3 Supplements Scientifically Proven To Lower Blood Sugar, Improve Insulin Sensitivity, And Contribute to Weight Loss
If you’re diabetic, you’re already well aware of just how vital Insulin is within the human body, but let’s brush up a little, just in case…
Insulin is a peptide hormone, comprised of over 50 amino acids in a specific sequence, secreted by your Pancreas in response to food consumption.
It’s primary job is to drive glucose (sugar) into your muscle cell, fat cells, and liver.
Additionally, Insulin triggers the body to stop burning fat and instead start storing it. This makes intuitive sense if you think about it for a moment…
Body fat is simply stored energy so, when you eat, your body has no reason to burn it…so it stores it for later. This goes back to the evolution of man, when meals weren't promised and storing fat is what kept us alive during hard times.
Well, fast-forward a few thousand years and someone we're in the midst of an Obesity epidemic that seems to be getting worse and worse.
Most people are unaware that Insulin triggers fat storage but, in all honesty, the reason why so many people (in America and certain other countries) are so fat these day has amuch to do with poor Insulin Sensitivity.
Guzzling sugary drinks and eating way more carbs than necessary all day every day keeps our Insulin levels high, resulting in fat storage over time.
Unfortunately, the negative impact of secreting a bunch of Insulin doesn’t end with an increased likelihood of fat accumulation. It gets a lot worse…
Insulin Resistance occurs when the Pancreas is forced to produce more and more Insulin. Generally speaking, this is diet-induced.
If you eat bags of chips and drink soda all day, even if you don’t think you’re consuming many calories, you could be massively spiking your Insulin levels by simply consuming too many sugars (carbs).
The magnitude and the frequency of those Insulin spikes will determine your Insulin Sensitivity. The more Insulin you force your body to produce, the more resistance you become.
In other words: Insulin Sensitivity is simply the opposite of Insulin Resistance.
The more sensitive your are to Insulin, the less Insulin your body is required to produce. Most of those guys (or girls) you see in the gym who are freakishly cut have great Insulin Sensitivity.
Human beings are genetically predisposed to different levels of Insulin Resistance, but anyone can reduce Insulin Resistance and improve Insulin Sensitivity in a few ways:
Diabetes is a widely misunderstood condition by those who don’t suffer from it.
Perhaps if more people were aware just how easy to it to slip into a state of increasing Insulin Resistance, eventually resulting in Adult Onset Diabetes, they might make some lifestyle changes early on to avoid it.
Lucky for you, not only are we going to talk to about what it means to be Insulin Resistance, overweight, and potentially Diabetic, but we'll also talk about ways to reverse these conditions.
So, if you value your health, by all means, read on...
Generally speaking, a person is Diabetic when the ability of the Pancreas to produce Insulin is severely reduced or completely non-existent.
Although the progression of Diabetes varies from person to person and generally takes time to develop.
It’s not simple “contracted” like other diseases, but make no mistake, it is a serious, deadly disease and must be treated accordingly.
TYPE 1 DIABETES
Type 1 Diabetes is when, for reasons unknown, the body’s immune system destroys/damages the Pancreatic beta-cells that traditionally produce Insulin, rendering the body unable to produce Insulin or only able to produce a tiny amount. Insulin injections are typically required to compensate.
About 5-10% of Diabetics are Type 1. It usually develops in childhood or young adulthood but can happen at any time, technically.
TYPE 2 DIABETES
Type 2 Diabetes, sometimes referred to as “Adult Onset Diabetes” makes up the other 90% of Diabetics. Just like Type 1, Type 2 Diabetes is characterized by an inability of Insulin to do its job, but for a different reason.
The Pancreas is able to secrete Insulin, but the body is unable to use it efficiently. Most of the time, Insulin injections are required although the amount needed differs significantly..
There are also several oral drugs and supplements which lower blood glucose or augment Insulin signaling, but we’ll discuss those later.
