Diabetes Supplements

Banaba: Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Dosage

Banaba (Lagerstroemia specios) is a plant native to the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

People have used its leaves for many years in folk medicine.

Historically, banaba extract has been used to treat diabetes.

It has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and improve glycemic control.

In fact, the first published research study about banaba for diabetes management was released back in 1940.

In this article, we will be discussing the health benefits of banaba, especially in relation to diabetes.

Uses of banaba

  • Lowering cholesterol levels: Banaba is also antihyperlipidemic, meaning it helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels. It is used to help lower total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (also known as LDL-C, or “bad cholesterol”), and non-high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (also known as non-HDL-C).

  • Antioxidant: It is also used as an antioxidant and an antineoplastic (helps against tumor formation).

  • Anticancer properties: It can be used as an anticancer agent in various types of cancer, including liver cancer and colorectal cancer.

  • Anti-fungal: Since banaba has anti-fungal and antiviral properties, it is also used in fungal and viral infections. Banaba is also helpful for any acute (short-term) inflammation, which usually involves pain, redness, heat, and swelling.

  • Weight loss: Banaba is also used in those who are overweight or obese to help with weight loss. By the same mechanism, it can also help with metabolic syndrome.

  • Liver damage: Banaba has also been known to protect the liver against alcohol-induced damage.

Who should consider taking banaba?

  • People with high cholesterol levels in their blood may also want to consider incorporating banaba.

  • Patients with fungal or viral infections could also benefit from a banaba supplement. As could patients with inflammation, whether it be due to autoimmune conditions, arthritis, gastritis, or some other inflammatory disease.

  • People who are overweight or obese may want to take banaba as well. The same goes for those with metabolic syndrome.

  • Those with liver disease, whether it’s alcoholic or non-alcoholic, may also benefit from taking a banaba supplement.

  • Patients with cancer (particularly hepatocellular or colorectal cancer) should also consider taking this supplement.

  • HIV patients may also want to consider taking banaba.

What are the active ingredients in banaba?

The active ingredients in banaba are various phytochemicals.

The main phytochemical in banaba is called corosolic acid. This is a type of pentacyclic triterpene that is seen in the leaves of the banaba plant. Other phytochemicals in banaba include ellagitannins, gallic acid, and ellagic acid.

Benefits of banaba for Diabetes

What results should you expect to see when taking banaba?

When someone takes banaba, they have a lower chance of developing diabetes. People who already have diabetes have a lower possibility of their diabetes progressing.

They may also see improvements in their long term prognosis, as well as less of a need for insulin medications. If you are taking banaba herb, you should certainly expect to see a decrease in your blood sugar levels.

Banaba extract can help to:

  • Achieve optimal glycemic control.

  • Improve long term prognosis of diabetes.

  • Minimize the need for insulin medications in those with type 2 diabetes.

  • Banaba can also help to protect against fluoride intoxication, particularly in those with type 2 diabetes.

It is also likely that you will experience lower cholesterol levels, particularly the following:

Overall health benefits of banaba

  • People taking banaba have also been known to have lower levels of high sensitivity C reactive protein ( also known as hs CRP for short).

    High sensitivity C reactive protein is an indication of how much inflammation is present in the body. Therefore, people on banaba should expect to have less inflammation throughout the body.

  • Fungal infections, such as vaginal yeast infections and athlete’s foot, may clear up as a result of banaba supplementation. Viral infections, such as the flu or cold sores, can also be helped.

  • An additional benefit to taking a banaba supplement is the management of inflammation. And less inflammation usually means less pain, less fatigue, less swelling, and less brain fog.

  • If you take banaba, you can expect some weight loss to occur.

    One scientific research study found that participants taking a banaba supplement lost an average of 2.7 pounds, compared to a gain of 3.4 pounds in the placebo group.

    Even more importantly, it has been found that those taking a banaba supplement can expect a loss of fat mass.

  • You will also gain protection against alcoholic liver disease. Studies have found that people taking banaba have lower transaminase levels (liver enzymes) as well as less fat in their liver.

    They also have lower levels of 2-thiobarbituric acid reactive substances or TBARS for short. These are markers that demonstrate when there has been an oxidative injury to the liver. Banaba appears to help improve the overall health of the liver.

  • For those taking banaba for an HIV infection, they can expect to see a lower viral load and inhibition of the infection itself.

How long does it take for banaba to start working?

Pure corosolic acid has been reported to lower blood glucose levels in just 60 minutes in human subjects.

