An herb used in traditional Indian medicine to treat diabetes seems to lower blood sugar and insulin levels in a manner similar to prescription drugs, a new study reports.
Researchers gave extracts of the herb Salacia oblonga to 39 healthy adults, and the results were promising. The largest dose of the herb extract – 1,000 milligrams – decreased insulin and blood glucose levels by 29 and 23 percent, respectively. "These kinds of reductions are similar to what we might see with prescription oral medications for people with diabetes," said Steve Hertzler, a study co-author and an assistant professor of nutrition at Ohio State University.
Salacia oblonga, which is native to regions of India and Sri Lanka, binds to intestinal enzymes that break down carbohydrates in the body. These enzymes, called alpha-glucosidases, turn carbohydrates into glucose, the sugar that circulates throughout the body. If the enzyme binds to the herbal extract rather than to a carbohydrate, then less glucose gets into the blood stream, resulting in lowered blood glucose and insulin levels.
Steve Hertzler | EurekAlert!
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