If you find yourself craving sweet foods and are desperately trying to lose weight, or manage Type 2 Diabetes, then a herbal remedy called “Blood Sugar Support” and supplements of Magnesium and GTF Chromium may be just what you need to get rid of those desires for sugary foods destructive to your health.
When your body has difficulty in controlling your blood sugar you can develop sugar cravings. Whenever you eat your blood sugar levels rise. Since high blood sugar levels damage your body, it releases insulin to bring your blood sugar levels down.
When you eat sugary foods your body has to release larger amounts of insulin, as very high blood sugar levels damage your body. The problem is these large insulin releases can bring your blood sugar levels down too low; at this point you are likely to crave sugar. Although sugary foods do give some temporary relief from sugar cravings and other low blood sugar symptoms, such as feeling faint, headaches, irritability, and fatigue; sugar will once again cause your body to produce a lot of insulin, so the cycle begins again. Over long periods of time this can result in an inability to produce insulin properly, resulting in Type 2 Diabetes.
A lack of magnesium can trigger sugar cravings, especially chocolate cravings. However the sugar does not give your body magnesium; in fact every time you have sugar you use up magnesium as it is used by the body to help metabolise sugar. Supplements of magnesium can reduce sugar craving and help stabilise blood sugar levels . If you have Type 2 diabetes or Pre-diabetes you are more likely to have low magnesium levels [2, 3].
Research is emerging which demonstrates the importance of another nutrient, Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF) Chromium in stabilising blood sugar levels [4-6]. If supplements are used I recommend the Entire Katoa Food State supplements for the best absorption.
To best help your body you need to avoid sweet foods that cause overproduction of insulin, or in the case of Type 2 Diabetes, sweet foods that your body can no longer cope with. This means you need to avoid sugar , refined grains [8-10], and soft drinks (both the sugary ones and the diet version). Also check ingredients of the labels; avoid any that list sugar , corn syrup , and fructose .
Herbs such as Gymnema, Turmeric and Dandelion can help decrease your sugar cravings and stabilise your blood sugar levels.
Gymnema has a long tradition of use in India for people with diabetes. Recent research shows it can stabilise imbalances in blood sugar levels [11, 12], so decease craving for foods. It has been shown to help people who have Type 2 diabetes, whether they need insulin  or oral medication [14, 15], when taken for 12 to 20 months [13, 13, 14]. It seems to help the body produce correct amount of insulin [13-15]. Gymnema not only helps decrease blood sugar levels but also can lower cholesterol [11, 16]. There is also some evidence that Gymnema reduces the sweet taste of food [17, 18]; so a chocolate bar may become less appealing.
Research last year demonstrated that curcumin a component of Turmeric, another Indian herb, could help prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Two hundred and forty people with pre-diabetes took part in the nine month study; none of those who took curcumin developed diabetes whereas about one person in every six who didn’t take it became diabetic. In addition those who took curcumin had improved pancreas function (which produces insulin) and less sign of inflammation . Other research has shown turmeric to lower fats in the blood and have a protective antioxidant effect.
Dandelion is known to support the liver and is a general tonic  to the body. Traditionally it has been shown to alleviate blood sugar fluctuations [21, 22]. Like Gymnema and Tumeric, Dandelion can be used to help lower blood fats , and the protective antioxidant actions of Dandelion  are especially important for people who have diabetes.
