Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This Indian herb could be the key to reversing diabetes

Of all the topics that I focus on in my practice and studies, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and their  implications are definitely up on my priority list. But not just because a whopping 76 million Americans suffer from metabolic syndrome—the cluster of conditions (including high cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar) that paves the way to this devastating disease.

In reality, it’s a hot topic of mine because in many cases, it’s completely avoidable—and the earliest signs can almost always be reversed if you make the effort to catch them in time.

Of course, drug companies are likely to tell you a very different story. If they had their way, everyone in the country would be on half-a-dozen different drugs in an effort to “manage” this shockingly common condition. And that would be a true shame—because ongoing research has shown that there are a number of safe, natural botanicals that can help you control your blood sugar for good… without suffering through a long list of side effects to do it.

Take the powerful Indian botanical Gymnema sylvestre (GS), for example. In a study published just this past month, researchers tested an isolate from this ancient anti-diabetic plant on mouse and human beta cells—the pancreatic cells that are responsible for producing insulin in your body. They found that increased exposure lead to a significant increase in insulin secretion in-vitro—meaning that this unique natural compound could play an important role in the clinical treatment of Type 2 diabetes.

This study’s results don’t surprise me at all. If anything, it simply confirms previous research on this powerful botanical, which has distinguished Gymnema as an essential addition to any natural protocol for diabetes prevention. Centuries of use in Ayurvedic medicine also support its safety and effectiveness as a potent blood sugar-reducer. (In fact, I’ve included Gymnema sylvestre in my own metabolic formula—and have seen great  results with this very combination in my clinical practice.)

That being said, there’s no such thing as a magic bullet—be it pharmaceutical or natural. It’s important to remember that, while supplements can make a major difference in your fight against diabetes, they can’t take you all the way. A healthy, balanced low-glycemic diet is key… as is regular exercise to reduce inflammation and help you keep off excess weight.

These may seem like simple solutions to a complicated problem—but they work. And most importantly, you won’t require a lifetime of dependence on statins, metformin, and other drugs to get real, lasting results.

Source: Liu B, Asare-Anane H, Al-Romaiyan A, Huang G, et al. “Characterisation of the Insulinotropic Activity of an Aqueous Extract of Gymnema Sylvestre in Mouse ╬▓-Cells and Human Islets of Langerhans” Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry 2009;23:125-132.

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