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How These Supplements Could Aid Diabetes

By Reviewed by Health, Men, Women Published on November 21, 2017 Updated on October 12, 2018
How These Supplements Can Aid Diabetes

In the United States, Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death. [1]Centers for Disease and Prevention Control. (2017, May 3). Deaths and Mortality. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm It is a chronic illness that is associated with abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood. It is caused by either a high consumption of glucose-rich foods or the insufficient production of insulin in the body. Due to the high amounts of glucose in the body, the liver fails to convert the excess glucose in the body from sugar to energy. [2]Reusch, J. E. (2003). Diabetes, microvascular complications, and cardiovascular complications: What is it about glucose? Journal of Clinical Investigation, 112(7), 986-988. doi: 10.1172/jci200319902

According to the statistics provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 30 million adults in the United States suffer from diabetes, and more than one-quarter people are unaware of the fact that they are suffering from it. Furthermore, 86 million adults in the U.S. suffer from prediabetes that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

There are two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the beta-cells of the pancreas are destroyed, thus causing the lack of insulin in the body. Usually, this type of diabetes occurs at a very young age. [3]Paul, L. & Polly, J. B. (2002). What causes type 1 diabetes? Medicine Journal, 30(1), 1-5. DOI: 10.1383/medc.30.1.1.28264

Type-2 diabetes, on the other hand,  is the most common form of this ailment, which can be developed at any age, even in the childhood. In a 2010 study, Type 2 diabetes can cause several complications such as kidney failures, amputation, and loss of vision. Due to the complications caused by diabetes, the life expectancy of the person is drastically reduced from the time of diagnosis. [4]Vijan, S. (2015). Type 2 Diabetes. Annals of Internal Medicine, 162(5).  doi: 10.7326/aitc201503030

The current recommended treatment for diabetes focuses on lifestyle interventions such as reduction of sugar in the diet and exercise. Doctors may recommend supplements for encouraging the blood sugar maintenance in diabetic patients.

herbal supplements and diabetes

Here are some facts that will give you a better understanding of diabetes and what measures should be taken to prevent this problem. [5]Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. (2002). Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes With Lifestyle Intervention or Metformin. New England Journal of Medicine, 346(6): 393–403. doi:  10.1056/NEJMoa012512

Facts That You Need To Know About Diabetes

  • Only about 5 percent of people are diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes.
  • Type-2 diabetes can cause multiple complications if not treated immediately. Some complications include blindness, kidney failure, and amputation.
  • Dietary change is the primary treatment method recommended by Internal Medicine Doctors.
  • People with diabetes are more likely to develop heart diseases.
  • Those who suffer from diabetes caused by obesity may try Bariatric Surgery to reduce the effects and symptoms of diabetes.

herbal supplements and diabetes

Diabetes can also be controlled by the use of natural supplements that aid the body in controlling blood sugar.

Benefits Of Using Supplements For Diabetes

This has been an age-old debate, whether herbal supplements control your diabetes or not? Herbal supplements were used by many practitioners in South East Asia for the lowering the blood sugar and curing diabetes.

  1. Supplements like Tongkat Ali and Red Korean Ginseng have the capabilities of lowering the blood sugar to normal levels and boosting the insulin sensitivity.
  2. For the diabetics who have less severe symptoms, this supplement can enhance the mood and keep the person motivated.
  3. Maca supplement comes with dietary fiber that decreases blood sugar while increasing the level of antioxidants in the body.
  4. Herbal supplements give a person a try on healing without breaking the bank. It is often cheaper and comes in small packaging.
  5. Herbal supplements have fewer side effects compared to drugstore medicine.

Controlling Diabetes Using Natural Supplements

Medications and lifestyle changes like healthy diets are considered to be the main approach,  for diabetes management, but some supplements come with the potential benefits.

herbal supplements and diabetes

There are herbal supplements that come with the anti-diabetic properties and are known to improve the blood lipids, insulin sensitivity along with lowering the sugar level in blood.

Read here which supplements can be used to maintain normal blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.

Tongkat Ali

Tongkat Ali is a herb that is found in South East Asia and is known to have hundreds of healing properties. This herb has long been used for its energy boosting benefits, aphrodisiac capabilities, and its effects on the management of diabetes.

How Tongkat Ali Works For Diabetes?

A team of researchers at the year of 2013 conducted a systematic review of Tongkat Ali. In their review, they validated the claims that Tongkat Ali reduces the blood sugar levels in the body. In addition to decreasing the blood sugar level, it increases both physical and mental performance.

In another study conducted in 2013, Tongkat Ali was proven to decrease the production of cortisol, a hormone is also known as the “stress hormone.” It is also known for improving testosterone rates in men and improving libido. [6]Talbott, S. M., Talbott, J. A., George, A., & Pugh, M. (2013). Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects. Journal of the International Society Sports Nutrition, 2013;10: 28. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-28

How Can It Be Used?

Tongkat Ali can be taken as a complement to the traditional treatments. Once it starts to decrease the sugar level, then you can decrease the use of other medications. It is taken daily or weekly as a supplement.

Maca

Maca is a Peruvian root which is associated with energy enhancement and is now believed that it can be used in the management of diabetes and other complications related to it.

How Maca Works For Diabetes?

Maca consists of certain compounds that help in controlling type-2 diabetes.

This herbal supplement helps the cells to become more sensitive to the effects of insulin in order to control the glucose in the blood.

