Herbal Helpers

New studies show that certain herbs can help lower blood sugar levels as well. Remember that herbs are not regulated by the FDA and may cause side effects. Always read product labels, follow directions, and heed all warnings.

Herbs that May Help Control Diabetes

The following herbs may help control diabetes. Remember that herbs are not regulated by the FDA and may vary in potency levels. Talk to your physician first before using herbs.

  • Ginseng has been shown in recent studies to decrease post-prandial hyperglycemia, an exaggerated rise in blood sugar after consuming a meal, in Type 2 diabetics. Studies show that taking ginseng after meals has been shown to regulate blood sugar levels.

  • Various studies show that chromium helps insulin metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Chromium deficiency may help trigger adult-onset diabetes.

  • Alpha lipoic acid (ALA), an antioxidant, may have an effect on insulin utilization and blood sugar metabolism in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, according to new research.

  • Vanadyl sulfate is important for proper glucose metabolism and is safe and well tolerated at doses as high as 1,000 mcg daily.

  • Individuals with diabetes have impaired intestinal zinc absorption and low plasma zinc levels. Zinc supplements have the potential to help individuals with hypoglycemia, impaired gluten tolerance, and diabetes, according to many studies.

  • Gymnema has been used to manage diabetes in India for centuries. It appears to act in a manner similar to sulfonylurea agents. Gymnema temporarily prevents the taste buds from recognizing sweetness, helping prevent sweetness cravings. It may help inhibit intestinal glucose absorption in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

  • A large amount of promising research indicates that fenugreek seeds appear to decrease blood glucose, improve glucose tolerance, and decrease cholesterol levels, although side effects may include diarrhea and upset stomach.

  • Indian kino is a resin used in India that has the ability to rebuild and heal the pancreas.

  • Balsam pear, a vegetable grown in Asia, has the ability to lower blood sugar naturally and is being used to treat diabetes, as are onions and garlic. Blueberry leaves act like a mild form of insulin and are used as an alternative treatment to ease symptoms of diabetes.

If you have a seriously harmful side effect, adverse reaction, or illness, contact your physician and have her report it to FDA's MedWatch at (800) FDA-1088.

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