Effect of Extended
Release Gymnema Sylvestre Leaf Extract (Beta Fast GXR) Alone or In Combination
With Oral Hypoglycemics or Insulin Regimens for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
Authors: Joffe, DJ, firstname.lastname@example.org; Freed,
In Control Newsletter, Issue 76 (1) : 30 Oct 2001
?003 Wen-Cin Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved.
Gymnema sylvestre is an Indian herb used Ayurveda, the ancient Hindi
medicine system of India. Also referred to as Gurmarbooti, gurmar, periploca
of the woods in English and meshasringi (meaning "ram's horn")
in Sanskrit, it is a woody climbing plant that grows in the tropical
forests of central and southern India. The leaves are used in herbal
medicine preparations, which, when chewed, interfere with the ability
to taste sweetness, which explains the Hindi name gurmar-"destroyer
of sugar." Gymnema sylvestre's primary application was for adult-onset
a condition for which it continues to be recommended today in India.
The leaves were also used for stomach ailments, constipation, water
retention, and liver disease.
Ayurvedic treatments employ physician monitored fasting and medication,
internal cleansing, and then personalized treatments based upon a well-developed
body typing system. Therapies typically include diet, exercise, meditation
and herbal supplements.
The gradual hypoglycemic action of Gymnema leaves, first documented
in the 1930, differs from the rapid effect of many prescription hypoglycemic
1Gymnema leaves raise insulin levels, according to research
in healthy volunteers
2possible due to regeneration of the b-cells in the pancreas
3The leaves are also noted for lowering serum cholesterol
4A water-soluble acidic fraction of the leaves provides hypoglycemic
actions, possibly gymnemic acid.
5Its action in the reduction of intestinal glucose uptake
has also been noted.
In the US, Gymnema sylvestre is sold under several brands including
Nature's Way, Natrol, Pro Beta?and Informulab Beta Fast GXR
. The products promote healthy glucose levels and pancreas function.
As a supplement, Gymnema is also used to help diminish sugar intake.
Gymnema sylvestre is generally safe and devoid of side affects although
it should be avoided during pregnancy. Administration is recommended
under the clinical supervision of a healthcare professional. Gymnema
cannot be used in place of insulin to control blood sugar by persons
with IDDM or NIDDM.
100 patients with type 1 or type 2 Diabetes
were started on the Gymnema product and 65 completed the study. Males
or non-pregnant females with a hemoglobin A1c>7.8% were chosen for
the study. An HbA1c was be taken at the beginning and at the conclusion
of the study. Fasting blood glucose and postprandial blood glucose was
measured during the trial. A minimum of 1 fasting blood glucose and
1 postprandial blood glucose was taken daily for at least 5 of 7 days.
At the end of each 30 day period, the readings wereadded and divided
by the number of days and reported back as an average fasting and postprandial
blood glucose. Treatment with Beta Fast GXR Gymnema sylvestre
was added for a period of three months, 1 x 400mg tablet, twice daily.
At the end of that period, we obtained another HbA1c.
1. Hemoglobin A1c
2. Fasting Blood Glucose
3. Postprandial Blood Glucose
The prevalence of Diabetes
has increased dramatically in recent years1. Gymnema Sylvestre is an
Indian herb used in Ayurveda, the ancient Hindi medicine system of India.
Its primary application was for adult-onset Diabetes
(NIDDM), a condition for which it continues to be recommended today
in India. The gradual hypoglycemic action of Gymnema leaves, first documented
in the 1930, differs from the rapid effect of many prescription hypoglycemic
drugs. Gymnema leaves raise insulin levels, according to research in
healthy volunteers2 possibly due to regeneration of the b-cells in the
pancreas. The leaves are also noted for lowering serum cholesterol and
triglycerides. A water-soluble acidic fraction of the leaves provides
hypoglycemic actions, possibly gymnemic acid. Its action in the reduction
of intestinal glucose uptake has also been noted. The purpose of this
work was to investigate the acute effects of supplementing the diet
with Gymnema Sylvestre (Beta Fast GXR) in regards to it's
glucose lowering thereby reducing the HbA1c and therefore the complications
By reducing the HbA1c (Average Blood Glucose) 1%, the DCCT7 study showed
Type 1 diabetics could reduce the complications of Retinopathy by 38%,
Nephropathy by 28% Neuropathy by 35%. The UKPDS showed that reducing
the HbA1c in Type 2 diabetics by 0.9% could reduce any diabetic end
point by 12%, reduce any Microvascular end point by 25%, reduce MI by
16%, reduce Retinopathy by 21% and reduce microalbuminurea at 12 years
The UKPDS also showed that Postprandial (blood glucose 1-2 hours after
eating) glucose is a better indicator of glycemic control than fasting
glucose levels. Treatment of postprandial hyperglycemia is critical
to achieving optimal outcomes in type 2 Diabetes.
Sixty-five (65) patients (37male/28 female) completed the study. 7.6%(5)
of the patients were insulin dependent. Their pre-study average fasting
glucose (163 mg/dl) and postprandial blood glucose (212 mg/dl), and
a base HbA1c (8.8) were taken. Patients were instructed to take two
(2) tablets per day, one in AM, one in PM for 90 days. They continued
to monitor fasting and postprandial blood glucose through the study
period. At the conclusion of the 90-day period, their levels were measured.
