Get Control of Blood Sugar Levels the Natural Way

Thursday Jul 30, 2015 | BY |
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diabetes find causes and sceen for symptoms of type 1 or 2 prevention by dieting or treath with medication or low fat and sugar free diet

You can help reduce blood sugar levels with certain foods and supplements.

I have a friend whose father has suffered with type 2 diabetes for years.

She’s in her mid-forties, and just found out at a recent doctor’s appointment that her blood sugar levels are high. Further, she was officially diagnosed as having prediabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes.

It’s not good news. Those with prediabetes are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes within 10 years unless they find a way to get their blood sugar levels under control. They’re also at an increased risk of heart disease.

The last thing my friend wants to do is live a life full of needle pricks and insulin shots. She’s stepped up her exercise and she’s watching her diet, but she wanted to know: Are there any natural ways to get blood sugar levels down?

10 Foods, Spices, and Supplements that May Reduce Blood Sugar

Check online and you’ll see hundreds of natural solutions for high blood sugar. We wanted to know which of these might actually work, so we searched for real scientific evidence.

Here’s what we found.

  1. Cinnamon: Several studies have suggested that cinnamon may help control blood sugar levels. A 2012 review concluded that it had a beneficial effect on glycemic control, and a 2009 study found that a 500 mg capsule of cinnamon taken twice a day for 90 days improved hemoglobin A1C levels in people with type 2 diabetes. An earlier 2003 study found that intake of 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon per day reduced blood sugar levels, triglyceride levels, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. And a 2013 meta-analysis found that the consumption of cinnamon (about 120 mg a day) for 4 to 18 weeks reduced blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol, and increased “good” HDL cholesterol. Note: Experts recommend “Ceylon” cinnamon, a milder variety that contains less “coumarin,” a natural ingredient in regular cassia cinnamon that when eaten in large amounts, can cause liver toxicity in sensitive individuals.
  2. Green Tea: We have really promising evidence that green tea helps lower blood sugar levels. A 2013 meta-analysis of 17 randomized clinical trials found that green tea consumption was associated with significantly lower blood sugar levels during fasting, and lower levels of hemoglobin A1c. It was also linked with reduced fasting insulin levels. Nine of the trials used green tea extract capsules at doses ranging from 200 to 800 mg of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) and the other eight used beverages with 364-582 mg of catechins (the beneficial antioxidants in green tea).
  3. Fenugreek seeds: In a 2009 clinical study, type 2 diabetic patients took 10 grams a day of powdered fenugreek seeds mixed with yogurt or soaked in hot water. After 8 weeks, results showed that those consuming the seeds soaked in water significantly reduced blood sugar and triglyceride levels by 25 percent and 30 percent, respectively. Several other clinical trials have shown that fenugreek seeds can lower blood glucose and improve glucose tolerance. Doses have ranged from 2.5 grams twice a day to 15 grams a day.
  4. Ginger: According to several studies, ginger also has the power to lower blood sugar levels and to reduce A1c levels. A recent 2015 study found that type 2 diabetes patients who took 2 grams a day of ginger powder in a supplement significantly reduced levels of fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c, with researchers concluding that it “may have a role in alleviating risk of some chronic complications of diabetes.” A 2014 study found similar results, with 1600 mg of ginger daily for 12 weeks improving fasting blood sugar levels, triglyceride levels, and A1c levels. Researchers concluded that ginger was “an effective treatment for prevention of diabetes complications.”
  5. Turmeric: If you have prediabetes and don’t want it to get worse, turmeric may be your answer. A 2012 study in Diabetes Care involving 240 subjects with prediabetes reported that after 9 months, 16.4 percent of those taking a placebo had progressed to full-blown type 2 diabetes, while none taking a daily curcumin capsule (curcumin is the active compound in turmeric) were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In addition, those taking the curcumin showed improvements in insulin resistance. Another more recent study also indicated that turmeric could reduce the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries, helping protect heart health in those with type 2 diabetes.
  6. Ginseng: Several recent studies have shown that ginseng may help to lower blood sugar levels in diabetic and non-diabetic patients. One published in 2000 showed that patients given three grams American ginseng before drinking a glucose solution experienced an 18 to 22 percent reduction in blood sugar levels. Another study that same year showed similar results, with doses of 3, 6, and 9 grams of American ginseng lowering blood sugar levels.
  7. Chromium Picolinate: An essential trace element, chromium has been found to improve blood sugar control in people with prediabetes, and those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. According to the National Institutes of Health, there is evidence that taking it in supplements can lower fasting blood sugar and insulin levels, and help control sugar levels in those with prediabetes. An earlier 2003 article in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition also stated that at least 9 reports of clinical trials showed chromium picolinate to be effective against high blood sugar, A1c levels, and insulin regulation. Doses range from 200 to 1,000 ug.
  8. Apple Cider Vinegar: Take a little with your meal or before bedtime to reduce blood sugar levels, studies say. In 2007, researchers found that participants with type 2 diabetes who consumed 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar at bedtime with one ounce of cheese reduced waking glucose concentrations. An earlier study found similar results, with subjects consuming 20 grams of apple cider vinegar showing after-meal blood sugar levels lowered by 34 percent.
  9. Almonds: Several studies have shown that almonds can curb blood sugar spikes after meals, and can also improve insulin sensitivity. A 2007 study, for example, reported that almonds, when eaten at the same time as bread, could reduce the glycemic impact of carbohydrate foods. A later 2010 study found that participants with prediabetes who consumed about two ounces of almonds a day showed greater reductions in insulin and improved insulin sensitivity, as well as reducing levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol.
  10. Oregano and Rosemary: Add these two spices together to lower blood sugar levels, studies say. In fact, one 2014 laboratory study found that they could work together in much the same was as prescription anti-diabetes medication. More specifically, they inhibit an enzyme called “dipeptidyl peptidase IV,” which promotes the secretion of insulin. Commercial extracts of Greek oregano, Mexican oregano, and rosemary were the best inhibitors of the enzyme—though on the whole, fresh herbs contained more polyphenols and flavonoids than commercial spices.

