Effectively lower blood sugar levels with a natural plant extract
(NaturalHealth365) According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, close to 30 million Americans – almost one in ten – have type 2 diabetes. And, an alarming 84 million people have prediabetes – elevated blood sugar levels that can progress to diabetes (with possible complications including kidney disease, heart disease and stroke).
In light of this growing epidemic – and amid the pressing need for effective, non-toxic interventions – a just-published study offers hope by showcasing the ability of clove extracts to safely lower elevated blood glucose levels.
Cloves, a common cooking spice, have been utilized in Ayurvedic and Asian healing systems for centuries to treat digestive disorders, influenza and tooth pain. To learn how these potent little dried flower buds can help normalize and regulate blood sugar – and help to ward off diabetes – keep reading.
Alert: Prediabetes affects over half of all those over 65
What is prediabetes, exactly, and why is it dangerous? Prediabetes exists when glucose (blood sugar) levels are elevated (over 100 mg/dL), but fall short of 125 mg/dL – the conventional medical threshold for diabetes.
The condition can often be reversed with weight loss and increased physical activity – but experts point out that roughly 30 percent of people with untreated prediabetes will go on to develop diabetes within three to five years.
And, although prediabetes doesn’t meet the medical standard for diabetes, it can still feature dangerous after-meal blood sugar elevations, or “spikes.” These spikes are associated with harmful effects such as neuropathy (nerve damage to feet), vision loss, kidney damage and heart disease.
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In people over 65, post-meal blood sugar spikes appear to impede cognitive function, as well. Not particularly good news for those who may already be coping with varying degrees of age-related mild cognitive impairment!
It’s official: Cloves promote better blood sugar control
In a new study published in May 2019 in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers evaluated the effects of clove extracts on adult volunteers. The participants were divided into two groups: those with normal fasting glucose and those with prediabetic fasting glucose levels.
Fasting glucose levels are measured eight hours after ingesting food. And, participants were then given 250 mg of clove extract after a meal for 30 days.
The team found that the clove extract lowered fasting glucose levels of the prediabetic participants – but did not alter the desirable fasting levels of those with normal glucose. In fact, the clove extract reduced after-meal glucose by 21.5 percent in the “normal” group – and by a substantial 27.2 percent in the prediabetic group.
The team concluded that cloves can be used to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, particularly in those with less-than-optimal glucose control. It should be noted: that if cloves help to keep prediabetes in check, that’s highly significant – as prediabetes can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, even when it doesn’t develop into type 2 diabetes.
New study confirms earlier research on the blood sugar-lowering effect of cloves
Researchers have long suspected that cloves could be useful in addressing diabetes.
Past studies have shown that cloves increase the secretion of insulin, the hormone that ferries sugar from the blood to the muscles. Previous research has also shown that clove extracts benefit liver function – essential in blood sugar control – as well as antioxidant status.
And, in 2006, Pakistani researchers found that clove extracts improved the function of insulin and lowered glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Cloves were also found to reduce harmful LDL cholesterol – but did not reduce levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol.
By the way, the amount used in the Pakistani study was modest: the equivalent of one to two cloves a day.
Cloves reduce blood sugar with three different mechanisms
Cloves, scientifically known as Syzgium aromaticum, are antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and strongly antioxidant. In fact, researchers have reported that cloves contain 30 times more antioxidants than blueberries, often considered the “gold standard” of antioxidant foods.
Along with gallic and ellagic acids, catechin and quercetin, cloves are particularly rich in eugenol, a compound with antibacterial and analgesic effects. However, some scientists credit a compound called nigericin in cloves with increasing the uptake of sugar and promoting the secretion of insulin.
Specifically, cloves reduce blood sugar by enhancing the uptake of glucose into muscle cells, by inhibiting digestive enzymes from releasing the glucose from refined sugars and starches, and by inhibiting the production of glucose in the liver.
This three-pronged response makes cloves uniquely helpful for decreasing insulin resistance and managing blood sugar.
Reverse prediabetes with healthy lifestyle choices
Experts say that the current epidemic of diabetes and prediabetes is driven by obesity, poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle.
An organic diet (high in antioxidant-rich vegetables, fruits and unrefined grains and free of refined sugars, GMOs and unhealthy fats) just might be your best bet for preventing diabetes – along with maintaining a healthy weight and getting sufficient exercise.
As the latest study shows, cloves may also be helpful in managing blood sugar.
Of course, clove extracts are available in tablets and tinctures. You can also make clove tea by boiling a teaspoon of powdered cloves for 8 to 10 minutes, straining and cooling. For an added health benefit, add cinnamon and cardamom.
Many studies used a teaspoon (2 grams) of ground cloves, and natural healers may recommend amounts in this range.
As always, consult with your integrative physician before supplementing with cloves – especially if you are already taking medications to control blood sugar. Note: of course, don’t stop taking prescribed medications unless specifically advised to do so by your physician.
As the scientists noted in the groundbreaking new clove study, type 2 diabetes is a “tremendous public health issue.” And, spicy, aromatic clove buds just may hold the secret to better blood sugar control – thereby striking a blow against this dangerous disease.
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