First, let's talk about exercise and how it impact blood sugar.
EXERCISE AND BLOOD SUGAR
When you exercise, you increase the demand for energy, your body’s preferred source of which is Glucose (sugar), of course.
One of Insulin’s primary roles (it does have many others) is to drive Glucose into muscle tissue, fat tissue, and the liver.
Without it, you’re ability to handle the nutrients (carbs and protein) you’re eating would be severely hindered.
As if that's not bad enough, If you’re blood sugar gets too high (hyperglycemic) or drops too low (hypoglycemic), a multitude of complications can occur, from ridiculously frequent urination to death.
Exercise has been proven time and time again to have a beneficial impact on blood Glucose levels and Insulin sensitivity.
Nutrition and Supplements aside…
Exercising regularly is the single most effective thing you can do to avoid developing Diabetes later in life.
This is simply because when you exercise you burn carbs and fat which would otherwise just build up over time.
It should come as no surprise that early human beings—the one’s that spent 12 hours a day running and hunting—had virtually no likelihood of developing Diabetes.
It probably happened randomly (Type 1 can be pretty random), but for the most part, our modern diet is what has caused this dramatic spike in Diabetes rates.
Much of the childhood Obesity epidemic—which is of course directly correlated with the childhood Diabetes epidemic—is believed to be due to the ridiculous amount of sugary drinks and snacks consumed by children regularly
It’s gotten to the point where kids don’t even want water anymore unless it's sweet!
“Ew! Gimme Something Sweet!” says your 3 year old kid.
You take a look in the fridge and see some juice...
“Juice is made from fruit so it’s all good” you tell yourself.
Well, that may be true, but the macro-nutrient content of any fruit is predominantly simple sugar (Fructose) and unless it’s an actual piece of fruit with Fiber in it to reduce the speed of absorption, all that juice is doing is spiking little Jimmy’s Insulin levels through the roof.
That's right, juice is just as sugary and bad for you as most sodas.
Give him his juice day after day and it’s only a matter of time until little Jimmy develops Type 2 Diabetes.
The most important thing you can do to reduce the likelihood of you or your child from developing Type 2 Diabetes is cut out the sugary drinks throughout the day.
All that sugar forces the Pancreas to produce more and more Insulin until finally it's all tapped out and just says “forget it, I’m done!”, and you’re suddenly you or your child is Diabetic.
Once that happens, you’re only hope is to eat healthy and exercise regularly like you never have before.
What most people don’t realize is that Diabetes, especially Type 2 Diabetes, can be well-managed to the point that you can live a perfectly healthy lifestyle.
It’s just that most pharmaceutical companies would rather sell you a bunch of Insulin and just tell you keep taking it, rather than admit there are perfectly natural ways to reduce your dependence on Insulin and control your blood sugar.
Well, that’s what we’re here for! Which brings us to our next area of managing Blood Sugar, Insulin Sensitivity, and Diabetes…
Let's dive into the science of some of the most effective blood glucose-reducing supplements, some of which have actually beat Diabetes drugs in terms of efficacy in terms of clinical trials.
3 ALL NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS THAT LOWER BLOOD SUGAR
There’s a lot of anti-supplement propaganda out there, mostly proliferated by pharmaceutical companies who feel threatened by the fact that some supplements have been scientifically proven to given certain pharmaceutical medication a run for their money (in terms of efficacy).
The truth is, there are supplements out there which are safe, effective, and a whole lot cheaper than their pharmaceutical counterparts.
When it comes to controlling blood sugar, improving Insulin Sensitivity, and reducing dependence on Insulin injections, there are a few supplements which have been studied extensively and are VERY useful…
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), not to be confused with Alpha Linoleic Acid, is a fatty acid with anti-oxidant properties that give it a wide array of potential health benefits.
While many of these potential benefits remain under-explored by modern science, the impact of Alpha Lipoic Acid on blood sugar has been studied fairly extensively.