Have you tried any of these or other natural ways to reduce blood sugar levels? Please share your suggestions.

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Sources
M. Regina Castro, “Is it true that cinnamon can lower blood sugar in people who have diabetes?” Mayo Clinic, March 22, 2013, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/expert-answers/diabetes/faq-20058472.

Alam Kahn, et al., “Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People with Type 2 Diabetes,” Diabetes Care, December 2003; 26(12): 3215-3218, http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/12/3215.full.

Allen RW, et al., “Cinnamon use in type 2 diabetes: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis,” Ann Fam Med., Sept-Oct 2013; 11(5):452-9, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24019277.

Vuksan V, et al. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) reduces postprandial glycemia in nondiabetic subjects and subjects with type II diabetes mellitus. Arch Intern Med 2000;160:1009-13.

Vuksan V, et al. Similar postprandial glycemic reductions with escalation of dose and administration time of American ginseng in type II diabetes. Diabetes Care 2000;23:1221-6.

Kai Liu, et al., “Effect of green tea on glucose control and insulin sensitivity: a meta-analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials,” Am J Clin Nutr., June 26, 2013, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.052746, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/06/26/ajcn.112.052746.abstract.

“Chromium,” National Institutes of Health, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/932.html.

Douglas S. Kalman, “Chromium picolinate and type 2 diabetes,” Am J Clin Nut., July 2003; 78(1):192, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/1/192.1.full.

Kassaian N., et al., “Effect of fenugreek seeds on blood glucose and lipid profiles in type 2 diabetic patients,” Int J Vitam. Nutr. Res., January 2009; 79(1):34-9, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19839001.

“Fenugreek and Diabetes,” Diabetes.co.uk, http://www.diabetes.co.uk/natural-therapies/fenugreek.html.

Nafiseh Khandouzi, et al., “The Effects of Ginger on Fasting Blood Sugar, Hemoglobin A1c, Apolipoprotein B, Apolipoprotein A-1 and Malondialdehyde in Type 2 Diabetic Patients,” Iran J. Pharm Res., Winter 2015; 14(1):131-140, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4277626/.

Arablou T, et al., “The effect of ginger consumption on glycemic status, lipid profile and some inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus,” Int J Food Sci Nutr., June 2014; 65(4): 515-20, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24490949.

Somlak Chuengsamarn, et al., “Curcumin extract for prevention of type 2 diabetes,” Diabetes Care, November 2012; 35(11):2121-7, http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/curcumin-extract-prevention-type-2-diabetes.

Laura Oneale, “New Study Confirms Turmeric Can Benefit Diabetes,” The Guardian, March 8, 2014, http://guardianlv.com/2014/03/new-study-confirms-turmeric-can-benefit-diabetes/.

Andrea M. White and Carol S. Johnston, “Vinegar Ingestion at Bedtime Moderates Waking Glucose Concentrations in Adults with Well-Controlled Type 2 Diabetes,” Diabetes Care, November 2007; 30(11):2814-2815, http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/11/2814.full.

Carol S. Johnston, et al., “Vinegar Improves Insulin Sensitivity to a High-Carbohydrate Meal in Subjects with Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes,” Diabetes Care, January 2004; 27(1):281-282, http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/1/281.full.

Josse AR, et al., “Almonds and Postprandial glycemia—a dose-response study,” Metabolism, March 2007; 56(3):400-4, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17292730.

Wien M, et al., “Almond consumption and cardiovascular risk factors in adults with prediabetes,” J Am Coll Nutr., June 2010; 29(3):189-97, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20833991.

Allyson M. Bower, et al., “Bioactive Compounds from Culinary Herbs Inhibit a Molecular Target for Type 2 Diabetes Management, Dipeptidyl Peptidase IV,” J Agric Food Chem., 2014; 62(26):6147-6158, http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf500639f.

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story, a northwest-based writer, editor, and ghostwriter, has been creating non-fiction materials for individuals, corporations, and commercial magazines for over 17 years. She specializes in the health and wellness field, where she writes and ghostwrites books, e-books, blogs, magazine articles, and more.

Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness. Her fantasy novel, “Rise of the Sidenah,” was released with Jupiter Gardens Press in September 2015. Her literary novel, “Loreena’s Gift,” is forthcoming in spring 2016 from Dzanc Books. She lives in Idaho. www.colleenmstory.com

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