Wow, that’s fast! Some studies that yielded positive effects from banaba supplementation were six weeks long. Others were eight weeks, while some were twelve.

A study on banaba’s positive effects on hepatocellular carcinoma demonstrated effectiveness after just 24 hours.

When looking at the benefits of using banaba to normalize the alterations observed after fluoride intoxication in diabetic mice, 15 days of banaba treatment were required.

For banaba use in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, five weeks were needed before benefits were seen.

How safe is banaba for long-term use?

Banaba is very safe for long term use, with no adverse effects identified. Overall, the data support the safety of banaba use as a supplement.

One scientific research study assessed the safety of banaba using a 45 measurement blood chemistry panel, and 86 item self-reported quality of life inventory, bone mineral density, and cardiovascular changes.

What they found was that there were no changes at all in any blood chemistry measurements. When looking at quality of life scores, they improved with banaba supplementation.

However, it should be noted that people with low blood sugar or who are prone to hypoglycemia should avoid banaba-containing supplements.

What are the most common side effects of taking banaba?

There are no reported side effects associated with taking a banaba supplement!

Banaba restores blood glucose levels and blood cholesterol levels to practically normal, healthy states. This happens without any gain in body weight.

Weight gain is the most common side effect that we see in patients with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance taking anti-diabetic medications.

These include:

  • Insulin.

  • Insulin secretagogues.

  • Sulfonylureas.

  • Thiazolidinediones.

Rather than weight gain, banaba supplementation often results in weight loss, especially if you know the foods to avoid for people with diabetes.

What drug interactions does banaba have?

When it comes to administering conventional pharmaceuticals simultaneously alongside a banaba supplement, there is no sizeable multicenter scale clinical trial to look at.

This is because this type of research has not been conducted with banaba supplements.

However, we do know that banaba extract supplements inhibit sulfation of the mood hormone dopamine.

Banaba has been known to inhibit the uptake of certain drugs through this mechanism potently. By 6.1%, in fact.

So what does all this mean? It means that taking a banaba extract supplement with oral medications that also use the OATP-B substrate may decrease their absorption, making these medications less effective.

What forms do banaba supplements come in?

Banaba supplements come in different forms: capsules, tablets, powder form, and even banaba tea extract. All these forms are taken orally.

How can you choose the best banaba supplement to treat your diabetes?

The best banaba supplement for managing insulin resistance, insulin sensitivity, prediabetes, and blood glucose levels (also known as blood sugar levels) will have corosolic acid.

You also want high-quality ingredients. You want to be putting natural ingredients into your body.

After all, that is likely one of the reasons you turned to a supplement (rather than a pharmaceutical drug) in the first place.

But guess what? An ingredient, even in its ideal dose, is useless if it isn’t in the right form! You want a highly bioavailable form of each supplement ingredient.

This way, your body will absorb what you are putting into it. Not only are you getting more benefit from a highly bioavailable product, but you are getting more bang for your buck.

You will need less of the product to have more of a therapeutic effect. Further noteworthy ingredients shown to improve blood glucose, include bitter melon, cinnamon, and fenugreek.

Where can you find the best banaba supplements?

Transparency is important. You want to know what you are getting when you spend your hard-earned money on a banaba supplement.

This is why you want to get your product from a company that provides transparent information about their laboratory testing. You also want a supplement from a company that complies with government groups, such as the Food and Drug Administration (the FDA).

You want to see that they list their ingredients. As much as you want transparency when it comes to laboratory testing, it is equally important to have clarity in labeling.

Have a look at customer ratings. You want to make sure you get a product that is highly rated.

It is always nice to see when a company uses third-party software to make sure that reviews only come from actual customers.

You also want to obtain a banaba supplement from a company that provides excellent customer service and has a money-back guarantee.

Compliance, compliance, compliance. This is how a supplement company ensures quality. You will want to keep an eye out for a dietary supplement that is manufactured within the United States.

If the company uses Food and Drug Administration-audited facilities for their manufacture, then that is even better.

If you would like more information about managing diabetes, read the link here.

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About Our Author Dr. Corina Kinsey

Alternative Text
Dr. Corina is a naturopath in the GTA, working out of various locations of Triangle Physiotherapy. Dr. Corina struggled with digestive health for most of her life, to the point where she couldn’t remember what normal digestion felt like. It wasn’t until she discovered natural treatments for digestive problems that she was able to realize how strong and healthy she could really feel. Dr. Corina is now passionate about bringing this knowledge to others, so that they don’t have to suffer like she did. She wants to help people feel like the best version of themselves.

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