It is also rich in antioxidants and helps the person with diabetes to fight the inflammation caused by the increase in blood sugar levels.

How Can It Be Used?

Maca can be consumed with the combination of healthy diet, conservative medicines, and regular exercise.

It is considered safe for diabetics and can also help to lower the doses of current diabetes medications.

Korean Ginseng

Throughout the history, Korean Ginseng is known as one of the best medicinal herbs. It has also been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to treat diabetes.  It is known for maintaining the body’s homeostasis, a state in which the body is in complete balance. According to research, it can improve the brain’s functions, enhance the body’s immune system, create pain-relieving effects on the body, reduce fatigue, and treat diabetes. [7]Choi, K. (2008). Botanical characteristics, pharmacological effects and medicinal components of KoreanPanax ginsengC A Meyer. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, 29(9), 1109-1118. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7254.2008.00869.x

How Korean Ginseng Works For Diabetes?

According to a study, the red herb acts as an aid for diabetes patients by normalizing the blood sugar levels in the body. [8]Vuksan, V., Sung, M., Sievenpiper, J. L., Stavro, P. M., Jenkins, A. L., Di Buono, M., … Naeem, A. (2008). Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng) improves glucose and insulin regulation in well-controlled, type 2 diabetes: Results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of efficacy and safety. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 18(1), 46-56. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2006.04.003 The researchers claimed that it takes twelve weeks before the body can experience the full effects of Korean Ginseng. After the twelve-week period, the body’s glycemic condition is maintained. Both the amounts of glucose and insulin are in balance within the body.

There are eleven components in Ginseng, and its two species are known to control the complications of diabetes.

They also control the level of glucose for the patients who have type-2 diabetes.

How Can It Be Used?

The recommended daily dosage for effective treatment of diabetes is 100 mg to 200 mg daily.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is known as one of the Ayurveda’s most acclaimed adaptogens. Also known as Withania Somnifera, Indian Ginseng, and Winter Cherry, this herb has the ability to fight arthritis, asthma, hypertension, cancer, and diabetes. It has been used as a traditional medicine for almost 3000 years.

How does Ashwagandha Work For Diabetes?

herbal supplements and diabetes

Ashwagandha for diabetes has been a common treatment for many years. [9]Thakur, A. K., Dey, A., Chatterjee, S. S., & Kumar, V. (2015). Reverse Ayurvedic Pharmacology of Ashwagandha as an Adaptogenic Anti-Diabetic Plant: A Pilot Study. Current Traditional Medicine, 1(1), 51-61. doi: 10.2174/2215083801999150527115205 It has steroidal lactone, Withaferin-A, which is responsible for the anti-diabetic activity. It does not have any hypoglycemic (low blood sugar effects), but a study has observed that it can treat hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) throughout the whole body, albeit the side effects on the sexual glands. [10]Belal, N. M., El-Metwally, E. M., & Salem, I. S. (2012). Effect of Dietary Intake Ashwagandha Roots Powder on the Levels of Sex Hormones in the Diabetic and Non-Diabetic Male Rats.World Journal of Dairy and Food Sciences, 7 (2): 160-166, 2012. DOI: 10.5829/idosi.wjdfs.2012.7.2.1109

According to a 2011 review by the Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research this herb is known to alter the urine and blood glucose levels, liver enzymes, and glycated hemoglobin in diabetic rats. [11]Verma, S. K., & Kumar, A. S. (2011). Therapeutic Uses of Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha) with a Note on Withanolides and Its Pharmacological Actions. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, 4(1); 2011. Retrieved from https://innovareacademics.in/journal/ajpcr/Vol4Suppl1/408.pdf

Another 2013 study revealed that Withania Somnifera had been found to decrease the blood glucose levels as compared to an oral hypoglycemic. [12]Agnihotri, A. P., Sontakke, Thawani, V. R., Saoji, A.,& Goswami, V. S. (2013). Effects of Withania somnifera in patients of schizophrenia: A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled pilot trial study. Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 45(4), 417–418. Doi. 10.4103/0253-7613.115012

How Can It Be Used?

Ashwagandha can be dosed within the range of 50 mg-6,000 mg. However, the most common dose ranges from 500mg-1000mg. Depending on the extract strength, the common dose consists of 5mg-25mg withanolide content.

If you are new to using this herbal remedy, you should start with the Ashwagandha containing 5% of Withanolides in 500mg-1000mg range.

Though Ashwagandha is considered as a supplement for many people, you should try to avoid it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Final Word

Before you start taking supplements for diabetes control, have an open communication with your doctor regarding its effects according to your medical conditions. Certain supplements and drugs tend to have allergic effects on some people due to the chemicals and compounds present in the product. Diabetes can be treated with lifestyle changes, exercise, and maintaining a healthy glucose and insulin level. Supplements can only be effective if they are accompanied by the said treatments.

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Fran Sanchez, BSc MSc

About Fran Sanchez, BSc MSc

Fran Sanchez, founder of Herbolab, graduated from Uppsala University (Sweden) with a master in molecular biology and Karolinska University (Sweden) with a degree in medical sciences and business. He then moved to Singapore to run e-commerce operations in a pharmaceutical company, until eventually he could fulfil his dream of creating a brand dedicated to help men reach their peak performance. Drawing on his experience as a lifelong multi-sport athlete and cutting edge medical and scientific research, Fran launched herbolab tongkat ali as flagship supplement in April of 2014. Fran now spend most of his time weight lifting and creating content dedicated to improve people’s lives.

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