Amla and Diabetes
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Diabetes and Amla
I really wish I knew the connection between Amla (and its benefits) and Diabetes a little over 10 years ago.
Why do I wish that?
Well, 10 years ago, my father-in-law was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.
And his doctor, who gave him some really poor nutritional advice, only made his blood sugar worse.
It got to a point where he was on two to three pills in the morning, and one at night—just to keep his blood sugar normal.
But then he went overboard. He started to exercise every day, and he started eating nothing but salads.
Plenty of vegetables…a little protein…and the fact he was exercising with me at least three days a week, led to some pretty impressive changes, but it didn’t last.
Over the course of 6 months, he lost a grand total of 60 pounds. He was feeling good…they dropped some medications…and his blood sugar was pretty well under control.
At one point, they were going to take him off all his meds because he was doing such a great job controlling his blood sugar.
Once they started taking him off his medication, things started to change. He stopped eating his salads…told me that he couldn’t work out—that his job was enough exercise.
This led to poor eating habits—the ones that got him in trouble—to creep back into his life.
He gained weight—more than the 60 pounds he lost…
And his blood sugars went from being under control, to out-of-control once again.
The Rise of Diabetes In Today’s Society
As you know, there are more cases of Diabetes being diagnosed every day.
In fact, recent statistics show that 30.3 million people, in the US alone, are living with diabetes. And, there are over 100 million people worldwide living with diabetes or prediabetes.
Although diabetes can’t be cured, you can find ways to manage your diabetes to live a long, healthy life.
Diabetes, is a blood sugar disease, to put is simply. When your blood sugar is constantly high, your body may have a hard time keeping it at lower levels.
Why does this happen?
Firstly, your body is not producing enough insulin to control the spike in blood sugar. When this happens, your levels stay elevated, which could lead to many different health risks.
The second reason why this happens is that your body is resistant to insulin.
Insulin, which is a hormone produced and secreted by your pancreas, turns on key receptors sites that “open’ the gates, and allow for excess blood sugar to be used by the cell, or stored for later use.
But sometimes, your cells don’t get the signal from insulin, so the cells don’t open for the sugar. Your body, which is very smart, then produces and secretes MORE insulin, to force your cells open.
Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn’t. This results in high blood sugar levels, more sugar being stored in organs where it shouldn’t be (liver, kidneys, etc.), and spikes in inflammation and cellular damage.
That’s why controlling your blood sugar is vitally important for your health! People with diabetes have a higher risk for heart disease, cancer, inflammation, blindness, neuropathy, and loss of brain function.
Once your body can recognize and use insulin again, your blood sugar levels may stabilize, which could lead to better overall health.
So what can you do to maintain healthy blood sugar?
Eating higher fiber foods, skipping processed foods, and eliminating sugar is a good start.
The Connection to Diabetes
Amla, which is a little-known superfood popular in India, the Middle East, and other Asian countries, is a mecca of health, vitality, and nutrition.
It’s packed full of antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids, essential amino acids, and other potent compounds that may respond positively once inside your body.
It also has medicinal uses, has been a staple in Ayurvedic medicine for over 5,000 years. It’s been used to treat heart disease, cancer, inflammatory conditions, brain health….and diabetes.
The truth is:
There may be nothing Amla may not be able to improve!
There are a number of different ways that Amla may improve diabetes. Some of the big ones have to do with its ability to improve pancreatic health.
The pancreas, which is a rather large organ in your body, contains the cells that produce and secrete insulin.
So if there is an injury, or inflammation in the pancreas, the ability to produce insulin may decrease.
One major condition, pancreatitis, occurs when your pancreas becomes inflamed. This inflammation may lead to damage to the cells that produce insulin, therefore stunting the ability to release insulin.
And this could lead to increased blood sugar levels.
Amla, which is packed full of antioxidants, may lower inflammation levels and protect your pancreas from developing pancreatitis.
This could lead to better blood sugar control and improvements in diabetes symptoms.
The superfood also contains the mineral chromium, which may control carbohydrate metabolism. Carbohydrates are a source of sugar, which is why diabetics are advised to keep their carbohydrate intake on the lower side.
Simply put, the chromium found in it may help metabolize carbohydrates, which could lead to better blood sugar management.
Chromium may also increase your sensitivity to insulin, therefore enabling your cells to respond to insulin, and take in more blood sugar.
One other benefit of Amla is the vitamin C content found in this tiny fruit. Studies suggest a significant relationship between vitamin C and diabetes. The lower your levels, the more at risk you may be, and vice versa.
And since Amla contains a boatload of vitamin C, it may positively impact your risk for diabetes.
The Take Home Message on Amla
Diabetes is one of the most common lifestyle conditions that could impact a person’s life. There are over 100 million people living with diabetes or prediabetes, making it one of the most prevalent diseases around.
In order to improve your life while living with diabetes, the first goal is to keep your blood sugar under control.
You can improve your diabetic state with diet, exercise, and with the help of Amla.
The connection between Amla berry and diabetes is pretty impressive. Studies show that the compounds found in Amla may control blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity while lowering inflammation that could impact the pancreas and the ability to release insulin.
If you’re suffering from diabetes, and are looking for more natural ways to control your blood sugar levels, then the relationship between Amla (and Amla Green Tea) and diabetes may be something you want to explore further.
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, is a cofounder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. Using an evidence-based approach to nutrition and fitness, he first reduced his own insulin usage by more than 40%, and has educated thousands of people with all forms of diabetes how to reverse insulin resistance using food as medicine. Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) Conference, Plant Stock, and has been featured on Forks Over Knives, NPR, PBS, KQED, Fast Company, and is the author of the upcoming book Mastering Diabetes.
- Kevin DiDonato