Monday, October 4, 2010

Garlic as a Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes

Another useful herbal treatment for type 2 diabetes is the popular yet often vilified herbal medicine garlic. It is used in Ayurveda and in traditional medicine all over the world. Fifteen years ago the herb expert Mark Blumenthal told audiences, after counting the papers himself, that there were over 2,000 scientific studies confirming the health benefits of garlic and garlic supplements. We don't know if he's updated his count (are you reading, Mark, please tell us), but there is voluminous evidence for the evidence of garlic for numerous health conditions. We will just comment on garlic for type 2 diabetes here.

The beneficial compound derived from garlic is a sulfur-bearing compound called allicin. You don't have to chomp down on cloves of garlic to get allicin into your system. In fact, you can only get allicin into circulation from garlic supplements. The chemical just does not survive digestion in your stomach unless it is specially coated by an industrial process. Allicin is a potent fighter of free radicals, and as such helps protect cells from high blood sugar levels. When cells don't have to protect themselves against free radicals, they are less insulin-resistant, and take glucose out of the bloodstream more readily.

There are also compounds relevant to diabetes in garlic that you do not have to get from supplements. S-allyl-cysteine is another sulfur-bearing compound that lowers blood sugar levels, this time by stimulating the production of insulin. It won't have any effect if you don’t have active beta cells, and its benefits are really pretty marginal even if you do. You can't add enough garlic to your pasta to cancel out the carbs, although garlic is basically a healthy food. Garlic odor emanates from the mouth and tongue, and a good brushing or rinsing gets rid of most of it quickly.

Selected Reference:

Augusti K.T., Shella C.G. Antiperoxide effect of S-allyl cysteine sulfoxide, an insulin secretagogue in diabetic rats. Experientia. 1996;52:115–120.

No comments:

Post a Comment