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The sweet truth

Sugar is probably the last thing you’d expect to help with health problems. But researchers have found that in very small doses sugar can be used as a homoeopathic medicine. Recent papers written on sugar as medicine have been applauded by homoeopathic journals worldwide and many practitioners are exploring its clinical application for children and adults who crave junk food, are buzzed by sugar and have problems with hypoglycaemia.

Sugar has a bad reputation and has been linked with a variety of health problems. But homoeopathic pharmacies are able to turn sugar into a homoeopathic medicine (known as a remedy) so sugar can then treat the health problems it is also known to cause. This is the principle of “like cures like” in action and is the basis on which every homoeopathic remedy works.

It was the reputation of sugar that first stimulated Dr Tinus Smits of The Netherlands to think sugar would make an effective homoeopathic remedy. At first Smits considered the double-edged reputation of sugar — both the positive and the negative. He took into account the way we give sweets as a gift when we want to show our love and we use sugary words as endearments, calling our loved ones “sugar” and “sweetheart”, and that when we feel like a special treat we eat sweet food. Sugar is an important ingredient of cakes used in celebrations in our culture. We have a wedding cake tradition of saving the top tier until the couple’s first anniversary, with the sugar acting as a preservative.

On the other hand, the list of problems stemming from over-consumption of sugar is well known. Sugar has been proven to cause tooth decay and sugar often goes hand in hand with fatty foods: think cakes, biscuits, chocolate and pastry.

To complete his research, Smits looked at all the available information about the sugarcane plant itself, the early use of sugar as a medicine in the battlefield, the effects and symptoms of hypoglycaemia and century-old homoeopathic research.

 

The sugarcane plant

Sugar is processed from sugarcane, a species of very tall grass with thick stems that was first used for food by the Chinese between 200 and 600 AD. It has a fibrous marrow full of sweet sap underneath the tough bark. Sugar is made in the plant stem to store energy that’s not needed straight away, like animals making fat.

It’s believed sugar was introduced into Spain around the eighth century. Columbus carried sugarcane to America on a voyage from Spain and it later spread throughout the tropical world, coming to Australia with the First Fleet. Because it was produced in only small quantities, it was considered a great luxury. At the time, sugar was processed by boiling the cane juice then harvesting the crystals left behind after the water evaporated. These crystals contained protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. They were calorie-dense and provided essential nutrients.

Much later, the process of refining sugars and stripping out many of these nutrients was perfected and sugar became a profitable industry. Sugar is now produced in more than 100 countries and global production exceeds 100 million tons a year.

 

Early use of sugar medicine on the battlefield

Smits also examined the traditional use of sugar as a medicinal agent. In days gone by, it was used to combat infection in wounds on the battlefield because of the way it promotes healing. Sugar would lead to intense osmotic changes, which rinsed out the wound with serum. Ulcers were also sometimes sprinkled with powdered white sugar to remove fungus.

  

Hypoglycaemia

According to some figures, consumption of sugar per person in America has reached around 60kg a year, while in Australia we each consume around 43kg a year — fortunately, in Australia the annual consumption figure is falling.

People with disturbed sugar metabolism show imbalance through, perhaps, eating problems such as a ravenous appetite soon after eating; constant appetite; appetite that cannot be satisfied; sleeplessness ameliorated by eating; eating frequently between meals; irresistible desire for sweets; need to eat on waking; faint feeling on waking or antisocial feelings and irritability when hungry. In adults and children we can see the link between these symptoms and the swings in blood sugar that strongly influence social behaviour and emotional wellbeing.

One cause of these problems is the overuse of “easy” carbohydrates in the form of sugar. Other related causes are coffee, alcohol and cigarettes. The caffeine in coffee, cola, tea and chocolate stimulates adrenaline which, in turn, stimulates the release of sugar from the liver into the blood. About 70 per cent of people with alcohol problems suffer from hypoglycaemia. Sugar levels in smokers’ blood also increase after a cigarette.

The behaviour of juvenile delinquents may be ameliorated if they are put on a sugar-free diet. Eighty-two per cent of a group of 106 were found to suffer from hypoglycaemia. For many of them, a change in their diet led to a change in their social behaviour. However, diet is often the hardest thing to change and research also shows some people are more susceptible to these problems from early in life and will crave sugar even as a toddler.

