The National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017 states that 1 out of 10 Americans are suffering from diabetes. This totals to a little over 30 million. Additionally, 1 out of 3 American adults have prediabetes, which totals to 84.1 million [R].
Diabetes is a disease that can result to a variety of possible complications with improper management. Among those complications are kidney disease, amputations, nerve damage, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases, and eye damage [R].
Fortunately, there are scientifically proven ways to naturally manage diabetes.
1. Chromium Picolinate
Drinking 200 mg of chromium picolinate thrice a day with meals resulted to insulin sensitivity improvement [R].
The Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics, a peer-reviewed journal regarding diabetes diagnosis and management, published a review evaluating 13 studies that resulted in glycemic control improvement, and hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia reduction after chromium picolinate administration. Additional benefits reported included a reduction in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and a reduced hypoglycemia treatment requirement [R].
A spice obtained from the tree Cinnamomum, cinnamon is said to have the ability to reduce blood glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity [R].
In Pomona, California, the Western University of Health Sciences conducted a study wherein participants who consumed cinnamon reported a statistical decrease in glucose, LDL, and triglyceride levels in the blood. It was even found to increase HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels. Cinnamon is a spice you can easily incorporate in food and beverages [R].
3. Bitter Melon
Scientifically known as Momordica charantia, bitter melon or bitter gourd was reported to reduce glucose levels in the blood and balance the body’s insulin use. Several studies also report that its extract is an effective way to manage diabetes symptoms, such as heart and kidney disease, and eye and nerve damage to name a few [R].
It’s important to note, however, that pregnant women should avoid consuming bitter melon as its anti-pregnancy effects may cause a miscarriage or premature birth [R].
4. Gymnema sylvestre
Gymnema sylvestre is a woody vine otherwise known as gurmar, a Hindi term for “sugar destroyer.”
Taking a daily supplementation of gurmar reduces the gut absorption of glucose, promotes insulin secretion, helps in pancreas beta cell regeneration, and regulates glucose storage and use in the body [R].
In a controlled trial involving 22 patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a daily supplementation of 400 mg gurmar along with medication reduced their diabetes medication dosage over the course of 18 to 20 months. Five of these patients no longer had to take their medication for the course of the trial [R].
Another controlled trial was done with 27 patients diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. They took a daily dose of 400 mg gurmar supplement for 30 months and reported that their insulin dose was cut down to almost half [R]. In 11 type 2 diabetes patients who took 1 gram of gurmar supplement daily for 2 months, their blood glucose levels lowered due to higher insulin levels in the blood [R].
Berberine is an ammonium salt that was found in a meta-analysis to be effective for type 2 diabetes management [R].
One study showed that 500 mg berberine taken 3 times a day for 3 months had the same effect as metformin, a common diabetes drug). In 36 type 2 diabetes patients, a reduction in hemoglobin levels, post-meal blood sugar levels, fasting blood sugar levels and triglyceride levels were noted. On the other hand, 48 type 2 diabetes patients treated with berberine showed the same results and even had lowered plasma insulin, LDL, and total cholesterol levels [R].
Additionally, a randomized controlled trial with 116 type 2 diabetes patients showed that 1 gram of berberine a day reduced post-meal and fasting blood sugar, LDL, triglyceride, and total cholesterol levels [R].
Scientifically known as Pausinystalia johimbe, yohimbe is a plant that is indigenous to both central and western Africa. It was found in a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial to increase insulin levels in 50 patients with diabetes [R]. In 2013, an animal study involving diabetic rats found that supplementation of yohimbine increased insulin levels and decreased glucose levels in the blood [R].
In an open-label research study involving 11 individuals with recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes, one dose of horsetail extract taken orally reduced blood sugar level in 1.5 hours [R]. Horsetail may mimic insulin or promote its secretion. It was also found to regulate sugar levels and regenerate beta cells that produce insulin in diabetic rats. A variety of horsetail extracts can reduce blood sugar and regulate weight in diabetic rats [R] [R].
Glucomannan is a water-soluble dietary fiber that slows down sugar absorption in the blood, thereby avoiding spikes in blood sugar levels [R].
It was shown in a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial with 22 diabetic individuals that fiber consumption helped lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels [R].
Two studies with 20 diabetic individuals each showed that taking glucomannan before eating can decrease appetite by curbing the “hunger hormone” called ghrelin and can also avoid blood sugar level spikes. Additionally, eating food rich in glucomannan has the same effect in patients with type 2 diabetes [R] [R] [R].
A study with 34 pregnant women, diabetic or not, also showed that fiber can safely lower blood sugar levels [R].
The US National Library of Medicine website published a study in April 2011 which found that a plant flavonol called quercetin blocks enzymes that metabolizes complex sugars after meals. This results in lesser glucose absorption and avoiding glucose levels spikes [R].
Additionally, a number of cell and animal studies have found it effective for diabetes management as it can help in lowering blood sugar, removing toxins, and reducing resistance to insulin [R] [R] [R] [R] [R] [R].
10. Monk Fruit
Monk fruit is a natural sweetener known to be 150 to 200 times sweeter than regular sugar. A number of animal studies have found this fruit to be effective for lowering sugar, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels while increasing HDL levels in the blood. These animal studies have also suggested that monk fruit can reverse diabetes-induced kidney damage [R] [R] [R] [R] [R].
We strongly advise you to have regular check-ups with your doctor and lab tests (blood, kidney, and liver) at least once every four months if you decide to take any herbal medicine or supplement mentioned in the list for long-term.