Made From Gymnema Sylvestre: A pill that kills your taste for sugar, and an extract that reportedly cuts high blood sugar
A company called Sugarest has developed a pill made from the Indian herb Gymnema sylvestre that purports to deaden your ability to taste sugar, thereby rendering sweets tasteless.
According to its manufacturers, it neutralizes the sweet receptors on your tongue for about a half hour, so that candy and sweets are no longer enjoyable for that period of time. Beware, though, that because it's a natural product made from a herb, it doesn't have to prove that it works or get FDA approval.
Meanwhile, The Journal of Ethnopharmacology recently published a small study out of India that examined the effects of an extract of the leaves of Gymnema sylvestre on high blood sugar. Twenty-two people with type 2 diabetes were given 400 milligrams of the extract for 18 to 20 months as a supplement to their regular medical regimen of oral anti-hyperglycemic agents.
During that period, an unspecified number of the patients apparently showed significant reductions in blood glucose and A1c's. Five of them were reportedly able to discontinue their conventional anti-hyperglycemic drug and manage their blood glucose levels with the extract alone. Moreover, raised insulin levels were apparently found in the blood of the patients.
The authors, who published related research in 1990 in the same journal, believe that beta cell regeneration is the source of the improvement; however, members of the scientific community have previously questioned both their findings and their conclusions. (For further further information on the topic, see our article "The Fountain of Youth for Beta Cells?", January 1999.)
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Sources: Journal of Ethnopharmacology