Contact Bay Health Clinic today to find out more or to book a consultation with one of our Naturopaths; if needed they will also prepare tailored herbal medicines and recommend supplements to help you feel your best. Call 07 571 3226 or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Original Article February 2013
Copyright Jaine Kirtley MRN RN Reg. Nurse Reg. Naturopath
1. Song Y, He K, Levitan EB, Manson JE, Liu S: Effects of oral magnesium supplementation on glycaemic control in Type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomized double-blind controlled trials. Diabetic Medicine 2006, 23(10):1050-1056.http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1464-5491.2006.01852.x
2. Nielsen FH, Milne DB, Klevay LM, Gallagher S, Johnson L: Dietary Magnesium Deficiency Induces Heart Rhythm Changes, Impairs Glucose Tolerance, and Decreases Serum Cholesterol in Post Menopausal Women. J Am Coll Nutr 2007, 26(2):121-132.http://www.jacn.org/cgi/content/abstract/26/2/121
3. Chambers EC, Heshka S, Gallagher D, Wang J, Pi-Sunyer FX, Pierson RN, Jr.: Serum Magnesium and Type-2 Diabetes in African Americans and Hispanics: A New York Cohort. J Am Coll Nutr 2006, 25(6):509-513.http://www.jacn.org/cgi/content/abstract/25/6/509
5. Sharma S, Agrawal RP, Choudhary M, Jain S, Goyal S, Agarwal V: Beneficial effect of chromium supplementation on glucose, HbA1C and lipid variables in individuals with newly onset type-2 diabetes. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology 2011, 25(3):149-153.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0946672X11000472
6. Hua Y, Clark S, Ren J, Sreejayan N: Molecular mechanisms of chromium in alleviating insulin resistance. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 2012, 23(4):313-319.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955286311003044
7. Johnson RJ, Segal MS, Sautin Y, Nakagawa T, Feig DI, Kang D-H, Gersch MS, Benner S, Sanchez-Lozada LG: Potential role of sugar (fructose) in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr 2007, 86(4):899-906.http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/86/4/899
8. Schulze MB, Hoffmann K, Manson JE, Willett WC, Meigs JB, Weikert C, Heidemann C, Colditz GA, Hu FB: Dietary pattern, inflammation, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in women. Am J Clin Nutr 2005, 82(3):675-684.http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/82/3/675
9. Fung TT, Hu FB, Pereira MA, Liu S, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA, Willett WC: Whole-grain intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a prospective study in men. Am J Clin Nutr 2002, 76(3):535-540.http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/76/3/535
10. Gross LS, Li L, Ford ES, Liu S: Increased consumption of refined carbohydrates and the epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the United States: an ecologic assessment. Am J Clin Nutr 2004, 79(5):774-779.http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/79/5/774
11. Daisy P, Eliza J, Mohamed Farook KAM: A novel dihydroxy gymnemic triacetate isolated from Gymnema sylvestre possessing normoglycemic and hypolipidemic activity on STZ-induced diabetic rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2009, 126(2):339-344.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874109005133
12. Yeh GY, Eisenberg DM, Kaptchuk TJ, Phillips RS: Systematic Review of Herbs and Dietary Supplements for Glycemic Control in Diabetes. Diabetes Care 2003, 26(4):1277-1294.http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/4/1277.abstract
13. Shanmugasundaram ERB, Rajeswari G, Baskaran K, Kumar BRR, Shanmugasundaram KR, Ahmath BK: Use of Gymnema sylvestre leaf extract in the control of blood glucose in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1990, 30(3):281-294.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0378874190901075
14. Baskaran K, Ahamath BK, Shanmugasundaram KR, Shanmugasundaram ERB: Antidiabetic effect of a leaf extract from Gymnema sylvestre in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1990, 30(3):295-305.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0378874190901086
15. Persaud S, Al-Majed H, Raman A, Jones P: Gymnema sylvestre stimulates insulin release in vitro by increased membrane permeability. Journal of Endocrinology 1999, 163(2):207-212.http://joe.endocrinology-journals.org/content/163/2/207.abstract
16. Nakamura Y, Tsumura Y, Tonogai Y, Shibata T: Fecal Steroid Excretion Is Increased in Rats by Oral Administration of Gymnemic Acids Contained in Gymnema sylvestre Leaves. The Journal of Nutrition 1999, 129(6):1214-1222.http://jn.nutrition.org/content/129/6/1214.abstract
17. Sigoillot M, Brockhoff A, Meyerhof W, Briand L: Sweet-taste-suppressing compounds: current knowledge and perspectives of application. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 2012, 96(3):619-630.http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00253-012-4387-3
18. Imoto T, Miyasaka A, Ishima R, Akasaka K: 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. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Physiology 1991, 100(2):309-314.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/030096299190475R
19. Chuengsamarn S, Rattanamongkolgul S, Luechapudiporn R, Phisalaphong C, Jirawatnotai S: Curcumin Extract for Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care 2012, 35(11):2121-2127.http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/35/11/2121.abstract
23. Choi U-K, Lee O-H, Yim JH, Cho C-W, Rhee YK, Lim S-I, Kim Y-C: Hypolipidemic and Antioxidant Effects of Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Root and Leaf on Cholesterol-Fed Rabbits. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2010, 11(1):67-78.http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/11/1/67
24. Colle D, Arantes LP, Rauber R, de Mattos SEC, Rocha JBTd, Nogueira CW, Soares FAA: Antioxidant properties of Taraxacum officinale fruit extract are involved in the protective effect against cellular death induced by sodium nitroprusside in brain of rats. Pharmaceutical Biology 2012, 50(7):883-891.http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13880209.2011.641981