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Discussion in 'Alternative Treatments' started by Donnadoobie, Oct 13, 2015.
Has anyone tried this supplement? Did it make any difference?
Yes, I have. And I wish I could say 'Yes! Indeed it does make a difference!' but I really have no idea whether or not it made any real difference to, say, my daily blood glucose levels or not, as I was making so many changes at that time (in terms of diet and exercise). I took it for maybe six months after I was first diagnosed. I figured my body needed all the help it could get to get back on track, and Gymnema Sylvestre was mentioned by so many natural health/diabetes practitioners, as a suitable supplement, I took it. (I took a form that included chromium.) After six months I thought I might try another one and switched to bitter melon for a couple of months. Recently I have given Apple Cider Vinegar a bash.
As I was choosing not to take metformin, I thought I would try a range of herbal supplements, but I have not seen any direct impact on, say, for arguments sake - my Fasting Blood Glucose level, (although I did see some positive effect by apple cider vinegar in diluted in water form last thing at night, not in tablet form, on my FBG, while I could stand it!)
But G..S.., (and ACV, and bitter melon) (and curcumin) have all been shown to have a positive impact on insulin sensitivity in tests. I have been trusting the tests! (I don't have the study refs immediately on hand, but I can rustle them up...)
What I believe, but have little or no personal proof of this, is that herbal supplements such as G..S..., (and spices such as cinnamon, and turmeric, and foods such as bitter melon) bolsters your metabolism and gut health, and improves your organ health, as in liver and pancreas function. Gee I hope so! As I have been taking and eating these things since diagnosis. But as I say, I absolutely have no proof of it making a difference to my insulin sensitivity, and liver function.
But, in a year and a half my insulin sensitivity has certainly gotten a lot, as in lots, better. (I would say that is demonstrated by decent post-meal blood glucose readings, in my case.) I will never be able to point to any one aspect of my own treatment though, and say 'Yes, it was the gymnema sylvestra that really helped'. As I am assuming it was a bit of everything! Some bits more than others perhaps. But how to quantify? I can't. Wish I could. Sorry I can't be more help than this.
That was helpful as the changes in my diet and lifestyle don't seem to be significantly improving blood sugar levels, especially fasting ones. I have just started taking chromium and today I have taken one GS, blood sugar after a large lunch was 5.2 so remain hopeful. We will see more over long term
What sort of foods do you eat in a typical day? How long since you made the changes? (I ask this because fasting BG is usually the last one to come down and it can take weeks or months in many cases).
It might not be necessary to spend money on supplements, especially if they are not reducing your BG. Unfortunately there is little, if any, scientific evidence for supplements that are able to do this to any great degree. When people say they believe a supplement is helping them, it may be a placebo effect. It's hard to prove it's not placebo, unless there are a large scale double blind randomised controlled trials.
I tend to eat lots of nuts, cheese, Greek yogurt with blueberries nuts and cinnamon, lots of salads. Meat, fish, cream, flax seed. Cauliflower, peppers squash. Minimal amounts of berries, carrots. I seem to be stuck and not making any progress, fasting levels usually 6 something and daytime numbers are usually 5.3-5.9 before meals and 5.5. - 7.3 two hours after food.
That sounds like an excellent (and tasty) low carb eating plan. I don't know much about cinnamon except that there is a certain kind that is better for lowering BG, and you'd need to make sure you are using enough of it while not using too much. You might want to do a search for threads about it. There is some fairly good research evidence that it does lower BG, by small amounts.
To be honest, I'd be perfectly happy with BGs like yours, because I think the key is to stay under the level where complications can occur. For me, this is 7.8 (based on Blood Sugar 101) and for others it is 8.5 (based on the NICE guidelines). I don't have a large budget to work with for food and supplements, so I'm happy without pushing my BGs down too far. Everyone is different though.
If you want to get your BGs lower, there's nothing wrong with that. Fasting BG does seem to come down slowly over time, and the amount of time can be highly variable between people. I remember @Brunneria saying something about this so she might have some ideas that can help you.
Thanks. I think I'm just finding it all a struggle at the moment.
When I first took this prediabetes in hand back in March I was eating a low GI diet rather than a low carb and my numbers always seemed better I was getting a lot of 4's and 5's as fasting levels and even 4's before meals, that said, I have no idea what the numbers were after eating, as it wasn't until I found this forum that I learned how important they were. One day for no reason my fasting numbers just went up and I have been low carb since around mid August, with a holiday in between, where I was low carb for most of the time but did have wine and the occasional cocktail!