 

Homoeopathic research from a century ago

The first part of the research done by Smits uncovered the fact that a homoeopathic remedy had been made from sugar more than a century ago. The remedy had been known as Saccharum officinale, which is not the same as the artificial sweetener saccharin. Reports show that early homoeopaths used Saccharum effectively for rickets, infections, scurvy and “affections of the spleen”, and the homoeopathic journals of the day reported some astounding clinical observations and cases. With the passage of time, the remedy had been forgotten, since it was no longer required in homoeopathic practice.

Information about Saccharum was buried in old Materia Medica books, which contained work done by the homoeopathic research method called provings. Provings provide a detailed listing of the many mental, emotional and physical symptoms that can be treated. Provings are still conducted in modern-day homoeopathy in a method that hasn’t changed much since homoeopathy was first invented.

The old books say: “Saccharum may be used for children who are capricious; care nothing for substantial food, but want little nick-nacks; always cross and whining, and, if old enough, are insolent and do not care to occupy themselves in any way.”

 

Compensation for lack of affection

We all have different ways of reacting when we feel a lack of love and affection. We can try to compensate for it, or we can refuse offers of affection and claim, “I don’t need it anyway.” Another common way of compensating is eating sweets.

In children who feel that nobody loves them, there may be an exaggerated display of behaviour that otherwise would be seen as a normal part of childhood. An excessive desire for cuddles may be apparent, along with wanting absolute physical contact with their mother when they are no longer an infant. Putting everything in their mouth and touching everything may occur along with exaggerated sucking of fingers and nail biting. As adults they may have altered the need to put their hand to their mouth by smoking cigarettes.

There may be a great need to possess objects or to have new things, with an everlasting feeling of dissatisfaction. Also, the capacity to sustain a lasting friendship or relationship is thwarted by the perception that nobody cares for them. No matter how much the parent or friend reassures them, they constantly seek affirmation that they are loved. Smits said, “They are like a perforated bucket, which you try to fill with all the water you have.” These are the type of people who would benefit from a carefully thought-out diet plan but find it impossible to maintain.

 

Saccharum the remedy

The main characteristic of someone needing Saccharum is a significant nurturing deficit, which the person attempts to fill with close physical contact and by devouring sweets. The person feels and acts as if they did not receive enough love and nurturing in their early life. Physically, these people may suffer from hypoglycaemia and have recurrent infections such as sinusitis, chronic rhinitis and ear infections.

Saccharum may resemble other homoeopathic remedies and should be carefully differentiated from them before being prescribed. It may resemble the remedy Belladonna because both Saccharum and Belladonna types have the tendency to flushing red in the face and share an aversion to vegetables and milk. It may also be very similar to the remedy Chamomilla because both these types have increased thirst, are oversensitive to pain, have an urgent desire to be carried and are restless.

 

Saccharum children

Most children like sweets but those needing Saccharum have an extreme craving. The parents will give up taking the child shopping with them because it becomes impossible. These children need to eat frequently and often hoard food, especially sugar. They are the ones who will literally eat sugar out of the sugar bowl; sweets and other carbohydrates disappear out of the pantry.

In his research, Smits found that children who will benefit from the remedy Saccharum are often very pale, “as white as sugar”. They have a strong feeling of forsakenness that’s almost delusional, with a need to be held in the arms of their mother and a screaming desire to sleep with their parents. They like attention and are very chatty; they love to be in the limelight. Extreme aggression and restlessness may be among their characteristics and they have difficulty concentrating. Their mood is worse early in the morning when they tend to demand breakfast immediately and seem better once they have eaten it. When young they are cross and whining and when older they are insolent and find it hard to occupy themselves — everything is too much trouble.

 

Saccharum adults

Adults needing Saccharum may have had a childhood reputation like the picture just described. By the time they reach adulthood they will have changed their outward behaviour, though the unloved inward feeling remains. Compulsive eating, especially sweets, chips and cakes, is a concern and may stem from a lack of physical contact in childhood or a lack of love, even though this might be only their perception. They may describe a childhood in which good behaviour was rewarded with sweets. Their profound problem is a desperate search for affection and uncertainty about attention from partners and parents.

Loquacity or hasty speech may have become a habit for them, subconsciously to get attention. Their partners will say they are slow to wake up. Ever since childhood they have felt irritable in the morning until breakfast. Their mood also swings during the day if they go too long without food. If they don’t eat regularly, symptoms such as headaches, weakness, trembling and a dizzy feeling appear. Body temperature may be unstable with extreme chill alternating with heat, especially at night when they stick their hot feet out of the bed covers.

