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4 extracts proven to moderate blood sugar and glycemic response

April 09, 2020 5 min read

4 extracts proven to moderate blood sugar and glycemic response

4 Extracts Proven to Moderate Blood Sugar and Glycemic Response

The effects of absorbing too much sugar at one time can range from annoying, to severe. For example, after eating a large meal or an indulgent dessert, you might experience postprandial (after mealtime) fatigue, more commonly known as a 'food coma.' At the more acute end of the response scale is an increased prevalence of type-2 Diabetes. 

The World Health Organisation states that globally we have seen a dramatic rise in rates of diabetes over the last three decades [1]. This matches a global increase in obesity and changes in diets towards more processed food. Type-2 Diabetes is the result of long term increases in blood glucose (sugar) levels creating long and enduring damage.

There is now increasing evidence showing that healthy individuals with normal glucose tolerance, may still eventually develop type-2 diabetes, especially those with a monophasic glucose curve shape pattern. 

Some of the potential complications of diabetes include:

  • Heart and blood vessel disease. Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and narrowing of blood vessels (atherosclerosis).
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward. Eventually, you may lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Damage to the nerves that control digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, erectile dysfunction may be an issue.
  • Kidney damage. Diabetes can sometimes lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  • Eye damage. Diabetes increases the risk of serious eye diseases, such as cataracts and glaucoma, and may damage the blood vessels of the retina, potentially leading to blindness.
  • Slow healing. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections, which may heal poorly. Severe damage might require toe, foot or leg amputation.
  • Skin conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Alzheimer's disease. Type 2 diabetes seems to increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease, though it's not clear why. The worse your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be.

    We need to be actively thinking about how the modern diet can be changed, or complemented, to produce a more ideal glycaemic response. With that in mind, here are some easily available plant foods which help to reduce glucose absorption rates and support your body's natural response mechanisms: 

    #1 - Cinnamon

    Cinnamon might be just what you need with that cappuccino. More than just a tasty sprinkle, cinnamon has proven effective at supporting treatment for a range of metabolic syndrome issues, including blood glucose levels. A 2010 study from the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology tested healthy subjects and persons with Type-2 Diabetes. Those involved were given cinnamon whole, or aqueous, and results showed both groups saw 'beneficial effects... on glucose, insulin, insulin sensitivity' and a range of other metabolic related issues [2]. The results suggest that cinnamon could help 'the alleviation and prevention of the signs and symptoms' of blood glucose related illness like type-two diabetes.

    Another study published a couple of years earlier in the journal The Nutrition Society saw similar results. The report says...

    'Subjects with the metabolic syndrome who consume an extract of cinnamon have been shown to have improved fasting blood glucose, systolic blood pressure, percentage body fat and increased lean body mass compared with the placebo group'

    This is important when talking about blood glucose levels because the way to examine that is by monitoring someone's fasting blood glucose. Essentially, where does your blood sugar level normally sit, not directly after eating when a spike is to be expected. Lowering your fasting blood glucose level is like lowering your resting heart rate, its a measure of your general health. 

    #2 - Blackcurrant

    Blackcurrants, because of their polyphenol content superiority, have been shown to decrease postprandial glucose response with heavy sucrose food, in healthy subjects.

    A 2010 study from the British Journal of Nutrition found that berries rich in polyphenols were able to slow and restrict the bodies glycaemic response after the absorption of a meal containing added sucrose [3].

    Whats sucrose? Sucrose is essentially table sugar. It's a disaccharide which gets broken down into fructose and glucose, so the body has to work extra hard to process it which can result in a failure to do so leading to a glucose spike and insulin response.

    Try Ārepa's The Brain Drink for Performance as a way to get these polyphenol-rich berries into your diet. That way the berries work to reduce your glycaemic response from the food you pair them with. Our Neuroberry Blackcurrants are jam-packed with vitamin C to support focus and neurological function, as part of a healthy and varied diet.

    #3 - Fenugreek

    Fewer people would use fenugreek on a regular basis in NZ compared to other herbs and spices, but maybe we should change that?

    Studies have shown significant reductions in fasting glucose rates in subjects exposed to fenugreek for 24 hours [4]. This study was for people with Type-1, insulin-dependent Diabetes.

    Interestingly though, for people with higher blood sugar levels than recommended, a 2012 follow up study states that fenugreek supports insulin secretion in subjects with hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) [5].

    People with long term high blood sugar levels risk developing Diabetes where the body can't sufficiently produce insulin to balance glucose levels. Using fenugreek may help support your body's natural insulin response to sustained higher blood sugar levels.

    #4 - Pine Bark 

    New evidence has shown that polyphenol-rich NZ Pine Bark Extract, Enzogenol, helps to moderate the bodies glycaemic response to sugar intake and reduce blood glucose in a healthy population[6]. The study's participants already had preexisting poor glycaemic responses, meaning they had high blood sugar levels or struggled to process their glucose intake healthily. The results showed a 75% positive result rate for participants at lowering their postprandial glucose response. 

    Various grades of New Zealand Pine Bark Extract freshly extracted

    The takeaway from this is that for people who already have an inadequate response to sugar intake, even a small dose (50mg) of Enzogenol can help moderate and support their bodies ability to process glucose.

    Want to learn more about Enzogenol? Read the 8 Health Benefits of Pine Bark Extract here

    Did you know Ārepa Nootropic Capsules have 500mg of Enzogenol per serve? 


    Blood sugar levels are something that everyone should be aware of when considering their long term health. If the body struggles to process sugars, then the spike in the bloodstream from excess glucose can cause both short and long term side effects.

    The challenge for a lot of people is to overcome the diet they have lived with for the last 30 years, which may have conditioned their body to have a weakened glycaemic response. This means it's not only important to moderate blood sugar levels (blackcurrant, Enzogenol & cinnamon) but to support your bodies response mechanisms (fenugreek).




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