More than one in every three adults in Britain has ‘prediabetes’, a condition where blood-sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet warranting a diagnosis of diabetes. This staggering statistic comes from a 2014 study that found the incidence of prediabetes almost trebled, from 11.6 per cent to 35.3 per cent, between 2003 and 2011.1 Today, that figure is likely to be even higher.
As its name suggests, having prediabetes means you could be on a slippery slope towards full-blown type 2 diabetes. But that doesn’t have to happen. You still have time to turn things around, and prevent diabetes ruining your health.
A healthy, low-carb diet and regular exercise are essential, but you may need a little extra help – especially if you’re over 50 and have a lot of weight to lose. Your doctor may be keen to get you started on metformin, the antidiabetic ‘drug of choice’, but taking it could increase your risks of heart failure, thyroid dysfunction and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Luckily, there is a safe and effective natural alternative.
Tri Sugar Shield, from Life Extension, is a combination of three plant-derived nutrients that work together to support healthy blood-sugar levels. Its ingredients – sorghum bran extract, white mulberry leaf extract and phloridzin from apple tree bark – are supported by a wealth of positive research findings.
Research has shown that these incredible natural nutrients help determine what happens to glucose in your body. They slow down its absorption from your gut and its reabsorption by your kidneys, while encouraging its transfer from your blood into your body cells. At the same time, they help balance the rate of glucose manufacture in your liver. The result is gentle but effective control of blood sugar, on a par with that obtained by conventional medications, but without their risks and side effects.
Sorghum bran extract helps prevent after-meal blood-sugar spikes
Sorghum is a grain with a long history of cultivation, and lately sorghum bran has been hailed as a superfood, with greater antioxidant activity than blueberries or pomegranates and powerful anti-inflammatory properties.2 The sorghum bran extract in Tri Sugar Shield could help balance your blood sugar in three separate ways.
Even if your diet is low in sugar, the starchy carbohydrates in foods like white rice, pasta and potatoes are broken down into glucose in your digestive system, pushing up your blood-sugar levels. Sorghum bran extract blocks the action of an enzyme (alpha-amylase) that digests starch, so helping prevent a steep rise in blood-sugar levels after carbohydrate-rich meals.3 At the same time, sorghum bran extract limits the rate at which your liver manufactures glucose from non-carbohydrate compounds, such as amino acids.4 This process, called gluconeogenesis, can sabotage the blood sugar lowering effect of even the strictest low-carb diet.
Sorghum bran extract also lowers blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity.5 That is to say, it makes you more sensitive to the action of the hormone insulin, which moves glucose out of the bloodstream and into body cells. While sorghum bran extract acts just like thiazolidinedione diabetes drugs, by stimulating a glucose-regulating cell receptor called PPAR-gamma, it doesn’t come with these drugs’ serious risks of bladder cancer, heart failure and heart attack.
How apple and mulberry trees could hold the key to better blood-sugar control
Mulberry leaf extract is included in Tri Sugar Shield because recent studies have revealed its effectiveness in blood-sugar management. In a recent clinical trial at the University of Mississippi, taking mulberry leaf extract at mealtimes reduced after-meal blood-sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes by 18 per cent.6 Another trial, in people with prediabetes, gave similar results and showed that mulberry leaf also reduces insulin levels.7 Too much insulin in the blood can be as damaging to health as too much glucose.
Like sorghum bran extract, mulberry leaf works in three complementary ways to control blood sugar. It reduces starch digestion and glucose absorption, by blocking the action of a second carbohydrate-digesting enzyme, called alpha-glucosidase.8 Mulberry leaf compounds also support the action of a glucose transporter molecule, GLUT-4, which carries glucose across cell membranes, from the blood into muscle, fat and liver cells.9 And, in the same way as sorghum bran, mulberry leaf extract also limits the rate of glucose production in the liver.10
The third active ingredient in Tri Sugar Shield is phloridzin, a flavonoid compound found in unripe apples and the bark of apple trees. Researchers have discovered that phloridzin reduces the reabsorption of glucose by the kidneys. It does this by binding to specialised sodium–glucose co-transporter molecules (SGLTs), making them unable to carry glucose from the urine back into the blood.11
The same SGLTs operate in the digestive system, too, moving glucose from the small intestine into the bloodstream. And, by blocking this process, phloridzin also reduces the rise in blood sugar after meals. This dual mode of action, which has been imitated by a new generation of diabetes drugs, results in significant improvements in blood-sugar control.
In one study, healthy volunteers took a single dose of a phloridzin-rich preparation of unripe apples, before undergoing a glucose tolerance test (this measured how quickly their blood-sugar level returned to normal after a glucose drink). Compared with baseline results, the phloridzin preparation halved the rise in blood sugar at 15 to 30 minutes after the start of the test and increased urinary glucose excretion five-fold after two to four hours.12 Another clinical trial, in people with prediabetes, found that taking phloridzin as part of a mixture of apple polyphenols for 12 weeks resulted in long-term lowering of after-meal blood-sugar levels.13
What to take for best results
The recommended dose of Tri Sugar Shield is one capsule twice daily, immediately before meals containing the most carbohydrates or sugar.
If you’re taking blood-sugar lowering medication, including injectable forms of insulin, it is important that you consult your doctor before taking this product.
Disclaimer: This article is part of the Agora Health's extensive research archive. The research and information contained in this article was accurate at the the time of publication but may have been updated since the date of publication. Full references and citations for this article are available in the downloadable PDF version of the monthly The Journal of Natural Health Solutions issue in which this article appears.
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