 

Case studies

Since the research has been completed, there are cases reported worldwide confirming Saccharum’s powerful action. This beneficial action is simply explained by the fact that it helps the person emotionally with their forsaken feelings and they therefore find it easier not to seek out sweets. Saccharum is also beneficial for someone who has started some dietary modifications and is having trouble maintaining them.

The picture of the Saccharum remedy comes up during the case-taking conversation between the homoeopath and the person. The whole case-taking may last an hour or more in order to get an understanding of the person. The following cases are snapshots of the whole conversation.

 

Case 1 — from Tinus Smits, The Netherlands

Hendrik was a pale, six-year-old boy. When he was alone he was extremely anxious and his mother had to lie at his side in bed to help him off to sleep but he woke frequently. Hendrik wanted to be held at night but was not very cuddly in the daytime and resisted offers of affection. At school he was restless and found it impossible to sit quietly. Hendrik craved bread with thick butter, sugar and chocolate, and had a stronger thirst than other children his age. After Saccharum, his anxiety was less, he slept well, the restlessness improved and his overall diet and wellbeing improved.

 

Case 2 — from Tinus Smits, The Netherlands

Three-week-old Jovanna would fall asleep so consistently when breastfeeding that she lost weight. She had dry skin and a rather low temperature and there was diabetes on her mother’s side of the family. Her four brothers and sisters had already been prescribed Saccharum with great success. After being given Saccharum, Jovanna began to feed with no problems and gained weight normally. Her skin also became healthier.

 

Case 3 — from Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, USA

Joey is a seven-year-old boy with a big smile who was adopted from an orphanage in China. Although the orphanage was well run and Joey had not suffered any severe neglect, he had experienced parental abandonment. He loved to cuddle and was very touch-oriented. A good runner, Joey wandered off impulsively whenever he felt the urge. He also picked on other children, had trouble sitting in his seat at school and was loud and yelled, even though sensitive to noise himself. His desire for sweets was intense and he sneaked them when nobody was looking. Joey responded very well to Saccharum as he became less aggressive, more settled and his sugar craving decreased dramatically, though he still likes sweets.

 

Case 4 — from Anton Rohrer, Austria

Florian is a teenager who would lie in bed and neglect his work at school. He liked to play with his Game Boy and avoided mental and physical exertion. He said he preferred “only the sweet part of life, the easygoing part”. When he was younger, he had recurrent tonsil problems and coughs and he strongly desired sweets and chocolate. Indulging in sweets would lead to diarrhoea. After Saccharum, he stopped lying around, took on more responsibility at school and lost his sweet cravings.

 

Case 5 — from Linda Beaver, Sydney, Australia

Jennifer, 28, grew up in a country town with a loving family, but moving to Sydney in search of work as a young adult made her feel insecure. At the time, most of her peer group thrived in the city but she felt forsaken with nobody to cook or care for her. Relationships were a problem with partners describing her as “too needy”. She ate mostly fast food, hot chips and bread rolls with butter and craved sweets. She said for years she had been “never really properly hungry for a meal”, but that had changed and she was always hungry with mood swings between being weak, tired, dizzy or cranky. After Saccharum, her whole world turned around emotionally and she found it easier to look after herself, including eating more carefully.

Saccharum is one of the most important homoeopathic remedies available to help problems with sugar metabolism but is not one of the homoeopathic remedies that can be self prescribed. A full case history must be taken by a professional homoeopathic practitioner in order to make sure it is the right remedy. To find a homoeopath in your area contact the Australian Homoeopathic Association (www.homeopathyoz.org).

 

Like cures like

Homoeopathy is a system of holistic medicine with around 3000 different remedies available. When sugar is turned into a remedy, it is capable of treating the ailments it causes. This is “like cures like” in action, the basis on which every homoeopathic remedy works. Other examples of like curing like are:

  • Allium cepa (onion) given for burning, running eyes and conjunctivitis, which is similar your eyes’ reaction when you cut an onion.
  • Apis mellifica (honey bee) given for puffed-up, red, rosy swelling in allergic reactions, which is similar to the effects of a bee sting.
  • Coffea cruda (coffee) given for nervous sleeplessness from a rush of ideas, which is similar to the effect of drinking too much coffee.
  • Natrum muriaticum (common salt) given for extra thirst, dry mouth, dry skin and fluid retention, which is similar to the effects of eating too much salt.
  • Rheum (rhubarb) given for colic and diarrhoea (especially in children), which is similar to what happens when you eat too much rhubarb or unripe fruit.

