There is an issue facing millions of people across the country and has been so for many years now…Blood Sugar. Food goes in, food gets turned into sugar, sugar goes into bloodstream, bloodstream shuttles it into tissues, tissues use it for energy. Simple right? Well, maybe not so much. Blood sugar disorders ranging from diabetes to hypoglycemia have plagued the population and do not seem to be getting any better. If the problem is diet, lack of exercise, genetics, etc., then what is the solution? Perhaps what can be found in nature’s medicine cabinet can be a small part of that solution.
Native to tropical regions of south Asia, the banaba leaf has a history of various medicinal uses. One such use is the treatment of diabetes. In fact, two of the extract’s constituents, corosolic acid and ellagitannins, have been shown to lower blood sugar by enhancing cellular uptake of glucose, impairing the duodenal hydrolysis of sucrose and other starches, decreasing gluconeogenesis, and even regulating lipid metabolism.
Momordica charantia, also related to honeydew and cantaloupe, contains terpenoids that also enhance the insulin’s receptor to insulin in a manner similar to that of chromium. Bitter melon also contains other interesting phytochemicals, namely charantin and vicine, that have shown to significantly reduce blood glucose levels among type II diabetic patients as well as increasing cellular uptake of glucose and improved glucose tolerance in others.
This exotically named extract is a species of sunflower that contains a high amount of an oligosaccharide called fructan. These sugars, especially the ones found in Jerusalem artichoke, have the ability to aid in sugar metabolism. Studies show that it can enhance glucose tolerance in different ways, namely by reversing insulin resistance and enhancing β-cell function. The main cell line in the pancreas that is responsible for production and secretion of insulin are the beta cells.
Gymnema sylvestre is another tropical forest herb that has been used for treating elevated blood sugar for centuries. Extracts from the herb actually reduce the taste of sugar when placed in the mouth, in which the gymnemic acids seem to do this by blocking sugar receptors on the tongue. However, Gymnema isn’t just for ridding our sugar cravings, the sapponins in the extract have also displayed anti-diabetic properties – namely enhancing regeneration of β-cells in the pancreas increasing insulin secretion.
Vanadyl sulfate is one of the most stable forms of vanadium and is what is most widely used in the laboratory and in our bodies. Vanadium is most widely known for its usefulness in lowering blood sugar, in fact research indicates that it has shown to be very effective in improving glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in type II diabetic patients.
Through its antioxidant action ALA has proven itself to be very advantageous for lowering blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. One of the routes in which it does this is by mimicking the actions of insulin – initiating the translocation of GLUT1 and GLUT4 glucose transport proteins for cellular uptake of glucose. This is how cells “ingest” glucose when it comes knocking on the front door of the target cell’s surface.
Other ingredients that have been shown to help with blood glucose are: Milk Thistle, Citrus bioflavanoids, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese, Chromium. All in all, there are a variety of different herbal extracts, vitamins, and minerals that seem to improve sugar homeostasis in humans. So, whether taken by themselves or along with others, unlocking key ingredients that manage blood sugar seems to definitely be a “sweet” deal.
To read this research article in full with references – go to VivaVitamins.com – click on Education – articles.