Is Gymnema the Future of Diabetes Treatment?

Diabetes and gymnema

Singapore has one of the highest incidences of diabetes among developed countries, second only to the United States. Diabetes is set to become a global health issue.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease characterized by high blood sugar levels due to a lack of or inadequate supply of insulin, an inability of the body to use insulin correctly, or both. According to the American Diabetes Association, 29.1 million Americans (or 9.3 percent of the population) had diabetes in 2012.

Gymnema is a supplement that has been used as a complementary treatment for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. While it isn’t a replacement for insulin, it may aid in blood sugar control.

What is gymnema?

Gymnema is a woody climbing shrub that comes from the forests of India and Africa. It’s been used medicinally in ayurveda (an ancient Indian medicinal practice) for over 2,000 years. Chewing on the leaves of this plant can temporarily interfere with the ability to taste sweetness. It’s generally considered safe for adults to take.

Gymnema has been used to:

  • lower blood sugar
  • reduce the amount of sugar absorbed by the intestines
  • lower LDL cholesterol
  • stimulate insulin release in the pancreas

It is also sometimes used to treat stomach problems, constipation, liver disease, and water retention.

Gymnema is most often consumed in Western medicine in the form of pills or tablets, making dosage easier to control and monitor. It can also come in the form of leaf powder or extract.

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