The Truth about Sugar Blocker Supplements
One of the latest trends in the weight-loss industry is the emergence of sugar blocker supplements. A sugar blocker, when taken with a meal, decreases the amount of sugar which is absorbed by the body. While these type of supplements can help some people, a sugar blocker should not approached with an “I can eat as much sugar as I want because I am taking a pill” attitude.
The key ingredient in any of these sugar blockers is gymnema sylvestre, an herb which originated in India. It is often combined with chromium, and advertised as a weight-loss product. When you take the sugar blocker with a meal high in sugars or carbohydrates, it allows the carbs and sugars to be burned off first for energy and dissipated from the body. Ordinarily, any of the extra carbohydrates and sugars would be kept as fat stores, making you weigh more, and increasing the likelihood of higher cholesterol and blood pressure.
The studies in gymnema sylvestre are not yet conclusive. Both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. National Library of Medicine have found that the herb is of value in controlling blood sugar levels. That is good news for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. If added to your diet along with diabetes prescription drugs, it may lower your blood sugar enough that you can take lower dosages or fewer meds.
In addition to its effect on blood sugar levels, gymnema sylvestre is believed to reduce your cravings for sweets. If, for example, you have a craving for ice cream and you take this sugar blocker, you will no longer crave the ice cream. In fact, for about thirty minutes, if you did ingest any ice cream, you would not be able to taste the sugar in it at all. This makes it quite unappealing so that you eat less sweets and this can help you lose weight.
Because gymnema sylvestre allows fat calories to be burned off, it can increase lean muscle mass. There are also indications that the herb may reduce bad cholesterol and triglycerides. These findings still need further confirmation by more research studies. Still, preliminary studies show that this was the case in some people who had type 2 diabetes.
Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate or control any herbal supplements, you have to be careful about what the ingredients are in any sugar blocker which you purchase. For instance, the amount of gymnema sylvestre can vary from product to product. There is a standardization method used to compare these types of herbal ingredients. The best ones are standardized to a minimum of 25% active gymnema acid in each capsule. That means a 500mg capsule would have 125mg of gymnema acid.
While gymnema sylvestre is safe for adults at the recommended doses, it should not be given to children or taken by women who are pregnant and/or lactating. Also, anyone with allergies to milkweed should not take a sugar blocker.
You need to take a sugar blocker for a long period of time before you might notice any effects. It has to build up in your body for as long as two months before any noticeable changes occur. Make sure to tell your doctor you are taking gymnema sylvestre and if you are a diabetic taking prescriptive drugs, do not take this herb without getting clearance from your doctor. The lowering and/or raising of blood sugar levels can lead to life threatening conditions in diabetics.
If you do decide to take a sugar blocker, do it responsibly. That means taking it along with eating a healthy diet and exercising if you are trying to lose weight. Do not overindulge in sweets just because you have a sugar blocker available. This can and will cause health problems later on. When a sugar blocker containing gymnema sylvestre is used correctly, it can have a positive effect on the way you look.