A 2012 study published in the Asia Pacific Journal Of Clinical Nutrition found that Type 2 Diabetics treated with varying doses of Alpha Lipoic Acid (300, 600, 900, 1200/day) showed dose-dependent (the more the better) reductions in fasting blood glucose, indicating an Insulin-augmenting type effect.
An early study from 2011 published in Diabetes Care which spanned over 4 years found that Alpha Lipoic Acid treatment reduced symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy (an all-too-common side effect of Diabetes) which generally effects nerve endings in extremities, causing discomfort and sometimes, severe pain.
This study also noted a trend toward decreases in Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c), an indication of how well diabetes is being controlled.
When you step back and look at the research, it becomes clear that Alpha Lipoic Acid, while not a treatment for Diabetes on its own, can certainly help control blood sugar and lessen Insulin Resistance.
ALA supplements which are just labeled “Alpha Lipoic Acid” contain a 50/50 combination of both ALA isomers, Dextrorotatory (R-ALA) and one is Levorotatory (S-ALA).
R comes from the Latin word “rectus”, meaning Right. S comes from the Latin term “sinister”, meaning Left.
In chemistry, such a chemical structure is referred to as “racemic” meaning the Chiral Center of the molecule consists of just one atom (in this case Nitrogen) which connects two mirror image sides of the molecule known as enantiomers.
When it comes to Alpha Lipoic Acid, source matters more than anything because only the Dextrorotatory (R-ALA) form is biologically active. The Levorotatory (S-ALA) is biologically useless.
TO BE CRYSTAL CLEAR
The R enantiomer of a any molecule can be Levorotatory and the S enantiomer can be Dextrorotary, or vice versa. It just so happens that, when it comes to Alpha Lipoic Acid, the Dextrorotary portion is the R enantiomer which is the biologically active part that you should be interested in if supplementing with Alpha Lipoic Acid
Realistically, when you’re taking a supplement labeled Alpha Lipoic Acid (half S isomer, half R isomer) you’re only getting half the amount of biologically active substance (R-ALA) and the rest is poorly absorbed at best and possible complete wasted.
THE PRIMARY ISSUE WITH R-ALA
Unfortunately, R-ALA has it’s drawbacks. It’s extremely unstable under pretty normal (slightly hot) conditions and is prone to Polymerization. Polymerization is simply the combining of monomers (single molecule) into polymers (chains of moers).
If you order some R-Lipoic Acid powder and it arrives as a solid brick, you’ll immediately understand the issue of polymerization. The jury’s still out on how polymerization impacts absorption, but logic would suggest that it certainly doesn’t help.
Traditional Alpha Lipoic Acid (half R-ALA, half S-ALA) may be half useless, but at least it’s stable. R-ALA is seriously annoying to work with and probably not really worth it for most people unless you keep it in a de-humidified, cold room.
DON’T WORRY, THERE’S A SOLUTION
It’s called Na-R-ALA, or Sodium R-Lipoic Acid. It’s simply R-ALA bonded with Sodium, making it entirely stable, easily dissolved in water, and more importantly, well-absorbed.
Assuming it’s quality Na-R-ALA (produced by GeroNova), Na-RALA is considerably more bioavailable than either R-Lipoic Acid or the racemic mixture (Alpha Lipoic Acid)
Since Na-R-ALA yields 80% R-Lipoic Acid, you’ll need 250mg to achieve at 200mg (clinical) dose of R-ALA.
Berberine is a unique molecule which can found in a variety of plants and has anti-diabetic (blood glucose lowering) effects which rival those of prescription diabetic medications.
It works via activation of AMPK (with special affinity for the AMPKa1 subset), an enzyme which acts as a “master switch” by stimulating glucose uptake into muscle tissues and fatty acid oxidation as well.
Berberine is remarkably potent!
It has been shown to be nearly as potent as 2,4-thiazolidinedione (a prescription diabetes drug) with regards to stimulating Glucose uptake into fat cells.