Sixty five percent of the participants completed the study. After the
90 days of the Gymnema Sylvestre (Beta Fast GXR) supplementation,
mean daily preprandial plasma glucose concentrations were 11 percent
lower (161 vs. 144 mg/dl). The Gymnema Sylvestre (Beta Fast GXR)
supplementation also lowered the 2-hour postprandial plasma glucose
concentrations, by 13 percent (207 vs. 180mg/dl). The Gymnema Sylvestre
(Beta Fast GXR) supplementation lowered HbA1c from 8.8% to
8.2% (0.6% decrease).
In the sub set of participants whose pre-study HbA1c was 9% or above
the results were more profound. Mean daily preprandial plasma glucose
concentrations were 15 percent lower (191 vs. 161 mg/dl). The Gymnema
Sylvestre (Beta Fast GXR) supplementation also lowered the
2-hour postprandial plasma glucose concentrations, by 21 percent (250
vs. 199 mg/dl). The Gymnema Sylvestre (Beta Fast GXR) supplementation
lowered HbA1c from 10.1% to 9.3% (0.8% decrease).
In the poorest controlled patients, those with a starting HbA1c of 10%
or greater, mean daily preprandial plasma glucose concentrations were
18 percent lower (216 vs. 178 mg/dl). The Gymnema Sylvestre (Beta Fast
GXR) supplementation also lowered the 2-hour postprandial
plasma glucose concentrations by 28 percent (295 vs. 212 mg/dl). The
Gymnema Sylvestre (Beta Fast GXR) supplementation lowered
HbA1c from 11.1% to 9.9% (1.2% decrease).
In addition 11 patients (16%) had a decrease in prescription medicine
As can be seen from the data above, the use of Gymnema Sylvestre (Beta
Fast GXR) supplementation in all patients with Diabetes
has a positive result. In addition the use of Gymnema Sylvestre (Beta
Fast GXR) supplementation in patients with the poorest control
is even more critical. It appears that the largest effect occurs from
decrease of postprandial glucose levels, which is consistent with the
mechanisms of action stated. Gymnema Sylvestre (Beta Fast GXR)
supplementation appears to improve glycemic control in patients with
type 2 Diabetes.
Reducing postprandial blood glucose significantly caused a decrease
of HbA1c, therefore reducing the complications from Diabetes.
1-Beckles GLA et al. Diabetes
Care. 1998;21:1432-1438.American Diabetes
Care. 1998;21(Suppl 2).Colwell JA. Ann Intern Med. 1996;124(1pt2):131-135.Abraira
C et al. Diabetes
Care. 1992;15:1560-1571.Klein R et al. Am J Epidemiol. 1987;126:415-428.Cowie
CC et al. Diabetes
in America. 2nd ed.vol. 44, November ol. 44, November.
2- Mhasker KS, Caius JF. A study of Indian medicinal plants. II. Gymnema
sylvestre R.Br. Indian J Med Res Memoirs 1930;16:2-75.
3- Shanmugasundaram KR, Panneerselvam C, Sumudram P, Shanmugasundaram
ERB. Insulinotropic activity of G. sylvestre, R.Br. and Indian medicinal
herb used in controlling Diabetes
mellitus. Pharmacol Res Commun 1981;13:475-86.
4-Shanmugasundaram ERB, Leela Gopinath K, Radha Shanmugasundaram K,
Rajendran VM. Possible regeneration of the islets of Langerhans in streptozotocin
diabetic rats given Gymnema sylvestre leaf extracts. J Ethnopharmacol
5 Bishayee A, Chatterjee M. Hypolipidemic and antiatherosclerotic effects
of oral Gymnema sylvestre R.Br. leaf extract in albino rats fed on a
high fat diet. Phytother Res 1994;8:118-20.
6 Gymnema. Lawrence Review of Natural Products Aug 1993 (monograph).
Fushiki T, Kojima A, Imoto T, et al. An extract of Gymnema sylvestre
leaves and purified gymnemic acid inhibits glucose-stimulated gastric
inhibitory peptide secretion in rats. J Nutr 1992;122:2367-73. 1995.
7- The New England Journal of Medicine -- September 30, 1993 -- Vol.
329, No. 14-DCCT research group, Diabetes
8- Hawaii Med J 2000 Jul;59(7):295-8, 313; BMJ. 2000 Aug 12;321(7258):405-12.
9. Harris et al. Diabetes
10- De Veciana et al. N Engl J Med. 1995;333:1239
A second controlled clinical trial on Beta Fast is nearing completion
at Creighton Diabetes
Center, Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, NE. The trial
is directed by Dr. Marc Rendell, Director of the Creighton Diabetes
Center and Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
Beta Fast GXR Glucose Balance is a concentrated, extended
release, herbal dietary supplement containing 400mg of Gymnema Sylvestre
(GS) leaf extract (standardized to 25%) per tablet. Recommended dosage
is two (2) tablets per day, one taken with breakfast and one with dinner.
Beta Fast is produced by Informulab of Omaha, NE. Informulab, Beta Fast
and GXR are registered trademarks of Wen-Cin Marketing, Inc., The parent
company also publishes alternativediabetes.com, a comprehensive Internet
resource on complementary therapies for Diabetes