I guess I need to learn patience. I am eating well and exercising loads, even run 5k now, which I never have would believed a few months ago.
Yes, fasting numbers are often a law unto themselves! Mine are always higher than yours, and nothing I have done has made much of a difference (I eat very low carb, high fat).
You may find it interesting that a low carb diet can (I won't say always) raise fasting levels and lowest levels by a little. People use this to criticise low carbing as if it is a negative thing.
I take a different view. Yes, I used to see lower readings before I clamped down on the carbs. I also used to see higher levels too - and they can be damaging!
When I switched to VLC my lowest reading rose from 4.8 ish, to 5.1 ish. But at the same time, my other numbers evened out wonderfully, and now I rarely see a number over 7. So I stay within this lovely safe range of 5-7 almost all the time. No hypos. No hypers. No aggro.
So long as your fasting level stays in the 'safe zone', then I would just enjoy the fact that you have your blood glucose wonderfully under control, and enjoy the new diet.
Hope that helps.
Yeah! My understanding too. I can't remember what I was reading, about low carbing and T2D, but I was hugely relieved when I came across what Brunneria is saying - that your target FBG with low carbs can be a little higher than the usual (this was for non-diabetics) really healthy 4.6. (Sigh!) (This is 'really healthy' mind, not just healthy, or even, not dangerous lol.)
This health commentor was saying 5.0-6.1 is still pretty healthy for FBGs on a low carb Way Of Eating. I thought about it and it makes sense - because if you are eating particularly low carbs then your liver will be more likely to pop out some more glucose in the night to compensate. And if you have a misreading/mis-signaling liver as in T2D (or prediabetes I guess but less likely? If you haven't hit the highs?) - then even more likely.
But like Brunneria, my BGs are much more stable on low-carbs, and the post-meal rise is very mild. And that is good, for sure.
And yes, I agree - Donnadoobie - you have great control!
And just a note - the positive effects of curcumin, ceylon/verum cinnamon, Gym Sylv, bitter melon, and cider vinegar have all been tested. Not double blinds and so on, but certainly being beyond merely a placebo! To such an extent, you will be advised to adjust your insulin levels by pump if a T1 diabetic if taking such, as they are known to lower BG.
I used to discuss all these supplements and so on with my GP, but I stopped. Modern western medicine is truly fabulous with bones, surgery etc, but not with nutrition! You can end up knowing a lot more about nutrition than your GP pretty quickly, as a T2 diabetic using diet as a treatment method.
Sometimes it is good to remind folk (and I have had to remind Mr Svea a couple of times) that many pharmaceuticals are actually made from plants that occur in nature. As in the marvellous metformin. (Which is made with a property from a lily.) For people like me who have chosen not to take medication, it can make a lot of sense of eat the food that is good for insulin sensitivity (and therefore one's blood glucose), and supports the good functioning of livers and pancreases and so on. All of those natural remedies don't have to be supplements - but can be eaten, and used to spice food (as in the turmeric which has curcumin in it and gives it that yellow colour.) (And I don't know what I would do without cinnamon!) We need to eat to live (and buy food!) - so why not eat what supports good health in a diabetic? If diabetic, etc. Is how I think.
Saying that, I have just taken Gym Sylv in supplement form, ditto bitter melon. And I prefer apple cider vinegar in the amount needed to affect BG in tablet form. (And keep the vinegar for salad dressings!). I wouldn't know Gymnema sylvestre if I fell on it sadly.
One of the nice things about being pre-diabetic with relatively low BG like you seem to have is you can go the natural remedy route and the diet and exercise route without too much brow beating. (I chose to go that route myself, but I did go through a lot of brow beating! .)
Thank you AloeSvea, that is really helpful and reassuring.
Sorry, but how would researchers know the effect was beyond placebo if the trial wasn't blinded? If people know the pill they are taking contains the substance being studied, then surely that can affect the result? That's why blinded trials are done, to control for the placebo effect.
I think supplements are like anything else, you won't know if they work for you until you try them. We all seem to have highly individualised reactions to anything we ingest, supplement or medication. It's your money and if you want to try it, go right ahead. Even if it's a placebo effect, who cares except the purists?
I agree with the others about not getting too hung up on a higher fasting if your post prandial levels are good. Here are a couple of links about physiological insulin resistance:
Still, been there and when my fasting levels kept increasing and went above my 7.8 danger zone, I decided to try intermittent fasting and it worked for me. I rarely go above 5.5 these days
If you haven't seen the intermittent fasting thread, you can find it here:
I have no problems with the idea that food (as in plants in this case) contains properties that contribute to the the good functioning of our bodies - and even the reverse as the case may be. (And what a bonus that plants in the form of herbs and spices makes other foods taste good.)
I have no problems with the idea that certain foods can raise our blood glucose. I have no problems with the idea that certain foods (as in plants, herbs, spices in this case) can help lower them, boost insulin sensitivity indirectly or even directly.
It would be very odd, from my point of view, to be a diabetic trying to get well with diet and have problems with those ideas.
Especially if not using the French lilac (ie metformin), for whatever reason.
Drug companies can do double blind trials (and don't they take years?) Sometimes just a common simple person like me is happy to trust tests that don't involve that level of complexity. And I have no problems trusting 'folk medicine' (ie non-western medicine). Especially if it makes sense, in a non-double-blind tested way. Low-carb diets are un-double blinded tested, at the moment, aren't they? But here we are, so many of us, telling conventional nutritionists and our doctors that we are not waiting for that level of testing, as our health depends on our acting right now. And what do you know? Here we are - getting better. Some of us without double-blind-tested plants. Many, like gymnema sylvestre, that are part of a ground-roots (gee I like that word) folklore health system that have not had labs at their disposal, at least in times past. But one imagines a huge huge huge level of trial and error over the centuries. But have a chat to someone from India and Sri Lanka that herbs from their own medical systems are only placebos. (Whereas the one you use, you know, grew in Europe so .....) Give it a try! I'd love to hear the come-back.
Eating and metering is a wonderful thing. Watching ones insulin sensitivity increase is a wonderful thing. When trying a multi-pronged approach to wellness one cannot easily pin-point exactly what it is that is helping you, and what it is that is not.
But I would challenge anyone who says the quality and the properties of the plant matter we eat (whether or not in supplement form) has no effect other than a placebo one.
By the way, my understanding of Gym Sylv's benefits is that it aids in the reduction of a sweet-tooth, reduces the desire to eat sweet things by dulling the sweet taste sensors on our tongues. This is from common simple wikipedia, but :
"G. sylvestre has long been thought of as a medicinal plant in Asia. The plants contain a large number of chemicals, including triterpenoids, which may have pharmacological properties. The constituent saponins have the effect of suppressing the taste of sweetness. Extracts from the plant are the subject of research into potential medicinal and industrial applications."
Personally, I can see why I took it in the first months of my diagnosis, as I was massively changing my way of eating, which took a good three months to transform it to one that was not going to kill me. I had to kick, or least reduce it, my love of sweet food, of which as we know is readily available at the corner store or supermarket. Perhaps gym sylv helped me do that.
If you find a herbal remedy helps you, great, but if you are going to say that it has been tested and certainly has an effect beyond placebo, then there are some sources you need to be able to cite, to back that up. Otherwise, it's probably more accurate to say you have found that a herbal remedy helps you.
Actually, she can say what she likes.
So long as she isn't making medical claims, pushing it, selling it, or medically advising other people and giving dangerous advice.
The fact that you want references is more on you than her.
And asking for such references, in such a field is both unreasonable and pointless, since the cost of such tests and trials will never happen on a natural product. The funding simply isn't there.
Aloe has clearly explained her personal reasons for taking the Gym sylv. Beyond that, the onus falls to you to accept or reject. But endless asking the unreasonable is a waste of your time.
Brunneria, you are a woman after my own heart. Many thanks.
I have recently trialled GS for just over a month. I am afraid that for me it had little or no significant effect that I could measure. Maybe if i had done a more stricly controlled experiment I may have seen a small beneficial change, but I had other things going on that probably masked (or corrupted) the trial. I did however do a similar trial prior to the GS period with another supplement, and did see significant changes that were recorded, even though the trial period had the same sort of disturbances as seen in the GS trial. So I conclude that any effects from GS were considerably less than the other supplement. I have now taken up a new trial with the other supplement, and will be writing up my experiences in the Forum as I go. I hope others find benefits from GS since it does seem to have a positive track record and has a long history as a folklore medicine, but I will not be taking it further,
. gymnema sylvestr worked for me better than metformin, along with gymnama Jamun seed coffee kind of riveted my diabetes. both are very expensive in the UK. i bought gymnema from lifetone tea, looking for cheap collection to buy more...
Another thread raised from the dead after nearly three years...