 

References

Cases 1 and 2: Smits, T. “The magic sugar: Saccharum officinale.” International Homeopathic Links 3 (1995): 28-36.
Case 3: Reichenberg-Ullman, J., and R. Ullman. “Healing with Homeopathy: A Sweet Homeopathic Remedy for Adopted Kids.” Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients (June 2003).
Case 4: Rohrer, A. “A case of behaviour problems.” International Homeopathic Links 1 (1995): 24.
Case 5: Beaver, L. Personal communication from the practitioner’s clinic case notes (2004), Newtown Homoeopathic Centre, T: (02) 9516 5300.
Allen, T.F. The Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica. First published 1878. Volume 8: Plumbum to Serpentaria.
Felter, H.W., and J. Lloyd. “Saccharum (USP) — Sugar” in King’s American Dispensatory. 1898. Available at www.ibiblio.org/herbmed/eclectic/kings/saccharum.html
Smits, T. Homeopathy and Vaccination Site www.tinussmits.com/english/ Vermeulen, F. Synoptic Materia Medica II. Netherlands: Merlijn Publishers, 1996, 752-5.

All names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.

Having a Masters Degree in Health Science Education and holding the position of Head of Homoeopathy at Nature Care College, Linlee Jordan is very interested in conveying an understanding of the depth and beauty of how homoeopathy works to the general public and students. T: (02) 9905 9415.

 

 

 

 

The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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The truth about sugar

One reason we love sweet foods is the taste for sugar originally conferred major survival advantages on our ancestors. It enabled them to distinguish between edible and toxic substances (the sweet were likely to be edible, the bitter more toxic).

In a feast or famine environment, sweet foods supplied energy in a quickly accessible form. Unfortunately, we no longer live in a feast or famine environment, so this genetic urge doesn’t work so well. Today, we have too much of a good thing and the challenge is to help your body cope with the sugar assault.

Sugar is a general name for carbohydrates and there are literally thousands of different types of carbohydrates. There are the monosaccharides (glucose, fructose and galactose), the disaccharides (sucrose or table sugar, lactose or milk sugar, and malt, ferment from barley) and polysaccharides forming the starches, brans (cellulose) and glycogen.

Starches are broken down mainly to the monosaccharide glucose that we use for energy. Foods such as grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds provide complex carbohydrate, a wealth of nutrients and valuable fibre. Simple carbohydrates are found in sugar, honey, syrup, some components of fruit, white bread, refined foods, chocolate and lollies.

Cellulose (fibre) is an essential part of our diet, yet it’s considered a non-nutrient — in other words, we cannot digest it. What fibre does in humans, however, is absorb water, various toxins and the byproducts of digestion and excretes these in the stools. Fibre is also important to prevent constipation.

Carbohydrates are made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They are the ideal dietary source of fuel for most body functions and their nutritional value varies over a wide range. Carbohydrates can be stored as sugars (glycogen) for short-term energy and the excess as fat for a long-term energy source. Glycogen is particularly stored in the liver and muscles. In a healthy person, the liver can store 8 per cent of its weight as glycogen.

The storage of large quantities of carbohydrates is inefficient, which means we need to eat them regularly. However, it’s the glycogen storage that enables you to get things done between meals. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to do anything except eat to maintain your energy. Fats are a much more efficient form of long-term energy storage, which is why all the macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) are eventually stored as fat if you eat excessive amounts of food.

Absorption issues

 

When you eat carbohydrates, they’re broken down in the mouth and the small intestine. If you have problems digesting carbohydrates, you can suffer a range of symptoms, such as a feeling of fullness from bacterial fermentation, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation.

When carbohydrates are digested, they are then absorbed across the intestinal wall, which occurs at varying rates. The speed of absorption of the various carbohydrates has been categorised into a system called the glycaemic index, based on the absorption of glucose being 100. Simple sugars generally will be absorbed quickly but at different rates; some sugars, such as mannose and pentose (GI — 9), will absorb more slowly.

The speed of absorption and the metabolism of carbohydrates are critical factors in managing blood sugar levels, particularly today when conditions such as hypoglycaemia and adult onset diabetes are growing health issues. The slower the absorption of carbohydrates, the easier it is to control blood sugar levels and the less likely a person is to have problems with conditions such as hypoglycaemia or syndrome x (metabolic syndrome) or of developing diabetes. So low-GI foods are an important part of a good diet.

