Gymnema

Plant Part Used

Leaf

Introduction

Gymnema is a rain forest vine found in Central and Southern India and has a long tradition in the treatment and management of type 2 diabetes. The Indian name is Gurmar, which means, "sugar destroyer." Its use has been documented in Ayurvedic medical texts for over 2000 years in the treatment of "sweet" urine. In the United States, gymnema is gaining popularity for the treatment of type 2 diabetes among physicians familiar with alternative therapies.

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

250-500mg (standardized extract), 1-3 times a day.

Most Common Dosage

250mg (standardized extract), 2 times a day.

Standardization

[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to 25% gymnemic acids per dose.

Reported Uses

The leaves of gymnema are thought to increase insulin secretion. Several studies involving positive effects on test subjects lend credence to this claim. (1) , (2) These studies also suggested that gymnema may also reduce body weight.

Other studies on gymnema have reported a significant reduction in blood glucose during therapy. (3) , (4) According to some reports, patients with type 2 diabetes have been able to discontinue use of conventional drugs and maintain a healthy balance of blood glucose with gymnema alone. (5)

Other interesting findings report that gymnema may suppress the desire for sweets. (6) , (7) , (8) For this reason, researchers think that gymnema may be a potential aid to those seeking to lose weight and adopt a more healthy diet.

Other studies report that gymnema may be effective in lowering cholesterol while helping the body develop a favorable balance of lean muscle mass to body fat. (9) , (10)

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]

General

This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines. (11)

Health Conditions

Since this dietary supplement has the ability to affect blood sugar regulation, if you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes and are using insulin or oral medications for diabetes, talk to your doctor before taking this dietary supplement.

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

References

  1. Srivastava Y, et al. Hypoglycemic and Life-prolonging Properties of Gymnema sylvestre Leaf Extract in Diabetic Rats. Isr J Med Sci. Jun1985;21(6):540-42.
  2. View Abstract: Okabayashi Y, et al. Effect of Gymnema sylvestre, R.Br. On Glucose Homeostasis in Rats. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. May1990;9(2):143-48.
  3. View Abstract: Baskaran K, et al. Antidiabetic Effect of a Leaf Extract from Gymnema Sylvestre in Non-insulin-dependent Diabetes Mellitus Patients. J Ethnopharmacol. Oct1990;30(3):295-300.
  4. View Abstract: Shanmugasundaram ER, et al. Use of Gymnema sylvestre Leaf Extract in the Control of Blood Glucose in Insulin-dependent Diabetes Mellitus. J Ethnopharmacol. Oct1990;30(3):281-94.
  5. View Abstract: Shanmugasundaram ER, et al. Use of Gymnema sylvestre Leaf Extract in the Control of Blood Glucose in Insulin-dependent Diabetes Mellitus. J Ethnopharmacol. Oct1990;30(3):281-94.
  6. View Abstract: Kamei K, et al. Amino Acid Sequence of Sweet-taste-suppressing Peptide (Gurmarin) from the Leaves of Gymnema sylvestre. J Biochem. (Tokyo). Jan1992;111(1):109-12.
  7. View Abstract: Imoto T, et al. A Novel Peptide Isolated from the Leaves of Gymnema sylvestre - I. Characterization and Its Suppressive Effect on the Neural Responses to Sweet Taste Stimuli in the Rat. Comp Biochem Physiol A. 1991;100(2):309-14.
  8. View Abstract: Kurihara Y. Characteristics of Anti-sweet Substances, Sweet Proteins, and Sweetness-inducing Proteins. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1992;32(3):231-52.
  9. View Abstract: Preuss HG, et al. Comparative Effects of Chromium, Vanadium and Gymnema sylvestre on Sugar-Induced Blood Pressure Elevations in SHR. J Am Coll Nutr. Apr1998;17(2):116-23.
  10. View Abstract: Preuss HG, Bagchi D, Bagchi M, Rao CV, Dey DK, Satyanarayana S. Effects of a natural extract of (-)-hydroxycitric acid (HCA-SX) and a combination of HCA-SX plus niacin-bound chromium and Gymnema sylvestre extract on weight loss. Diabetes Obes Metab. May2004;6(3):171-80.
  11. View Abstract: Murakami N, et al. New Hypoglycemic Constituents in ‘Gymnemic Acid’ from Gymnema sylvestre. Chem Pharm Bull. (Tokyo). Feb1996;44(2):469-71.