The mineral Chromium is considered to be essential in the diet and is required for carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Chromium is used therapeutically to balance blood sugar levels, it is thought to assist the pancreas to produce insulin (which draws sugar into the cells). In one trial patients with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes treated with 200mcg daily of chromium required lower doses of insulin, sulfonylurea medications, and metformin. Ravina, A. and Slezack, L. [Chromium in the treatment of clinical diabetes mellitus]. Harefuah 1993;125(5-6):142-145, 191.
Chromium is a trace mineral which is depleted in Australian soils due to over farming practices, eating a diet in refined foods further depletes the body’s levels. Many people who are diabetic generally have low stores of Chromium. Chromium is an important nutrient for the management of diabetes because it is needed by the pancreas to produce insulin which helps to regulate blood sugar levels. It is also needed for carbohydrate metabolism.
Gymnema is like the herbal equivelant of the mineral Chromium. It has been used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine to treat what the Indians refer to as madhu meha meaning honey urine. In other words it can be used in the treatment of Diabetes 1 and 2 as it appears to lower serum glucose. Another effect of Gymnema is taste alteration. After taking Gymnema, sugar products tend to lose their taste and this helps to lower sugar cravings which may assist in helping to maintain balanced blood sugar levels by removing the urge for sugar bingeing.
Gymnema can be used in combination with Chromium and as is the case with Chromium it is important to advise your health care provider if you intend to begin taking this herb.