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How Ashwagandha Helps Manage Diabetes

Ashwagandha or Indian ginseng (Withania somnifera) is an essential medicinal plant with many therapeutical benefits. According to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, ashwagandha root and leaf contains around 530 and 520 mg/100 g of total flavonoids, powerful antioxidant agents that may help bring the glucose levels to normal in diabetics after eight weeks of administration. [1]

In this article, we will discuss the association between ashwagandha and diabetes. Take a look.

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How Ashwagandha Manages Diabetes

1. May increase insulin secretion

Ashwagandha root and leaf may increase the secretion of insulin from the pancreas cells and help manage diabetes. Although it is not yet clear how the root and leaf help, the effect is more pronounced compared to antidiabetic medication glibenclamide which is often prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes along with diet and exercise. [1]

2. May enhance the rate of glycogenesis

Glycogen is referred to as a stored form of glucose present in the liver and skeletal muscles. It serves to provide energy to the body to function better. Studies say that high glucose levels during diabetes can impair glycogen synthesis and obstruct the process of glycogenesis. Ashwagandha can enhance the rate of glycogenesis in diabetics and may help in diabetes management. [2]

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3. May reduce cholesterol levels

Diabetics are often diagnosed with high cholesterol levels. Studies say that root and leaf of ashwagandha possess cholesterol-lowering, triglyceride-lowering and phospholipid-lowering effects. However, in diabetics, both the root and leaf of ashwagandha can raise the sugar levels along and with increasing the LDL (bad cholesterol levels). But, with only ashwagandha root, the levels of HDL or good cholesterol may increase along with a decrease in cholesterol levels. The antioxidants in ashwagandha can also help lower cholesterol levels. [3]

4. May prevent and treat stress-induced diabetes

Lifestyle factors such as stress are among the primary causes of diabetes. A study has shown that ashwagandha can help in the prevention and treatment of several stress-induced diseases, including diabetes. The presence of vital active constituents such as alkaloids, saponins and steroidal lactones in this vital herb contribute to its anti-stress activity. [4]

5. May boost immunity in diabetics

High glucose levels in diabetics are often linked to dysfunction of the immune system. This is the reason why diabetics are prone to various diseases of the liver, kidney, eyes and many others. According to a study, glycowithanolides (a vital antioxidant) such as sitoindoside IX and sitoindoside X in ashwagandha possess strong immunomodulating effects that may help activate the macrophages cells and boost immunity to a great extent. Macrophages cells are those cells that specialised in the identification and destruction of pathogens. [5]

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6. May prevent insulin-resistance

Inflammation is the main cause of Insulin resistance in the body that plays a major role in the development of diabetes. A study has shown that the anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperglycemic activities of ashwagandha can help reduce the inflammatory factors, prevent insulin resistance and reduce glucose levels to manage diabetes, as well as slow its progression. [6]

To Conclude

Though ashwagandha is a great medicinal herb for the prevention and management of diabetes, it is dose-depended and cannot be consumed without consulting a medical expert.

Can diabetics take ashwagandha?

Yes, diabetics can take ashwagandha but only after consulting a medical expert. The potent flavonoids and saponins in this vital herb do not only help in the management of diabetes, but may also slow down its progression in non-diabetics.

Is ashwagandha good for type 2 diabetes?

According to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, ashwagandha root and leaf may increase insulin secretion in the body and help people with diabetes in the management of the condition. Also, its anti-diabetic effects could even be more than glibenclamide, an anti-diabetic medication.

How much ashwagandha should I take for diabetes?

Doctors mainly prescribe ashwagandha supplements or powder to diabetics depending on their health and severity. This is why the dose may vary from person to person. However, an average dose of around 250 mg to t3grams is recommended.