Gymnemosupium II is a combination of two very unique herbs, Gymnema sylvestre and Pterocarpus marsupium, and two trace minerals, chromium and vanadium and biotin, a member of the B vitamin family. Each herb has a history of uses dating back several thousand years for the condition then known as sugar in the urine, which we now know today as diabetes. It was not until nearly the beginning of the 20th century were these herbs scientifically studied to verify their medical benefit. Since that time each herb has been involved in dozens of studies, which demonstrate both their effectiveness and safety in humans as well as animals. Correspondingly, chromium, vanadium and biotin have all been involved in numerous clinical studies and have individually displayed impressive blood glucose lowering ability. Further research has identified a suspected synergistic effect between specific herbal and vitamin/mineral compounds listed above. Also, the combination and grouping of these particular supplements might compliment the pharmacological action each other creating a more comprehensive treatment for the multifactoral condition of diabetes.
First, Gymnema sylvestre demonstrated the ability to lower blood sugar in diabetic animals through increasing insulin output by apparently regenerating beta cells.[i] Compared to the control groups, which didn’t receive any treatment, those receiving Gymnema leaves in any form, whole or extracted, had a very significant rate of remission.1, [ii], [iii], [iv], [v] Almost all of the other animals that didn’t receive any type of treatment did not survive. Throughout those studies there were no adverse side effects noted.
There have been numerous human clinical trials, which also have had positive results. Two of the most comprehensive Gymnema sylvestre studies ever published investigated both Type I and Type II diabetes. In the first study 27 Type I diabetics with ages from 10 to 50 years and varying disease duration were given a total of 400mg a day in two divided doses of an extract of Gymnema sylvestre for up to 30 months.[vi] The conclusions were that the uses of the Gymnema extract dramatically reduced fasting blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c and insulin requirements. The average fasting glucose dropped from 232mg/dl to 152mg/dl. Hemoglobin A1c mean of 12.8% at the beginning of the study fell to 8.2% at the end. Total insulin usage was cut in half as compared to the original doses. There were also significant decreases in glycosylated plasma proteins, total cholesterol and triglycerides. Also, there were no reports of any type of adverse side effects or reactions.
In the second trial the same extract of Gymnema sylvestre is given to 22 Type II diabetics.[vii] These participates received a total of 400mg a day in a divided dose for 18 to 20 months. They also continued their normal uses of sulfonylurea oral hypoglycemics. Ages ranged from 40 to 62 years and disease duration from 1 to 12 years. Average fasting glucose dropped from 174mg/dl to 124mg/dl and mean hemoglobin A1c fell from 11.91% to 8.48%. Also, there were notable declines in several of the other blood testing parameters. Again, there were no undesirable side effects noted.
Pterocarpus marsupium has also demonstrated impressive blood glucose lowering activity. These effects have been reproduced in numerous animal and human trials for over half a century. The majority of the animal studies use several different types of animals that have been make diabetic. In all of these studies Pterocarpus marsupium was able to reverse the damage to the beta cells and actually repopulate the islets.[viii], [ix], [x], [xi], [xii], [xiii] Another property displayed by Pterocarpus marsupium is an insulin like activity.[xiv], [xv] This is completely separate from the stimulation of insulin production from the repair of beta cells. Pterocarpus marsupium may lower blood sugar through an unrelated pathway of that of insulin making it useful in the treatment of both types of diabetics. All of these effects were accomplished without any type of adverse reactions or toxicity.
Now, in the human trials Pterocarpus marsupium performed amazingly, especially given the testing criteria. In these two clinical trials diabetics were given no other treatment, except an extract of Pterocarpus marsupium. The first study evaluated both newly diagnosed and untreated Type II diabetics. In this study 97 patients were given varying doses of an extract of Pterocarpus marsupium ranging from 2 to 4 grams a day in attempts to achieve blood sugar control.[xvi] The trial continued for 12 weeks before evaluation of all monitored parameters. The results showed that 67% of all those tested were able to reduce and maintain glucose levels by using various amounts of Pterocarpus marsupium extract. The average fasting blood sugar fell from 151mg/dl to 119mg/dl and postprandial glucose dropped from 216mg/dl to 171mg/dl. There was also a reduction of mean hemoglobin A1c from 9.8% to 9.4%. There were improvements noted in common diabetic symptoms without any adverse side effects reported during the treatment period.
In the second study 22 diabetics with ages ranging from 29 to 70 years old were given a decoction of either 2 or 4 ounces three times daily made from 36 or 72 grams of dry bark of Pterocarpus marsupium respectively for 7 days.[xvii] There were four parameters that were monitored during this study including fasting blood sugar, glucose tolerance, urine sugar content and diabetic symptoms. They were divided into two groups, Group A with 10 participants and Group B with 12. Group A received a decoction of 2 ounces three times a day while Group B received 4 ounces three times a day. In Group A only 3 out of 10 diabetics showed improvement in any of the areas of testing, which was glucose tolerance. While in Group B, 9 of the 12 patients experienced benefits in all testing areas. There was significant improvement in glucose tolerance and glucose uremia and also a decrease in fasting blood sugar and amelioration of some symptoms. During the study there were no unwanted side effects.
