I already have a few articles on AMPK up on the site as well as one that I mention gynostemma in, and these have been among the most viewed articles on the site, especially the one concerning gynostemma, and it turns out a lot of people come to my site looking for some good info on gynostemma in particular, so it’s time I gave gynostemma its own article, and it surely is meriting of one.
Gynostemma may be the best thing that you can take for lowering your blood sugar, including all of the supplements for this as well as all of the prescription medications, including injecting insulin. There are several supplements that have been shown in double blind studies to work as well as prescription anti diabetic medications do, but from the research thus far, none may be as exciting as gynostemma.
This plant, native to southernmost China, northern Vietnam, southern Korea, and Japan, has been used medicinally for a very long time, as a tonic. It is also known by its Chinese name jiogulan, and also as southern ginseng. It became known as ginseng at tea prices in the Far East, although nowadays the extract that you buy in capsules does cost more than ginseng capsules do, at least in the West, but this packs a bigger punch than ginsengs as well.
Up until recently, we had no idea what the therapeutic properties of this natural medicine were, although in a sense that doesn’t matter when you take it and see an improvement in several areas, which is what kept this popular for centuries.
Recently we have studied it and have found to be one of the best things out there to combat low AMPK levels, and although this is just one of its beneficial properties, it is the one that is most pertinent to treating type 2 diabetes.
However, it is not the only one. Gynostemma affects and improves many processes, and first and foremost it is an antioxidant, and in particular increases an enzyme called superoxide dismutase, a powerful intracellular antioxidant. While a number of supplements have antioxidant properties, the body’s own antioxidants are much more powerful, and things that stimulate this enzyme are the ones with powerful effects, and gynostemma really delivers that.
This is very important to diabetics, as the higher blood sugar that we get does its nasty work thorough excess oxidation, at the cellular level, this damages cells and leads to the damage that diabetics strive so hard to prevent. Lowering blood sugar to closer to normal levels is a big help, but so is increasing our cells’ own protection against excessive oxidation. Gynostemma does both.
Gynostemma also enhances our immune system, assisting us in not only killing pathogens but tumor cells as well, and therefore may protect us from not only getting sick but getting cancer. Cancer cells aren’t that uncommon actually, they frequently appear in our bodies and it’s only when our immune system fails to kill them off that they proliferate into tumors and cancers.
Gynostemma is also considered an adapogen, substances that regulate and balance the body, and serve as an overall tonic. Other adaptogens include ginseng, cordiceps, and ashwagandha, and all of these do strengthen the body, and this is yet another benefit of gynostemma.
Gynostemma also increases nitric oxide levels in the blood, which is a vasodialator and important for such things as good circulation, healthy blood pressure, and overall cardiovascular health. A great many diabetics suffer from poor circulation and low nitric oxide levels and this has been shown to treat this condition.
I otherwise suffer from cold feet and I’ve taken several things for this, but nothing has helped my feet like gynostemma does, and I have observed them not only warming to the proper temperature, but it helping my neuropathy by a noticeable amount as well, which makes sense because neuropathy and impaired circulation go together, and if you want to heal from this, you need to have good blood flow to your feet.
The vasodilation properties of this medicine also serves to make you more relaxed and calm and improves your overall sense of well being, and if this were the only benefit of gynostemma for type 2 diabetics, this benefit would make it well worth the money in itself I would say.
This all serves to benefit the cardiovascular system in general as well, strengthening the heart, and one of the biggest risk factors with type 2 diabetes is cardiovascular disease, so this does bear paying particular attention to if you wish to reduce the risk of these complications. The cardiovascular risk comes primarily from the high levels of insulin that we tend to have, and in addition to a lifestyle that reduces excess insulin levels, gynostemma can be of further help in preventing this.
The biggest thing that gynostemma does for diabetes though is that it increases AMPK levels. This is a big deal with us and this is the way that the drug metformin helps diabetes, by bringing up our low AMPK, which is an enzyme that affects many things in our body but especially our blood sugar levels.
When we overfeed, that causes AMPK to drop, and while restricting eating does help increase it, when you get type 2 diabetes your levels are particularly low, and bringing them back up can have significant benefits on both your blood sugar and your overall management of the disease.
More and more people are turning to the supplement berberine as an alternative to metformin, and there’s no reason why anyone should ever take metformin because berberine has been shown to work as well, without the nasty side effects of the drug, but gynostemma may be even better than either, and you can also take gynostemma and berberine together if you wish.
In rodent studies, it has shown to be very promising as an anti diabetic agent, but sometimes results from rodent studies don’t transfer over to humans that well. In the case of gynostemma though, human trials have yielded exceptional results, and in just 12 weeks, subjects saw an average drop of 2% in their A1C levels, going from an average of an A1C of 9% to 7%.
That’s simply amazing over this short of a duration and since A1C measures glycation over a 2 to 3 month period, and that was the length of the study, there’s every reason to believe, statistically, that the improvement would have been even greater had the length of the study been extended, to account for 12 weeks of this at its maximal effect, and these things do take time to kick in.
This was achieved without raising insulin levels, although it is always interesting to see what they are with diabetics in these studies, and the subjects which received treatment had an average fasting insulin level of about 120, and the placebo group about 140. A healthy fasting insulin level by the way is 5-10, so let’s all have a good chuckle at people who think we don’t secrete enough insulin already and think we need more, but of course don’t bother to check, but if they did, they would typically see numbers like this, massively high not low.
So these were diabetics with an average A1C of 9 by the way, and if their beta cells are tired, they sure aren’t showing it, secreting well over 10 times the amount of insulin at fasting that is healthy and normal.
Insulin resistance was also very significantly improved with this, as opposed to prescription meds, which worsen it, save for metformin, but who wants to feel sick all the time and endure the other side effects of this when one doesn’t have to, and one does not have to.
I absolutely love this supplement and in my opinion this is the best thing I take for my diabetes, and I don’t touch prescriptions, but who needs to when they can just take gynostemma, which both lowers blood sugar and improves insulin resistance quite remarkably.