 

Sugar in your blood

 

Blood sugar levels are very closely controlled. Blood glucose levels have to stay in a reasonably constant condition or ill health (even coma and death) can result. There are several mechanisms that work together to maintain blood sugar levels within these very narrow limits. When you eat sugar/carbohydrates and your blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas releases insulin, which enables your body cells to take up glucose, removing it from the blood. Insulin also converts glucose into glycogen and stores it in the liver, and increases the use of glucose by the muscles when you exercise (for energy).

The glucose in the blood forms a complex with insulin. It is transported to the membranes of cells, where the insulin attaches to a receptor site called glucose tolerance factor (GTF — made of the amino acid glutamine, vitamin B3 and the mineral chromium). Once the insulin is attached to GTF, it releases glucose through the cell membrane and into the cell. The glucose is then broken down further as it passes through the cell (requiring B vitamins, magnesium and oxygen) and finally enters the mitochondria (or energy powerhouse of the cell), where it is converted into energy.

There’s a range of nutrients required for this processing to proceed correctly (see box). Balancing this, the hormone glucagon is also produced by the pancreas and does the opposite of insulin. It is released from the pancreas when blood sugar levels go down. This triggers the liver to then convert glycogen back into glucose to raise the blood sugar levels again.

There are many ways you can have trouble with managing blood sugar. Some people are particularly sensitive to sucrose (and other sugars), while others with poor liver function have poor glycogen storage; some will have low insulin production and others have excess insulin in the blood (particularly if they are low in chromium or GTF).

Blood sugar and disease

 

Hypoglyacemia and syndrome X Hypoglycaemia is defined as low blood sugar, but this is not an accurate description of the condition. It would more appropriately be called abnormally fluctuating blood sugar levels. There are two types of hypoglycaemia: organic hypoglycaemia and functional hypoglycaemia. Organic hypoglycaemia is caused by damage to the pancreas. Functional hypoglycaemia is much more common, triggered by poor diet and lifestyle, affecting more than 40 per cent of the population.

Functional hypoglycaemia occurs when excess insulin is secreted from the pancreas as an over response to excess sugar, refined carbohydrates and stimulants such as coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco and chocolate (via adrenalin). Other contributing factors are long spells between meals (and missing meals, especially breakfast), vitamin and mineral deficiencies (for example, glutamine and chromium), adrenal exhaustion from stress, and food allergies. Stress is part of the problem because it increases adrenalin, which causes both glucose and fats to be dumped into the bloodstream. When this occurs, liver glycogen levels can be high but the high insulin level prevents the correct metabolism necessary to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Conditions of high blood insulin are increasingly being called metabolic syndrome or syndrome X. People with metabolic syndrome are often carbohydrate addicts. When these addicts eat carbohydrates, they release far more insulin into the blood than is necessary. When this happens, the brain hormone serotonin, which gives a feeling of satisfaction, fails to rise and the person feels hungry much more quickly after eating. In fact, every time they eat carbohydrates, the cravings for more carbohydrates get stronger.

Diabetes Diabetes, meaning “fountain”, results from excess sugar in the blood, to the extent that it spills over into the urine. Diabetics crave sugar (carbohydrates), drink huge amounts of fluid and urinate copiously and frequently. They are usually exhausted as they cannot make energy efficiently from foods containing carbohydrates (or fats). Type 1 diabetes, previously called juvenile onset or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), usually becomes noticeable in children. Type 2 diabetes, previously called adult onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), develops over many years of poor eating habits and excess stress. Both types can have a genetic component.

Diabetes develops either when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or when the cells become resistant to insulin. Diabetics also have great difficulty with the metabolism of fats and the incidence of cardiovascular disease in diabetics is much higher than normal.

Managing blood sugar

 

Dietary and lifestyle changes can improve blood glucose metabolism significantly. These changes are the key to managing your blood sugar and reducing your risk for diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Diet Eliminate table salt (low-sodium and high-potassium diets will lower blood sugar levels) and experiment with other herbs and spices for flavour and health.

Limit stimulants such as coffee, tea, tobacco and chocolate. Avoid refined carbohydrates such as malt, tinned foods, cordial, juices, honey, sugar, white flour and alcohol.

Pattern your meals to help stabilise blood sugar levels. This means eating small meals frequently (often three-hourly if necessary) and make sure these small meals are low GI and high protein such as nuts and seeds. Check the glycaemic index of food (there are several books and many internet sites with this information) and eat the low GI food/meal suggestions. Eating one hard-boiled egg before bed will stabilise your blood sugar overnight and give you much more energy in the morning.

