Lower blood sugar naturally with ginger
A spice that's already well-known for its inflammation-fighting properties, ginger may now also be effective in helping to lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
The claim comes from a recent study by researchers from Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences in Iran. Studying 88 people with type 2 diabetes, the team gave subjects either three one-gram capsules of ginger powder per day or three placebo capsules that looked the same as the ginger capsules. All of the participants – who were overweight but not obese – were still taking their regular diabetes medications.
After eight weeks, the participants who were taking ginger saw a significant decrease in their blood sugar levels.
"It's interesting that the ginger group happened to be in worse shape, diabetes-wise, at the beginning of the study, than the placebo group," says Martha Howard, M.D., medical director of Wellness Associates of Chicago.
Ginger may offer health benefits for diabetics
Ginger may work to lower blood sugar by inhibiting an enzyme that breaks down glycogen, Howard said. And when glycogen breaks down, blood sugar consequently rises.
A 2012 study from the University of Sydney also found that ginger was able to increase the uptake of glucose into muscle cells, independently of insulin.
So should you add ginger to your diet if you have diabetes? Maybe, said Howard, but be careful if you're taking blood thinners – ginger can increase the effects of these drugs. She also recommends letting your doctor know if you'd like to start supplementing with ginger, and to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly.
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