It has also been shown to synergistically enhance the effects of diabetic medications, Metformin and Troglitazon
In a 2008 pilot study published in Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, researchers sought to determine if Berberine could help with Type 2 Diabetes.
They enlisted 36 Type 2 Diabetic patients who were assigned into 2 groups:
- Metformin (prescription Diabetes drug)
- Berberine (supplement)
Interestingly, Berberine was found to be just as hypoglycemic (capable of lowering blood sugar) as Metformin.
A 2010 study published in Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental found that Berberine supplementation effectively lowered Fasting Blood Glucose (FBG) and improved Insulin signaling in subjects with Type 2 Diabetes.
The researchers in this study also pointed out that the mechanisms by which Berberine elicits these effects is not the same as the Diabetes drugs Metformin and Rosiglitazone, meaning there’s a possibility for adjunct therapy that’s more effective than either individual treatment option on it’s own.
As if that wasn't enough proof...
A later 2012 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that subjects with Metabolic Syndrome (Pre-Diabetes) who supplemented with 900mg Berberine per day for 12 weeks experienced a significant decrease in BMI and Leptin levels, not to mention enhanced Insulin signaling.
Out of all the supplements on this list, Berberine is by far the most powerful, having been shown to be just as effective—on most parameters—as some prescription diabetic drugs.
Perhaps even synergistic in some cases.
If there's one supplement you should be taking to control blood sugar, it's Berberine, without a doubt!
But why stop there?
Gymnema sylvestre is an Ayurvedic herb, known in the Hindi community as “Guarmar” which directly translates to “Sugar Killer”.
Due to it’s widespread use throughout the ancient world it’s known by several different names, depending on the geographical region and dialect spoken there.
Here are some of the most poular:
- Meshashrunga – Bengali (Southern Asian/Indo-Aryan
- Gudmar – Gujarati (Western India/Indo-European)
- Madhunashine – Kannada (India)
- Kawlj – Konkani (Indo-European)
- Lakshmi – Oriya (East Indian)
Fortunately for us (and you), Gymnema sylvestre has been studied to the extent that researchers have identified the compounds responsible for the hypoglycemic effects, known as Gymnemic Acids:
This molecule may seem extremely complex. That’s because it actually consists of several sub-components, the most important of which have been identified as:
In an earlier (1990) study published in Ethnopharmacology, researchers investigated the effects of GS4--a water soluble extract of Gymnema sylvestre--in Insulin-dependent Diabetic patients.
They found that:
“GS4 therapy appears to enhance endogenous insulin, possibly by regeneration/revitalisation of the residual beta cells in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.”
While the precise mechanism by which it works has yet to be identified, research indicates that Gymnema sylvestre (or it’s active components) works partially by blocking sugar-binding sites, thereby preventing sugar accumulation and allowing sugar (carbs) to pass through without being fully absorbed.
In other words, you get to have your cake and eat it too!
BE CAREFUL WITH EXTRACTS
This is not specific to Gymnema sylvestre.
It should be a major concern when dealing with any sort of herbal supplement that contains unknown levels of active components.
There are a ton of Gymnema sylvestre supplements out there which are comprised of various parts of the plant (sometimes not disclosed) which contain varying concentrations of the active components.
For that reason, it’s important to go with a standardized extract from a brand you can trust.
We recommend GS4 or GS4 Plus, standardized for 25%-75% Gymnemic Acids.
If it doesn’t say the standardization on the bottle, it’s probably not standardized, meaning it’s probably worthless.
After all, if you had a supplement company and went through all the trouble of cultivating and extracting Gymnema sylvestre so precisely, you wouldn't you want to put that on the label as a selling point?
No standardization, no deal!
The Absolute Best Supplements For Controlling Blood Sugar and Improving Insulin Sensitivity
So, we've discussed a few supplements that have been clinically proven to help with blood sugar control and even improve insulin sensitivity if taken regularly.
