This Morning: Type 2 diabetes can be 'devastating' says expert
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Type 2 diabetes is a product of poor insulin production. Insulin is a hormone that’s responsible for regulating blood sugar – the main type of sugar in blood. If you have type 2 diabetes, insulin secretion is hampered, and the result is uncontrolled blood sugar levels. This is where diet steps in. You can mimic the effect of insulin by overhauling your diet.
Certain items have been touted for their ability to regulate blood sugar spikes.
Blood sugar levels spike in response to eating specific foods so the key is to consume items that counter this rise and moderate the impact of blood sugar.
Ginger tea has proven to be particularly adept at this process, both in the short and long-term.
Ginger is most often used as an ingredient in South East Asian and Indian cooking, but the spicy root has traditionally been used for centuries. You can take ginger fresh, dried or powdered as a tea, synthroid for fertility in food, or as a supplement.
The spice has many potential benefits but a study published in the Journal of Ethnic Foods focused on in particular: alleviating high blood sugar.
To this end, researchers carried out a systematic review of the use of ginger for reducing high blood sugar.
“Several recent clinical trials published in 2013 and 2014, although small, have added contradictory but compelling new evidence about the use of ginger in treating diabetes in humans,” the study researchers wrote.
To arrive at a more definitive conclusion, they conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis on the available evidence for using ginger to treat diabetes.
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Five randomised clinical trials (RCTs) were identified and included in the meta-analysis.
RCTs are prospective studies that measure the effectiveness of a new intervention or treatment. Although no study is likely on its own to prove causality, randomisation reduces bias and provides a rigorous tool to examine cause-effect relationships between an intervention and outcome.
Four of the RCTs were considered high quality and lasted for more than weeks; one lasted only 30 days and was considered low quality.
To gauge the impact on average blood sugar levels, the researchers paid special attention to the impact on fasting blood glucose and HbA1c in the studies.
Fasting blood glucose measures average blood sugar levels after an eight-hour fast and HbA1c measures blood sugar over two to three months.
So, what did the researchers find out?
Ginger supplementation “significantly” lowered fasting blood glucose concentrations and HbA1c levels, they wrote.
The researchers concluded: “Ginger root supplementation significantly lowers blood glucose and HbA1c levels.
“When combined with dietary and lifestyle interventions it may be an effective intervention for managing Type 2 diabetes mellitus.”
It’s worth noting that other studies did not not turn up this association so further research is required before conclusions can be drawn.
For example, researchers in an analysis of eight randomised trials published in the journal Medicine found “no significant” difference in fasting blood glucose following ginger consumption.
However, they did find dietary ginger “significantly improved” HbA1c, suggesting that this “natural medicine might have an impact on glucose control over a longer period of time” in patients with type 2 diabetes.
It’s thought that this effect is attributed to gingerols – the active compound found in ginger.
Research suggests that gingerols have antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties.
Type 2 diabetes – symptoms to spot
Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.
- 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.
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