With the recent news that Metformin, one of the top FDA-approved diabetes drugs, was contaminated with a known carcinogen, we’re prompted once again to re-examine the conventional approaches to blood sugar balance. Diabetes remains one of the highest risk factors for many chronic diseases, and it impacts roughly 30% of the U.S. population.
The FDA has now asked five manufacturers of the diabetes drug to voluntarily recall all product after it was found to have unacceptable levels of a nitrosamine impurity known as NDMA, a known carcinogen.
And this isn’t the first time modern medicine has failed us. Between unreasonable price gouging for diabetes medications and questionable safety, people are right to question if there is a better way to maintain healthy glucose levels.
In fact, when it comes to balancing blood sugar, there are several effective natural approaches. But to understand why these natural approaches are so effective, let’s first recap how diabetes occurs.
The complex nature of glucose and insulin
Diabetes is the condition that results when the body’s cells can’t remove glucose from the blood. You see, your cells love glucose, and they need it to function and carry out nearly every single cellular function. When you eat, enzymes break up foods into macro and micro counterparts, many of them being various sugars. Your digestive system then isolates these sugars and sends them out through the blood to deliver the much-needed glucose to your cells.
The catch is that in order for glucose to enter into your cells—thereby removing it from your blood—a special “key,” known as insulin is needed. Insulin created by the pancreas is secreted every time the body believes it will need to open the cellular glucose gates.
The problem is that sometimes there is a hiccup in this process. In some cases, the pancreas doesn’t create adequate insulin—such is the case with Type I diabetes—and in other cases the body produces plenty of it but the cells no longer respond, leaving the glucose gates tightly closed—such is the case with Type II diabetes.
So the trick in blood sugar management, particularly with Type II diabetes where we are aiming to increase a cell’s sensitivity to the presence of insulin, is finding ways for the glucose in the blood to get into the cell where it’s needed and get out of the blood where it isn’t. While there are several well-known natural approaches toward this end—such as modifications to the diet and increased exercise—there is one predominant natural solution that has been a well-researched blood sugar hero for decades: berberine.
Berberine for healthy blood sugar levels
We’ve discussed the overwhelming health benefits of berberine before. While berberine has been scientifically linked to an impressive list of health benefits from weight loss to improved brain and heart health, its biggest claim to fame is its extraordinary impact on blood sugar balance.
In one study, researchers found that a 1,000 mg daily dose of berberine lowered fasting blood sugar by an impressive 20% and hemoglobin A1c by 12%. And a review and meta-analysis of this natural herb found that it effectively balanced blood sugar levels as well as many popular diabetes drugs, including rosiglitazone, metformin and glipizide.
It is believed that an extract from this plant effectively activates AMP-activated protein kinase, which helps to regulate how the cells utilize blood sugar. But researchers also point out the one important consideration when it comes to berberine is its impressive ability to improve multiple functionalities in the body.
Think your blood sugar may be slightly off?
According to the CDC, nearly one in three Americans is unknowingly pre-diabetic. But early intervention can work wonders, so knowing the early warning signals is critical.
Tell-tale signs of blood sugar imbalances include:
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Weight gain
- Frequent headaches
For someone experiencing one or more of these symptoms, over-the-counter glucose tests can help identify the need to start making dietary and lifestyle modifications.
To learn even more about the benefits of berberine, be sure to check out my archive of articles and research on this incredibly effective natural way to get harmful blood sugar issues under control.