Carbohydrate Blocker Helps Lower Postprandial Blood Sugar Levels

Jan 21, 2005

In order for carbohydrates to be absorbed from food, they first must be broken down into smaller sugar particles such as glucose. Enzymes in the small intestine are responsible for breaking down these carbohydrates. Alpha-glucosidase is one of these enzymes. Inhibiting this enzyme cuts down on the absorption of sugar calories from food. Some herbs such as Phaseolus Vulgaris and Salacia oblonga have the ability to attach to alpha-glucosidase and decrease the absorption of starch calories.

Thirty-nine healthy nondiabetic adults in their mid-twenties fasted for 12 hours. They then consumed 4 liquid meals containing 14 grams of fat, 82 grams of carbohydrate, and 20 grams of protein. They were placed on various dosages of an herb (Salacia oblonga) that inhibits the enzyme alpha-glucosidase (none, 500mg, 700mg, and 1,000mg) with each meal. Compared with none, the 1,000mg serving reduced blood sugar and serum insulin as measured over the first 2 hours. Blood sugar was reduced by 23% and serum insulin was reduced by 29%. The herb reduced postprandial blood sugar and significantly reduced the insulin response. The study is published in the January 2005 issue of the journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Soy Isoflavones Protect Bone in Japanese Women

67 women were randomly placed on soy isoflavones 40mg, vitamin C at 25mg, or a placebo daily for 4 weeks in a double-blind study. The soy isoflavones significantly decreased levels of deoxypyridinoline in the urine of both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Deoxypyridinoline is a marker of bone break down, and a decreased amount in the urine indicates that there is a decreased risk of osteoporosis. The study is published in a supplement to the December 2004 issue of the journal Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology.