The normalization of blood sugar (glucose) levels has been of increasing concern in recent years, as elevated blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can lead to hypertension, obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance and elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
Hyperglycemia is often due to stress or poor dietary choices. Foods rich in sugar or starch can cause glucose levels to soar.
Fortunately there are a number of natural remedies that are both safe and effective in normalizing blood sugar levels.
One of these remarkable substances is glucomannan, a water-soluble fiber from Konjac root, a perennial plant unique to Asia and revered in Japan as a food. Several small studies have shown that Glucomannan helps the body regulate blood sugar levels and may reduce "bad cholesterol" (otherwise known as LDL cholesterol). The average American diet lacks sufficient fiber for normal bowel function, and glucomman helps in this regard as well. When glucomannan is placed in water, it swells to 17 times its dry volume. This also helps curb the appetite.
Another seemingly unlikely source of substance that helps regulate blood sugar is the Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia species). Natives of Central America love to eat the pared and cooked cactus "pads," which are called "nopal" in Mexico. Prickly Pear can stabilize blood sugar levels and is especially effective against Type II (Adult Onset) diabetes. Like, glucomannan, nopal can also aid in lowering cholesterol and help fight "the battle of the bulge." The cactus pads are loaded with vitamins, minerals and all the essential amino acids and have lots of soluble fiber that helps regulate digestion. In addition extracts of the skin of prickly pear cactus have been shown to help generate heat shock proteins that protect us against exercise-induced muscle and tissue injury.
Gymnema, "the sugar destroyer," comes to us from India This herb has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to treat adult-=onset diabetes, a condition once described as "honey urine." The hypoglycemic (blood sugar lowering) action of Gymnema leaves was first documented in the late 1920s. This action is gradual in nature, differing from the rapid effect of many prescription hypoglycemic drugs. Gymnema leaves raise insulin levels, according to research in healthy volunteers. Based on animal studies, this may be due to regeneration of the cells in the pancreas that secrete insulin.
Other animal research shows that Gymnema can also improve uptake of glucose into cells and prevent adrenaline from stimulating the liver to product glucose, thereby reducing blood sugar levels. The leaves are also noted for lowering serum cholesterol and triglycerides. The primary chemical constituents of Gymnema include gymnemic acid, tartaric acid, gurmarin, calcium oxalate, glucose, stigmasterol, betaine, and choline.
While studies have shown that a water-soluble acidic feraction provides the hypoglycemic actions, it is not yet clear what specific constituent in the leaves is responsible for this action. Some researchers have suggested gymnemic acid as one possible candidate, however further research is needed. Both gurmarin (another constituent of the leaves) and gymnemic acid have been shown to block sweet taste in humans.
When Gymnema is taken before eating, its constituents block the taste of sugar, thereby reducing the desire to eat it. The molecules of gymnemic acid fill the receptor sites for one to two hours, thus preventing the taste buds from being activated by the sugar molecules in food.
Vanadium is a mineral that supports insulin's role in normalizing blood sugar levels. It is found in skim milk, lobster, vegetables and their oils, butter and cheese. In 1994 the Journal of the American Dietetic Association presented evidence that vanadium may be an essential nutrient in our diets. Researchers in diabetes have shown that vanadium improves fasting glucose levels and that it lowers insulin resistance in Type II diabetics and is even helpful in childhood, auto-immune (Type I) diabetes, as it seems to lower the insulin requirements in that group of individuals, as well.
Chromium doesn't just make car bumpers shiny. If ever there was a "diabetes mineral," chromium may be it. That's because chromium's main assignment in the body is to help turn carbohydrates into glucose. Chromium also helps regulate and produce the hormone insulin. In fact, chromium makes insulin work more efficiently in the body, and without it, insulin simply would not function.
Good sources of chromium include brewer's yeast, nuts, cheese, whole grains, oysters, and mushrooms. Decades of research show that chromium supplementation lessens and even reverses the symptoms of diabetes, particularly type II. The reasons for this are clear: Chromium helps insulin regulate and normalize blood sugar, as well as decrease requirements for insulin and oral diabetes medications. It also improves the body's ability to transport blood glucose into cells, and like glucomannan and prickly pear, chromium helps promote favorable cholesterol levels and encourages the loss of body fat.
All five of these natural remedies may be found in one remarkable product called SugarWise, which if taken as directed, should help in normalizing blood sugar levels, and by so doing, reduce the likelihood of obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and high levels of blood lipids that may lead to heart disease and stroke.