The herb Gymnema is traditionally known in India as "gurmar" (the sugar destroyer). For the past 1800 years, Ayurvedic physicians have used a combination of diet and Gymnema leaf to help support normal blood sugar levels. The key component of Gymnema - gymnemic acid - mimics glucose molecules, numbing receptor sites on your tongue. And even better, research shows Gymnema has the similar effect internally, by supporting the normal function of the specialized cells for sugar taste within the intestinal walls.
Other tests found that people with type 2 diabetes responded well to both the leaf and its extract over various periods. Some people had lower blood sugar levels and higher insulin levels.
Using either the ground leaf or leaf extract may be beneficial. But speak with a healthcare professional beforehand.
How it works: Gymnema sylvestre may reduce sugar absorption in your gut and promote cells’ uptake of sugar from your blood. Due to its impact on type 1 diabetes, it’s suspected that Gymnema sylvestre may somehow aid insulin-producing cells in your pancreas (6Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source).
Taking it: The suggested dose is 200 mg of Gymnema sylvestre leaf extract twice a day with meals (24Trusted Source).
Precautions: Gymnema sylvestre can enhance the blood sugar effects of insulin, so use it only with a doctor’s guidance if you take insulin injections. It may also affect blood levels of some drugs, and one case of liver damage has been reported (27Trusted Source).
You can find gymnema sylvestre supplements online.
Gymnema can reduce sugar cravings and help balance blood sugar. It is thought to block glucose receptors in the gut as well, preventing the absorption of sugar.
Do not take gymnema if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, allergic to milkweed, or taking antidepressants or medication for diabetes. You should also avoid it if you're taking St. John's Wort, willow bark, or aspirin. Be sure to consult your health care practitioner before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.
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