Aloe vera extract may reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and lower harmful cholesterol
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Type 2 diabetes is deceptively dangerous because the condition does not initially present serious health problems. To understand how type 2 diabetes can eventually unleash destruction on the body, an overview of the mechanics involved is helpful. If you have type 2 diabetes, it signifies one of two things – your pancreas either does not produce enough insulin or the insulin it does produce is not sufficiently processed by the cells.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar – the main type of sugar found in your blood that you obtain through eating food.
Blood sugar supplies energy and nourishment to the cells but having too much of the substance in your body can spell serious health problems.
High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels that supply vital organs, precipitating harmful health complications, such as heart disease.
Without the moderating effect of insulin, a person with type 2 diabetes must therefore find alternative means of controlling blood sugar levels.
Of course, the best case scenario is to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and this can be achieved by blocking the mechanisms that cause it.
Diet holds the key and there are a number of herbs that contain properties that have been shown to lower your blood sugar levels, thereby hindering the harmful process.
“Aloe vera, for example, was found in a 2015 study to lower blood glucose levels in people who are at risk of type two diabetes, or ‘pre-diabetic'”, reported Carolina Goncalves, superintendent pharmacist at Pharmica.
Pre-diabetes is when your blood sugar level is higher than it should be but not high enough for your doctor to diagnose diabetes.
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According to Goncalves, the study showed aloe vera also significantly reduced bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people who took aloe vera for a period of four to eight weeks compared to those who took a placebo.”
Akin to high blood sugar levels, bad cholesterol and triglycerides are substances that can raise your risk of heart disease.
What accounts for aloe vera’s blood sugar-lowering effects?
According to Goncalves, the reason aloe vera can be helpful for pre-diabetics is because it stimulates the production of insulin in the pancreas, which helps the body to better control your blood sugar levels.”
Other herbal solutions
“For people who are already diabetic, a study from 2011 found that a 2,000mg dally dose of bitter melon substantially reduced blood sugar levels in patients with type two diabetes,” she said.
That said, the effect still wasn’t as strong as it is from a 1,000mg dose of metformin – the drug often prescribed to people with type two diabetes, noted Goncalves.
General tips to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes
Committing to an overall healthy lifestyle is integral to staving off the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Research such as the Diabetes Prevention Program shows that you can do a lot to reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Key tips include:
- Lose weight and keep it off
- Move more
- Eat healthy foods most of the time.
Type 2 diabetes – how to spot it
Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising – this is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision.
According to the NHS, you should see a GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or
you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
“The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better,” adds the health body.
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