvestre helps with controlling blood sugar and has other health benefits. It is not currently known whether or not it is safe for children so I wouldn’t suggest giving to to children. 

    But even for adults such as yourself or your grandmother, it is always best to consult your doctor first!

    Thank you for commenting!

    ~Rob

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