Below are some of the supplements that can help diabetics, including information on gymnema. It is very important to check blood glucose levels regularly if you or someone you know decides to try these supplements because they can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if you are taking medication for diabetes. Also, it is very important to discuss any changes in supplements or herbs you might take with your doctor, we always recommend this.
The gradual hypoglycemic action of Gymnema leaves, first documented in the 1930's, differs from the rapid effect of many prescription hypoglycemic drugs. Gymnema leaves raise insulin levels, according to research in healthy volunteers possibly due to regeneration of the b-cells in the pancreas. The leaves are also noted for lowering serum cholesterol and triglycerides. A water-soluble acidic fraction of the leaves provides blood glucose lowering actions, possibly gymnemic acid. Its action in the reduction of intestinal glucose uptake has also been noted.
Incredible as it may seem, this herb appears to regenerate the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. In one study of 22 type II diabetics, supplementation with this herb resulted in improved blood sugar control across the board. Sixteen of the 22 patients were able to reduce their oral medications while five discontinued them altogether
General Interactions: Gymnema may alter the dosage needed for other drugs commonly used to treat diabetes, including glipizide, metformin, and insulin.
Cautions: Gymnema has safely been used for decades in various countries. Careful long-term studies on its safety have not been done so far, however.
Additionally, gymnema sylvestre (GSE) has significantly improved cholesterol, triglyceride, and free fatty acid levels that were elevated in the study participants (cholesterol and triglycerides are often high in diabetics). The fact that GSE lowered conventional medication requirements, increased serum insulin levels, and required months to obtain optimal effects, led the authors to speculate that, "These data suggest that the beta cells may be regenerated/repaired in Type 2 diabetic patients on GSE supplementation."
The control group used in this study not only didn't improve during the study period, they actually worsened. An additional study in Type 1 diabetics showed equally impressive results. Insulin requirements came down together with blood glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin and glycosylated plasma protein levels. Serum lipids returned to near normal levels with GSE therapy. This may help prevent cardiovascular disease, a common complication in diabetics. Most impressively, an increase in C-peptide levels was found in these participants. This is strong indication of a restoration of insulin production, presumably due to regeneration/repair of beta cells in the pancreas.
Here are the other supplements that help control and prevent diabetes. Chromium supplements have been shown to reduce blood glucose significantly. The dose used in human studies ranges from 200 to 1000 mcg of elemental chromium a day, with best results occurring when 400 mcg or more of chromium is taken daily.
Magnesium, berberine, fenugreek, glucomannan, l-carnitine, alpha lipoic acid, and biotin also can help maintain glycemic control.
See this article on cinnamon for diabetes:http://www.diabetes-guide.org/cinnamon-diabetes.htm
and this one on supplements for diabetics:http://www.diabetes-guide.org/nutritional-supplements.htm