Now, you could go out and buy Berberine, Gynemma, and a bunch of other supplements and dose them out yourself or...
You could just check out GlycoShield from us here at HPS. It contains clinically effective doses of:
- Berberine - An all natural substance which as been scientifically proven to be just as effective as prescription Diabetic medication (Metformin) at regulating glucose/lipid metabolism.
Gynemma - Repeatedly proven to reduce blood glucose and can potentially be used in conjunction with Diabetic medications as well as control sugar cravings.
- Garcinia Cambogia - Garcinia Cambogia contains hydroxycitric acid which, in some studies, has been shown to help control body weight by blocking 'de novo lipogensis' (conversion of carbs to fat) and cholesterol biosynthesis (creating of cholesterol).
- Salaretin - In a clinical settting, Salaretin has demonstrated the ability to block carbohydrate absorption by inhibiting the action of Sucrase, an enzyme which breaks down Sucrose (table sugar) into Fructose and Glucose in order for them to be absorbed.
- Banaba Leaf Extract - Research indicates that Banaba Leaf is capable of lowering blood glucose, fighting Metabolic Syndrome (pre-Diabetes) and potentially even contributing to the impact of Garcinia Cambogia.
- GS4 Plus - GS4 is a particular (patented) extract of Gynemma Sylvestre which has been clinically proven to be just as effective as certain Diabetes medications at lowering blood glucose and combating certain forms of Diabetes, ultimately contributing to weight-loss.
- Olive Leaf Extract (Oleuropein) - Olive Leaf contains many phytonutrients but the focus is generally on one in particular: Oleuropein, which has been shown to have a wide range of positive health effects including cardiovascular benefits, blood pressure normalization--and perhaps most importantly--the ability to prevent fat gain.
When you compare the ingredients and dosages of those ingredients to any other 'competing product', it's pretty clear that GlycoShield is by far the best glucose disposal/nutrient partitioning agent there is.
Not only does it contain several ingredients which are on par with Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes medication, but it also contains a handful of other carefully chosen complementary ingredients, ultimately making it the clear winner when it comes to these types of supplements.
You can check it out here or on Amazon and the great thing about it is--because it's non-stimulant--you can literally stack it with any other weight-loss/fat-burner supplement.
The Bottom Line On Blood-Sugar Supplements
Most people think weight-loss/management is a combination of eating "right" and working out.
That's true to some degree but Insulin Sensitivity usually gets completely brushed to the side despite it being one of the most important factors when it comes to achieving a lean, cut physique.
You can work out as much as you want, but if you don't take the steps to improve your Insulin Sensitivity, you'll never achieve the results you really want.
The truth is, pharma companies don’t want you to be aware that there are supplements are there which are just as good (or better) for keeping blood sugar in check, require no prescription, and are WAY cheaper (not to mention completely natural and tested over thousands of years).
That’s just the way the supplement industry is.
Anytime a supplement exhibits benefits on par with a prescription drug, the pharma companies that produce that drug are unhappy.
They don’t want people to know about these alternative treatments.
However, when it comes to managing blood glucose, avoiding Diabetes, and getting that lean, defined look to your physique, the supplements we discussed are quite effective.
And since the FDA is in Big Pharma’s pocket, they tend to target these types of supplements at random, depending on who’s market share is being encroached upon.
In the case of things like Berberine and Gymnema sylvestre, they're plants, so it’ll be hard for the FDA to figure out a way to ban it, but again, the science speaks for itself.
These supplements work very well and--in the case of GlycoShield--they have a certain synergy between them that can't be beaten by any one drug or supplement.
Sure, you could go out and by a bunch of single ingredients supplements like Berberine and Gynemma sylvestre and take handfuls of capsules with every meal OR...
You could simply give GlycoShield a shot and have everything you could possible need to combat high blood sugar, diabetes, and obesity all condensed into just two capsules.
You can check out GlycoShield and read all about each individual ingredient here.