What health supplements are used to regulate glucose?

There are a number of natural supplements that can be used to regulate glucose. Popular ones are the antioxidant alpha lipoic acid, the Gymnema Sylvestre extract, the bitter melon extract, green tea extract, cinnamon bark extract, magnesium, vitamin C and zinc.

What are the health benefits of these supplements?

Insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome are issues that are prevalent all over the world with their rates seemingly on the rise. Diabetes is characterized by a deficiency in insulin production/action such that high levels of glucose are seen in the blood. This can lead to problems with carbohydrate and lipid metabolism down the line. Obesity is characterized by increased storage of lipids in the body which can lead to insulin resistance. This also leads to higher glucose levels in the blood.

There is a need to decrease the glucose levels in the blood in these individuals and promote a healthier carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. The above mentioned natural supplements have been shown to do this and promote a healthier carbohydrate and lipid metabolism as discussed below.

What are the features of these supplements?

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha lipoic acid is typically made in the liver and other tissues but can also be obtained from plant and animal sources through diet. Higher concentrations of it are usually found in the heart, liver, and kidney. Plant sources include spinach, broccoli, tomato, garden peas, Brussel sprouts, and rice. Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant in its two forms and is able to quench reactive oxygen species, regenerate antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, chelate active metal ions, repair oxidized proteins, improve regulation of gene expression and inhibit activation of the immune system (1-3). In terms of diabetes, studies have shown that type 1 and 2 diabetes is associated with increased formation of free radicals and decreased antioxidant potential, leading to oxidative damage of cell components (4). Specifically, in diabetes, it prevents beta cell destruction, enhances glucose usage, and its antioxidant effects may be particularly useful in slowing the development of diabetic complications such as diabetic neuropathy (5). Alpha lipoic acid has improved diabetic neuropathy symptoms in several clinical trials (6-10)

Gymnema Sylvestre

Gymnema Sylvestre is a shrub native to India and Africa. There is a long history of its use in India’s ayurvedic medicine. People use it for diabetes and weight loss in the form of Gymnema tea. The active compounds have been isolated from Gymnema leaves has been identified as gymnemic acids (11,12). It is thought that gymnemic acids delay glucose absorption