Psyllium Improves Blood Sugar Control
Diabetes is a disorder of blood sugar regulation that affects almost 7% of
the US population. People with type 2 diabetes are unable to respond
appropriately to insulin-the hormone secreted by the pancreas that helps
cells utilize glucose, or blood sugar. Blood sugar levels that are elevated
for extended periods can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and
eyes. Fortunately, lifestyle modifications that include regular physical
exercise and eating a nutritious diet may help manage the disease.
Psyllium seeds are high in fiber and mucilage-properties that make it
useful for treating constipation. A native plant of Iran, psyllium has also
been used historically for its anti-diabetic effects. Previous studies have
shown that psyllium can lower blood sugar levels, as well as levels of
total and LDL cholesterol in men with type 2 diabetes.
The new trial evaluated the effects of psyllium on blood lipids and indexes
of blood sugar control in 36 diabetic men and women between the ages of 35
and 70. During the eight-week study, the people received either 5.1 grams
of psyllium two times per day or placebo.
Compared with the placebo group, those in the psyllium group had
significantly lower levels of blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c, significantly
higher HDL levels, and a significantly lower ratio of LDL to HDL
cholesterol, suggesting a heart-protective effect of psyllium. Levels of
total and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin were not
significantly different between the groups. It's interesting to note that
psyllium decreased stomach upset associated with the anti-diabetic drug
These results suggest that supplementing with psyllium may be a safe and
easy way to help improve blood sugar control while potentially lowering the
risk of heart disease in type 2 diabetics.
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Healthnotes Newswire (April 13, 2006)-Taking 10 grams of psyllium each day
may help improve blood sugar control and improve blood lipid levels in
people with type 2 diabetes, reports the Journal of Ethnopharmacology
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