When insulin—a hormone produced by the pancreas—operates properly, it allows blood sugar to enter cells and to be used for energy. This results in stable blood sugar levels. However, when this process is out of balance, blood sugar levels can spike and fall or build to unhealthy levels. While this blood sugar roller coaster can temporarily impact a person’s energy and mental clarity, over time it can lead to pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes. With more than 29 million Americans living with diabetes—and 86 million with prediabetes—this issue has become an epidemic.
High blood sugar levels can lead to other problems as well, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and nerve problems that can result in the amputation of legs, feet, and toes. But here’s a reality check: Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes good eating habits and exercise can make a big difference. But when that’s not enough, there are several natural alternatives that can help to stop diabetes in its tracks.
An herb that comes from the bark of a small tree that grows in Mexico and parts of Central and South America, Hintonia latiflora contains micronutrients that help keep blood sugar levels in balance—without side effects. Studied in Germany for over 60 years, this amazing herb should be at the top of any list for a natural approach to manage or reduce elevated blood sugar levels. For example, one German study gave the herb to 177 people with prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes daily. They were evaluated every two months for markers like A1C levels, fasting glucose, glucose after a meal, and neuropathy. At the end of eight months, A1C had fallen an average of 10.4 percent, fasting glucose dropped an average of 23.3 percent, glucose levels after a meal were reduced an average of 24.9 percent, and blood pressure, liver values, and cholesterol levels improved. Also noted—the study included patients on medication who were failing to meet acceptable glucose testing numbers. By the end of the study, 10 of those patients were able to stop using their medication altogether, and 45 patients reduced their required medication. Hintonia latiflora is extremely effective and often reverses mild to moderate Type 2 diabetes. It’s an excellent option to encourage healthy blood sugar and A1C levels, and a good companion when combined with other trace vitamins and minerals that serve as cofactors for balanced blood sugar levels.
Grape Seed Extract (Tannin-Free)
Here’s a sobering thought: People with diabetes have been found to be more likely to die from heart disease than those without diabetes. The connection that causes this problem is high blood sugar. From very small blood vessels to the largest blood vessels in the body, high blood sugar is the culprit for the risk that leads to dire heart problems. Grape seed has been well-studied and proven to improve heart and vascular strength—both needed for a strong, healthy heart. Also related to heart health is high blood pressure. It’s a catch -22 with heart health affecting blood pressure and vice versa. High blood pressure makes the heart work beyond its capacity and can damage blood vessels, which increases heart disease and stroke risks. In an Italian clinical study, people with pre or mild high blood pressure were divided into three groups. Two were given grape seed extract at different dosages—one group receiving 150 mg and one receiving 300 mg per day. The third group received only instruction on diet and exercise changes which served as a control group. Four months into the trial, both groups showed an improvement in blood pressure with those taking the higher dosage of grape seed extract showing even more dramatic results. Blood pressure numbers normalized in 93 percent of the higher grape seed dosage group. It’s important to note, that for all the wonderful outcomes available with grape seed extract for high blood sugar and heart and blood pressure health, it’s also a botanical product that has been subject to a high rate of adulteration. That’s why it’s critical that you only use a grape seed extract from a proven, trusted company. For the best results, choose one that contains low molecular weight flavonoids called oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs, that are small enough to guarantee absorption and provide an abundant level of polyphenols. The rule of thumb to remember: Look for tannin-free OPCs from French grape seed extract. This will provide you a well-studied choice that is effectively absorbed for stellar results.
Overweight people increase the possibility of high blood sugar because of the body’s inability to use insulin to properly control blood sugar levels. Therefore, if you are overweight, you have a greater probability of diabetes. In addition to diet and exercise, a clinically studied form of a concentrated plant fiber has been shown to help people lose weight. In three months, people taking the concentrated fiber lost up to seven times the weight of those in a placebo group who gained a half a pound a week. Those taking the fiber saw a noteworthy lower BMI (Body Mass Index), decreased visceral fat, and a reduction in body fat including waist, hip, and upper abdominal circumference. This was all without changes in diet or exercise. There was also a very important additional benefit for those taking the fiber—the fiber group saw lower A1C levels, an important test that gauges the average levels of blood sugar over time. When this amazing fiber was combined with the right French grape seed extract and ginger—another botanical found to reduce body mass index (BMI) and improve blood sugar metabolism—the combination proved to be a powerhouse for weight loss. People taking the combination in capsule form with water before meals were able to lose weight safely and without stimulants—all good news for anyone seeking healthy blood sugar levels.
Vitamins B6 and B12 specifically support nerve health, which is critical for addressing conditions such as diabetic neuropathy. However, there’s more to the story when it comes to selecting B vitamins. While some formulas have a form of B12 called cyanocobalamin—a form that needs to be converted by the liver—it makes more sense to start with methylcobalamin—the form of B12 that is already bioavailable to meet your glucose and nervous system requirements. For vitamin B6, the best form is pyridoxal-5-phosphate, or P-5-P. Once again, this form doesn’t need to be converted by the liver and can support healthy blood sugar levels, nerves, and metabolism right away. Since not everyone can convert the common forms of vitamin B6, P-5-P is the smart choice. Biotin is another B-complex vitamin that is necessary for both metabolism and growth. It’s also involved in the manufacture and utilization of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. To get even better A1C support, combine these B complex vitamins with Hintonia latifora.