This trace mineral is probably best associated with uses in diabetes. There have been many studies conducted on chromium with varying results. First, one of the biggest issues is that due to different measuring techniques there is no standard for determining chromium deficiency.[xviii] Even though there may be sufficient serum levels there can be a metabolizing defect requiring more basic elements to produce the same results. Another problem is the type of supplement used when evaluating a substance. Some are more biologically active in the human body than others and this is the case with chromium. Most of the previous studies used chromium chloride which is significantly less utilizable than chromium picolinate and this factor alone would considerable effect the outcome of a study. Now when the proper materials and doses are used chromium is an extremely effective supplement for improving glucose control. Chromium basically works in unison with insulin, but its methods of action are not fully understood. When chromium is present less insulin is required to do the same work. There appears to be an increase in the number of insulin receptor sites, which would account for the decrease in insulin requirements.[xix] There is a corresponding improvement in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. These properties have been observed in numerous animals studies.[xx] In fact, glucose intolerance has been induced in both animals and humans from a chromium deficient diet and corrected with its supplementation. Human trials using either type of diabetic yielded significant improvements in glucose profiles.[xxi] [xxii] [xxiii] [xxiv] [xxv] Type II diabetics generally benefited more than Type I diabetics due to the pathology of their condition. Type II diabetes is associated with insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, which chromium is actually able to address the cause of their condition not just the symptom. These studies reported very significant reductions in fasting glucose, post prandial glucose, hemoglobin A1c and total cholesterol. Some groups almost completely normalized their hemoglobin A1c values. Hyperinsulinemia is a common symptom in Type II diabetes, but through the uses of chromium supplementation average insulin release was reduced and glucose values still improved. Also, there were reductions in the uses of both injected insulin and oral hypoglycemics in chromium treated patients. Throughout these trials there were no reports of any type of adverse reactions or side effects. Another concern of chromium uses has been its potential of toxicity. Again, a considerable number of both animal and human studies reveal that chromium in the form of picolinate is virtually non-toxic even at doses several hundred times more than recommended.[xxvi] Chromium treatment has also shown beneficial effects in the areas of weight loss, serum lipid improvements and cardiovascular system protection.
Although diabetics may not manifest symptoms of a biotin deficiency, supplementation has proven to be beneficial in two areas. The first is peripheral neuropathy. Within 4 to 8 weeks of treatment patients experienced improvement in their condition.[xxvii] It is suggested that biotin in this situation is either inactive or unavailable and that a deprive biotin dependent enzyme may have a role in nervous system metabolism. The second condition is glucose tolerance. Intravenous treatment of 50 mg a day of biotin caused an improvement in glucose tolerance.[xxviii] A more recent study found a significant improvement in glucose control in Type II diabetics that consumed a total of 6 mg of biotin orally a day. There were no adverse side effects observed in either study. There is considerable evidence that biotin accomplishes its glucose lowering effect through reduced hepatic glucose output and a decrease in gluconeogenesis.
The product Diachrome is the result of the combination of chromium picolinate and biotin. Since their suspected methods of glucose lowering effect are distinctively different, it is suggested that chromium and biotin may work synergistically. A preliminary study with 34 Type II diabetics using a two to one ratio of chromium to biotin, as with Diachrome, yielded significant glucose lowering results. This was again accomplished without any side effect or adverse reaction.
Vanadium is another trace mineral that has a significant influence on glucose metabolism. It appears to have several distinctly different mechanisms which lower blood sugar, but they are not completely elucidated. Vanadyl has been tested in a large number of animal studies with very positive results.[xxix] It proved to lower blood sugar in several different scenarios including the removal or destruction of the pancreas. It may also offer a preserving effect to beta cells that have experienced or are experiencing cytotoxic attack. [xxx] [xxxi] In several human trials with Type II diabetics vanadyl acted as an insulin mimic and reduce glucose levels irregardless of the presence of endogenous insulin.[xxxii] It apparently can also modulate the metabolic effects of insulin. This is accomplished by decreasing insulin resistance and by possibly prolonging insulin action.[xxxiii] Other effects are increased glycogen synthesis and reduced hepatic glucose output which will both assist in lowering blood sugar. Also, a reduction in free fatty acids and lipid oxidation was observed in some trials. It is thought that vanadyl may be able to correct a defect in insulin signaling that is common in Type II diabetics, which creates some of the disease’s conditions. The results of the studies revealed that vanadyl sulfate treated patients had significantly reduce fasting glucose and hemoglobin A1c as compared to controls. [xxxiv] [xxxv] The trials that monitored other parameters like glucose uptake, glycogen synthesis, hepatic glucose output and free fatty acids all showed improved profiles. Vanadyl treatment has also shown benefits in the condition of primary hypertension due to its hyperinsulinemia link.
The dose of vanadyl sulfate used most successfully in the studies was 100 mg a day. Although there were no serious side effects some patients experienced some mild transient gastrointestinal discomfort which went away in less than a week. When the treatment was removed at the end of the trial, the participants still received benefits for several weeks after removal. This suggests that corrected signaling pathways required that time to revert to their previous state and or there is a nominal storage capacity for vanadyl in the body. These storage sites would probably include the liver and possibly muscles. Operating on the premise of storage abilities it may be possible to achieve the same results with less vanadyl usage. These studies lasted only several weeks, but yet attained significant glucose lowering effects even greater than that of oral hypoglycemics. Most of these studies used vanadium in sulfated form, but there are several other more bioavailable vanadium compounds, bismaltolatoxovanadium (BMOV) and bis-glycinate oxo vanadium (BVOG). They appear to be more active than conventional vanadyl sulfate with the benefit of increased safety and a greatly decreased risk of GI upset. In animal studies it only required about half as much BMOV to accomplish the same results of that of vanadyl sulfate.[xxxvi] With the benefit of this information it would suggest that a reduced dose of BMOV or BVOG can achieve significant glucose improvements through the storage effect and also eliminate any risk of undesirable side effects.
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