Any time you eat carbohydrates – either a simple sugar or a carb-packed starch – your pancreas secretes insulin.This overwhelms the insulin receptors in your cells. It makes them insulin-resistant – which means the insulin is less effective at pushing glucose into your cells. The result is one of the biggest health crises of all times…and ground zero for today’s chronic diseases. I call it Syndrome Zero. When glucose from your food can’t get into your cells, it remains in your blood … and your blood sugar levels soar.One of insulin’s primary jobs – though not its only one – is to transport glucose from the food you eat into your cells to make energy. The more carbs you eat, the more insulin is secreted by your pancreas. This is more or less a constant process, given the huge, unnatural amounts of starch in the American diet.
Chronically high blood sugar is incredibly destructive to your body.High blood sugars damage the walls of the tiny blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the nerves in the ends of the hands and feet, as well as to all the organs and organ systems in your body. This destruction begins when the starch overload transforms a natural physiological process into mutant killer molecules called advanced glycation end-products, or AGEs. To understand what AGEs do to your body, think about the process involved in making caramel. First, you take sugar and put it in a pan. Then you heat it. Soon, all those grains of sugar melt to form the congealed, sticky candy we call caramel. The chemical process involved here is called the Maillard reaction. It’s the same process that changes a soft slice of bread into a rigid piece of toast. And it’s also what happens in your body when excess glucose encounters proteins.
- It attaches to healthy cells, causing the inflammation at the root of all chronic diseases.
- It settles in arteries, making the tissue stiff and rigid — like toast.
- And it alters the function of hormones and enzymes
Your body has the enzymes in place to deal with extra starch intake and prevent AGEs from doing damage – but it’s not enough to cope with the onslaught of our modern diet.There’s a key blood sugar-lowering nutrient that most people have never heard of. It’s called vanadium. Vanadium is a crucial trace mineral element and an extremely powerful weapon against insulin resistance. Human and animal trials show that vanadium mimics most of the metabolic effects of insulin. This means it can be used as a natural substitute for insulin. And although the metabolic effects of vanadium are similar to insulin — at the molecular level, vanadium’s mechanisms of action are very different. So it’s unaffected by resistance in your cells’ insulin receptors. This means it helps move glucose from the blood into the cells, where it can be used as energy. It works by making cells more sensitive to insulin, which stimulates the movement of glucose into cells. At the same time, it inhibits the absorption of glucose from the gut, which reduces damaging glucose and insulin spikes. Studies have demonstrated that vanadium’s insulin-mimicking abilities can also correct abnormalities in carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
Vanadium is also a regulator of tyrosine kinase, an enzyme that works as an “on/off” switch for your insulin receptors.In one study, researchers gave patients a vanadium supplement for three weeks. After just three weeks, the average participant’s blood sugar levels dropped by 10%.1 The best food sources of vanadium are mushrooms, shellfish, black pepper, and parsley. You can also get vanadium supplements. I recommend a dosage of 5 mg per day. Do not take more than 10 mg daily.
2 more powerful ways to balance blood sugar
I help my patients balance their glucose using an all-natural approach. Here are two more plant therapies to use…
- Try the “sugar destroyer.” For more than 2,000 years, people in India used Gymnema Sylvestre to control blood sugar. The herb is also called gurmar, which means “destroyer of sugar” in Hindi. In one study, 22 patients struggling to maintain normal blood sugar levels took Gymnema Sylvestre daily for 18 to 20 months.2 By the end of the study, 100% of the patients showed excellent blood sugar levels! I recommend 100 mg taken twice daily.
- Banaba Leaf Extract: Traditionally, people living in Southeast Asia have brewed a banaba leaf tea to help regulate blood sugar. Researchers believe that banaba leaf’s beneficial effects on blood sugar are due to its high concentration of corosolic acid, a natural compound extracted from its leaves. Corosolic acid mimics insulin by moving sugar out of your bloodstream and into your cells. Numerous studies have proven banaba leaf’s effectiveness. In one study, diabetic patients with blood-sugar problems were given 48 mg of banaba leaf extract. After 15 days, the patients all reported a 30% reduction in blood sugar.3 In a second study, 67% of participants achieved significant decreases in glucose levels.4 A dose of no more than 50 mg of banaba leaf extract with 1-2% corosolic acid will help you control your blood sugar.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
References:1. Wallach, J and Lan M. “Rare Earths: Forbidden Cures.” Bonita, CA: Double Happiness Publishing. 1994. 411-12. 2. Baskaran K., et al. “Use of Gymnema sylvestre leaf extract in the control of blood glucose in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.” J Ethnopharmacology. 1990 Oct. 3. Stohs S, et al. “A review of the efficacy and safety of banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa L.) and corosolic acid.” Phytother Res. 2012 Mar;26(3):317-24. 4. López-Murillo L, et al. “Pilot clinical study demonstrates effects of banaba on insulin markers in patients with metabolic syndrome.” J Med Food. February 2022;25(2):177-182.