Gymnema sylvestre has a deep historical roots and is an anti-diabetic plant used in folk, Ayurvedic and homeopathic medical systems
The main medicinal parts are leaves and roots, which are generally believed to have antiviral, diuretic, anti-allergic, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, analgesic and anti-rheumatic effects.
In empirical medicine, what are the benefits of gymnema sylvestre, and are there any side effects of gymnema sylvestre? See text analysis for details
What is gymnema sylvestre?
Gymnema sylvestre is a perennial woody climbing dicot plant belonging to the family Lomoaceae.
The plant is found in tropical and subtropical regions, with parts of central and southern India and southern China, tropical Africa, Malaysia and Sri Lanka most common, and grows in the hilly areas of evergreen forests.
Because it has the effect of temporarily blocking the sweet taste after chewing the leaves, it is also known as a sugar repellent.
Gymnema sylvestre contains 20 different saponins and glycosides, and several studies have shown that folic acid may play an anti-diabetic role by promoting islet cell regeneration, increasing insulin secretion, and inhibiting glucose absorption. Note 6
Dosage of Gymnema Sylvestre (How to Eat)?
The appropriate dosage depends on several factors, such as the user’s age, health status, and other conditions, and be sure to follow the instructions on the product label and consult a pharmacist or doctor before use.
Tablets, capsules, liquid extracts and dried leaves are available on the market.
Leaves: Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then soak for 10-15 minutes before drinking.
Capsules: Research is still limited, but clinical trials for diabetes typically use 100 mg (containing 25% gymnemic acids) three to four times daily.
What are the recommended empirical benefits of gymnema sylvestre?
1. Beneficial for type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a slow-progressing metabolic disorder characterized by progressive defects in insulin resistance and secretion, accompanied by severe macrovascular and microvascular complications, affecting an estimated 2 million people with diabetes worldwide in adults aged 20 to 79 years.
Due to their progressive nature, multiple antidiabetic drugs are required to achieve and maintain optimal glycaemic control, but more than 50% to 70% of patients fail to meet glycaemic control criteria.
A meta-analysis (10 randomized controlled trials involving 419 people with type 2 diabetes) showed that gymnema sylvestre extract significantly reduced fasting blood glucose, postprandial blood glucose, triglycerides, and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) compared with baseline. Note 1
*Conclusion: For type 2 diabetes, Gymnema sylvestre may bring positive help to blood sugar regulation, but limited by the small sample size, more studies are still needed for further verification
2. Reduce the taste perception of sweetness
It is generally believed that one of the main reasons for the rising proportion of overweight and obese people worldwide is the increase in caloric intake, especially the consumption of high-calorie sweets.
The ability to sense sweetness in the mouth is thought to be one of the many factors that influence food acceptance, and as such, taste may play an important role in regulating appetite and energy intake and may influence the formation of feelings of fullness.
Gymnemic acid in the leaves of martial boots has the effect of blocking sweet taste buds and can temporarily suppress the perception of sweetness. Note 1
In one experiment, it was found that subjects who ingested martial boot leaf extract not only temporarily reduced the feeling of sweetness, but also reduced their cravings for sweets, and were more likely to limit food intake in subsequent meals. Note 2
*Conclusion: Gymnema sylvestre helps to reduce sweet feeling, which in turn reduces the craving for sweets
3. Improve hyperlipidemia
Hyperlipidemia is clinically characterized by elevated total cholesterol (TC) and/or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), but this definition is often extended to include non-optimal levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides (TG), and apolipoprotein B.
It is estimated that more than 33.5% of adults in the United States ~ have elevated serum cholesterol levels (≥ 240 mg/dL), which is one of the risk factors for the development of atherosclerosis.
In addition, the causes of hyperlipidemia can be divided into two categories, primary causes and secondary causes.
Primary is a genetic disorder with secondary causes including nephrotic syndrome, diabetes mellitus (DM), chronic renal failure (CRF), chronic liver disease (CLD), hypothyroidism, obesity, or iatrogenic disease due to total parenteral nutrition (TPN).
An animal study showed that although the blood lipid improvement effect of Gymnema sylvestre extract was inferior to that of drugs (Atorvastatin), related indicators such as total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) had statistically significant improvements. Note 4
*Conclusion: Animal studies have found that extracts related to Gymnema sylvestre may help regulate blood lipids, but further verification is still needed in human studies
4. Beneficial metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome, also known as metabolic syndrome, includes abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and increased blood pressure, and is often associated with comorbidities such as prethrombotic state, pre-inflammatory state, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and reproductive disorders.
Because metabolic syndrome is a set of descriptors for different health conditions, rather than one disease, multiple concurrent definitions have emerged.
According to the American Heart Association, nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults have metabolic syndrome.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial (12 weeks, 24 patients with metabolic syndrome) showed that ingestion of gymnema leaf (gymnema) extract reduced body weight, body mass index (BMI), and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), but there were no significant changes in other indicators such as insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. Note 5
*Conclusion: For patients with metabolic syndrome, oral administration of Gymnema sylvestre has not brought comprehensive improvement effect, which needs to be further verified by more large studies
Are there any side effects of gymnema sylvestre?
It is safe for adults to use gymnema sylvestre at appropriate doses, but possible side effects include stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting, especially when used on an empty stomach.
Excessive doses (greater than 1 g per day) may lead to hypoglycaemic symptoms such as weakness, confusion, dizziness, and loss of muscle control.
Safety precautions (7 contraindications to use)
1. May induce allergic reactions, especially to subjects who have been allergic to milkweed plants
2. Do not use pregnant and lactating women, children, liver and kidney function (due to unknown safety)
3. May interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery, please discontinue use two weeks before scheduled surgery
4. Although it appears to improve high blood sugar and insulin levels, it is not a substitute for diabetes medications, and it is best to consult a doctor before use
5. It should not be taken at the same time as hypoglycemic drugs (including insulin injection), which may cause low blood sugar, related drug names are: glimepiride, glyburide (euglycemia), pioglitazone, rosiglitazone, chlorpropamide, glipizide, tolbutamide (methylene and so on).
6. Do not use it with weight loss drugs, may affect the efficacy of drugs, related drug names are: Orlistat, lorcaserin (rokaicillin)
7. Do not use it with hypolipidemic drugs, which may affect the efficacy of drugs, related drug names are: Atorvastatin, Fluvastatin, Lovastatin, Pitavastatin, Simvastatin, Niacin (nicotinic acid) and PCSK9 inhibitors Alirocumab, Evolocumab