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Fight The Spike, Naturally
By Lee Zhong, M.D., Ph.D
January 15, 2009
A new study conducted by a team of researchers at the Baker International Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia shows that controlling glucose spikes after meals is critical to avoiding serious health complications. The challenge with controlling glucose spikes is that many doctors, as well as the American Diabetes Association, recommend that patients only test before meals and two hours after meals – missing the critical 30- to 45-minute “window” when blood sugar can rapidly increase after a meal. This “window” is also known as the “blood sugar spike zone” when blood sugar is at the highest level and causes the most damage to the body.
It is also important to test blood sugar levels shortly after major meals because in some patients, blood sugar levels can drop below normal right after the spike, because of the body’s “over-reaction” to blood sugar elevation. Many studies have demonstrated that these blood sugar fluctuations from high to low are the leading cause of diabetic complications.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in natural remedies that can help manage Type 2 diabetes and specifically reduce these 30-45-minute, post-meal blood-sugar spikes.
One of these natural ingredients, which has shown particular promise, is the mulberry leaf – the food source of silkworms and an ingredient used for generations in traditional Chinese medicine as a “cooling herb to remove excess heats from the body,” as well as in some Indian foods.
Published clinical trials conducted at the University of Minnesota (VA Hospital) demonstrate that a mulberry leaf extract can markedly stabilize blood-sugar levels during the critical 30-45-minute, post-meal blood-sugar spike zone when it is especially important to control blood-sugar levels. These clinical trials demonstrated that the mulberry leaf extract lowered blood-sugar spikes by 44 percent while inhibiting carbohydrate absorption in people with Type 2 diabetes. One of these studies was published in Diabetes Care, one of the most widely read diabetes journals.
In addition to having an effect on reducing blood-sugar spikes, the mulberry leaf also has proven to have an effect on carbohydrate absorption. An additional clinical trial, also conducted by the University of Minnesota (VA) Hospital, reported that in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, a tea drink (mainly containing a proprietary mulberry leaf extract) caused a 25-percent reduction in carbohydrate absorption in human subjects. When fewer carbohydrates and sugars are absorbed into the blood stream, fewer calories are consumed, making it easier for Type 2 diabetics to achieve a healthier weight.
Studies have shown the health benefits of the mulberry leaf vary greatly based on the leaf properties and extraction methods used. This particular mulberry leaf extract used in these clinical trials has demonstrated superior control of blood sugar and carbohydrate absorption in addition to other anti-diabetic properties.
The good news is that Type 2 diabetes can be controlled, or even reversed, without heavy reliance upon costly prescription medication through better managing one’s diet and by adopting a more vigilant exercise regime. According to American Diabetes Association, just 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity, together with a loss of 5-10 percent body weight, can cause a 58-percent reduction in diabetes. In addition, a mulberry leaf extract can also play an important role in reducing the risk factors associated with Type 2 diabetes because it can help those with the disease get more control of their blood sugar, reduce the levels of post-meal spikes, limit carbohydrate absorption and more effectively manage their weight.
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Doctor and medical researcher, Lee Zhong, M.D., Ph.D, president of San Diego, California-based Neuliven Health, Inc., is a researcher and scientist who has spent the last seven years investigating the mulberry leaf's effects on Type 2 diabetics. His proprietary mulberry leaf extract can be found exclusively in a natural dietary herbal formula called Glucocil. For more information, please visit www.glucocil.com. To learn more about the clinical trials cited in this article, please visit http://care.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/short/30/5/1272, http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/84/3/551, or http://jem.rupress.org/cgi/content/abstract/205/10/2409.
Note: As always, patients are recommended to first seek their doctor or medical professional's opinion before beginning any new medications or therapies.