What is Gymnema Sylvestre?
Gymnema sylvestre is a large woody climber plant, from the Asclepiadaceae family. This plant has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of diabetes in India for centuries1. The main constituent of gymnema is believed to be gymnemic acid, a mixture of at least 17 different saponins2. It is this acid that is commonly used as a marker for standardization and quality control in most commercial preparations of gymnema2.
Where Gymnema Sylvestre Come From?
Gymnema sylvestre is native to central and western India, tropical Africa and Australia1.
Gymnema Sylvestre Benefits
Gymnema sylvestre extracts have been reported to have anti-diabetic effects in diabetic-induced animals by raising plasma insulin levels and attenuating blood glucose responses during oral glucose/sucrose tolerance tests. Similarly, Gymnema sylvestre extracts have been reported to have hypoglycemic effects in patients with hyperglycaemic diabetes3. One study worth highlighting involved supplementing 22 type 2 diabetic patients on conventional diabetic medication with 400mg of a Gymnema sylvestre extract per day for 18-20 months4. During Gymnema sylvestre supplementation, the patients showed a significant reduction in blood glucose, glycosylated haemoglobin and glycosylated plasma proteins, and conventional drug dosage could be decreased. Five of the 22 diabetic patients were able to discontinue their conventional drug and maintain their blood glucose homeostasis with Gymnema sylvestre alone4.
Another recent study showed that oral administration of a Gymnema sylvestre extract (1 g/day, 60 days) induced were associated with significant reductions in fasting and post-prandial blood glucose1. In vitro measures run in parallel also showed a stimulation of insulin release1.
Gymnema Sylvestre Negative Side Effects
No studies have specifically investigated the negative side-effects associated with oral supplementation of Gymnema Sylvestre. Similarly, no significant side-effects have been reported in human studies using Gymnema Sylvestre, other than a possible reduction/loss of taste sensation5.
Gymnema Sylvestre Recommended Dosages & Timing
The recommended dosage of G. sylvestre extract is 400 - 600 mg/day6.
Gymnema Sylvestre Supplements
Gymnema sylvestre commonly features in fat loss products or in recovery products, both for its insulin-enhancing effects. Gymnema sylvestre extract are often standardised to contain minimum levels of gymnemic acid.
Stacking Gymnema Sylvestre
Gymnema sylvestre is not commonly stacked with other supplements.
Gymnema Sylvestre Safety
No concerns have been reported regarding the safety of oral Gymenma sylvestre supplementation.
References1. Al-Romaiyan A, et al. A novel Gymnema sylvestre extract stimulates insulin secretion from human islets in vivo and in vitro. Phytother Res. 2010;24:1370–1376.
2. Leach MJ. Gymnema sylvestre for Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2007;13(9):977-983.
3. Ye WC, et al. 2000. Oleanane saponins from Gymnema sylvestre. Phytochemistry. 2000 53, 893–899.
4. Baskaran K, et al. Antidiabetic effect of a leaf extract from Gymnema sylvestre in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients. J Ethnopharmacol. 1990;30(3):295-300.
5. Khan V, et al. A pharmacological appraisal of medicinal plants with antidiabetic potential. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2012;4(1):27-42.
6. Mozersky RP. Herbal products and supplemental nutrients used in the management of diabetes. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 1999;99(12 Suppl):S4-9.