Have a sweet tooth and wish there was a way to just get rid of those sugar cravings? It turns out that a supplement called gymnema can totally do the trick. And here’s the kicker: people have been using it for thousands of years.
What is gymnema?
Gymnema, sometimes called by its full name Gymnema sylvestre or gurmar, is a shrub found in India, Africa, and Australia that has long been part of Ayurvedic healing practices. While ancient communities used it to stymie a number of health conditions, including malaria, gymnema has gotten the attention of modern-day researchers for its ability to stop or slow sugar absorption into the body. This is important for managing blood sugar levels, as well as aiding in weight loss.
One 2017 study found that the supplement was effective when blocking sugar receptors in the intestine, thereby lowering the rate of absorption and keeping blood sugar from spiking. For people who already suffer from type 2 diabetes, research also found that the supplement can be helpful when it comes to maintaining lower blood sugar counts over time, which is crucial to keeping symptoms in check for years to come.
Another aspect of how gymnema interacts with sugar makes it an increasingly popular supplement for those looking to lose weight. A study found that people who regularly took gymnema extract saw a five to six percent decrease in weight and reduced their food intake without making other diet or exercise changes. That’s because it contains gymnemic acid, which blocks sweet receptors to your taste buds and in turn makes you crave sweets less and less and not eat as many of your favorite treats.
What are the side effects?
Side effects for gymnema are relatively mild and include nausea, headaches, nausea, shakiness, and dizziness. As with all supplements, it’s important to chat with your doctor before you start taking a new one. This is especially true if you’re on other diabetes or blood sugar medication or if you’re receiving insulin injections. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also steer clear of gymnema for the time being. Additionally, you should never ingest it alongside aspirin.
How should you take it?
The amount of gymnema you consume daily will depend largely on the form you get it in. If you’re brewing it in a tea (Buy on Amazon, $16.95), let the leaves boil for five minutes and then steep it for 10 to 15 minutes before drinking. If you’re taking gymnema in a powder form (Buy on Amazon, $21.39), use a starting dosage of two grams per day, but feel free to increase to up to four grams if you don’t experience any side effects. Lastly, if you’re taking capsules (Buy on Amazon, $16.95), start with 100 milligrams per day and slowly work up to 400 milligrams total.
If you’re using gymnema for weight loss, take it roughly 10 to 15 minutes before a meal to stop from overeating, especially if you know it’s going to include sugary treats. It couldn’t be simpler!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First For Women.
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