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Question:

From Santa Ana, California, USA:

I have a few questions concerning the herb gymnema sylvestre. I am not so much concerned about this herb as it relates to helping adults or children with diabetes. Instead, I am looking at it more as a tool to help adults wean themselves off of their sugar habit and help children that are resistant to reducing their sugar intake -- thus helping to reduce the chance that they will develop diabetes in the future.

  1. Is there any research using gymnema sylvestre on children? If not, do you see any problem in giving this herb to children (who struggle with sugar) to help block sugar and starch absorption?
  2. If the use of gymnema is okay, does their dosage differ from an adult (adult dose about 600 mg per day)?
  3. Is there any research on gymnema sylvestre that quantifies approximately how much sugar /starch this herb can block in the intestines? For example, if a person ingests one cup of regular ice cream, how much of the sugars would be blocked if a person took the safe recommended dosage? (I read claims that have stated that
  4. I read that "Gymnema sylvestre can block up to 50% of the sugars in food". is this true?

Answer:

  1. I am not aware of any research that addresses this issue of using gymnema sylvestre as a tool to "wean" people off their sugar habit.
  2. I am not aware of any research suggesting that gymnema sylvestre may help children who are resistant to reducing their sugar intake. However, remember, that carbohydrates are the primary type of nutrient that increases blood glucose. The only supplement that has had some research in preventing diabetes has been nicotinamide, and the research was not optimal in that it was only observational data.
  3. I am not aware of any research in children.
  4. This product may produce hypoglycemia, so I think it is important to realize that this should not be used without medical supervision, especially in children.
  5. There is no recommended dose for children as far as I am aware.
  6. The research that has been done looks at these different effects: fasting blood glucose, effects on hemoglobin A1c, effects on decreasing insulin, and reports of adverse effects. I have not seen research that has targeted quantifying such specific parameters in humans.
  7. It may be wise to examine this claim that is being made. Who made the claim and can that manufacturer or person be contacted? Ask them for the basis for this claim - is this based on animal or human research? Using which specific product? Can they supply a published clinical study?
An excellent source of information may be provided by the manufacturers of Beta Fast GXR who produces a standardized product of gymnema. This manufacturer, Informulab, uses "Good Manufacturing Practice" in the production of the product.

LSW

DTQ-20011104180057
Original posting 23 Nov 2001
Posted to Alternative Therapies and Explanations

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:28
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