Make sure you include whole grains, beans and lentils, low GI fruits and vegetables in your daily food intake. These items are packed with dietary fibre, which can lower your insulin levels. These foods will also assist in detoxifying the liver and correcting bowel function — both critical factors in blood sugar management. Cooked lentils in one meal improve the carbohydrate absorption in the next and help keep blood sugar levels more stable.

Exercise Exercising for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, every day is very important. Exercise regulates blood sugar levels, improves insulin sensitivity and increases insulin receptor sites on cells, as well as improving thyroid function and speeding up your basal metabolic rate. Eat plenty of low-GI fruits (cherries are the best) and vegetables. Choose lean cuts of white meat or fish over red meat. Avoid processed or deepfried foods. Eat organic vegetables and fruit (and chicken) — this will give you better nutrients and fewer chemicals, taking the load off your liver.

Lose weight Losing as little as 5 to 10 per cent of your body weight can reduce insulin levels and blood pressure and decrease your risk of diabetes.

Stop smoking Smoking cigarettes increases insulin resistance and worsens the health consequences of poor blood sugar metabolism.

Stress management Learning to cope with stress also helps keep blood sugar in balance. Exercise helps reduce the impact of stress on your body, as does relaxation, meditation, yoga, and tai chi.

 

Sweet alternatives

 

Overall, it’s best to avoid the artificial sweeteners as debate over their safety continues and they may have detrimental effects. However, there is hope for sugar addicts. Some of the alternative (not artificial) sweeteners such as stevia or xylitol may be of considerable benefit.

Xylitol (also called wood sugar) is a sugar alcohol that’s a “healthy” sugar substitute. It’s a naturally occurring sweetener found in the fibres of many fruits and vegetables. These include raspberries and plums and it can be extracted from corn husks, the bark of some trees such as birch, oats and mushrooms. It looks like sugar and tastes very much like sugar (about as sweet as sucrose), but it doesn’t require insulin for metabolism, so it can be safely used by diabetics. Xylitol also has an antibacterial property and may help prevent oral candida infections in the mouth. Research has also shown that xylitol reduces plaque on teeth and may actually repair small dental cavities.

Stevia rebaudiana is a member of the sunflower family native to subtropical and tropical South and Central America. As a sugar substitute, its taste has a slower onset and longer duration than sugar. The leaf itself is about 30 times sweeter than sugar and the isolated glycosides can be 300 times sweeter. Research on stevia is showing positive results in reducing obesity and high blood pressure. It has also been shown to enhance glucose tolerance and improves insulin sensitivity, so can be used as a natural sweetener for diabetics or those with abnormal glucose metabolism. Stevia contains no calories, helps people to lose weight and reduces tooth decay.

 

Supplements for sugar metabolism

  1. Chromium is a component of glucose tolerance factor (with glutamine B3). Chromium is found in molasses, brewer’s yeast, whole grains and brans.
  2. Zinc helps form pro-insulin. Fish and oysters are some of the best sources.
  3. Magnesium metabolises carbohydrates in the cells. Green foods are high sources.
  4. Manganese can be used in Kreb’s (energy) cycle instead of magnesium.
  5. L-glutamine is critical for energy production in the small intestine so carbohydrates can be digested, and is also critical for the formation of glucose tolerance factor.
  6. Iron is needed for oxidative phosphorylase (the final stages of energy production).
  7. Vitamin B1 is a metabolic (pentose) pathway (crucial for carbohydrate metabolism)
  8. B Vitamins — folic acid, B2, B3 for the substances that are critical for the metabolism of carbohydrates (B3 — NAD),(B2 — FAD, FMN) , biotin.
  9. Vitamin B5 makes co-enzyme A, which is made into acetyl co-enzyme A, a vital part of the Kreb’s (energy) cycle.
  10. Gymnema sylvestra is an Ayurvedic herb that shows great promise in the effective management of blood sugar levels in type 1 and type 2 diabetes (in humans) or as an adjunct to conventional drug therapy. Gymnema appears to lower blood glucose and also alters the taste of sugar by blocking sugar receptors on the tongue, and is therefore being used to reduce sugar cravings.
  11. Miracle fruit — Synsepalum dulcificum is an unusual plant that has potential. It’s from Africa and eating it makes everything else you eat, even sour or stale foods, taste deliciously sweet for about an hour or two — without altering your blood sugar. It’s served as a dessert in Japan and the herbal manufacturing companies are researching its application as a supplement for diabetes.

Dr Karen Bridgman

Dr Karen Bridgman

Karen Bridgman is a holistic practitioner at Lotus Health and Lotus Dental in Neutral Bay.

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