Glucose disposal agents (GDAs) are a class of dietary supplements designed to improve the body’s ability to efficiently remove glucose from the bloodstream and preferentially direct it towards storage in muscle tissue (as glycogen).
One of the most popular ingredients utilized in GDAs and other nutrient partitioners is gymnema sylvestre, an Ayurvedic plant used to treat a wide range of diseases from malaria to diabetes.
What it does
Gymnema is best known (and most commonly used) for its ability to help lower serum glucose levels and HbA1c. In addition to improving glucose handling, supplementation with gymnema also has been noted to improve leptin levels, body weight and body mass index (BMI).
Outside of its diabetes-combatting properties, gymnema also possesses antimicrobial, antihypercholesterolemic, and hepatoprotective actions.
How it works
Gymnemic acid (the potent compounds within gymnema sylvestre) helps regulate blood sugar by stimulating beta-cells in the pancreas to release insulin. It’s also noted to reduce fat and glucose absorption from the gut as well as block the taste of sugar, which helps limit sweet cravings, providing another means by which it enhances weight loss.
Typical doses for gymnema used in human clinical trials vary between 200-400mg/day taken 30-60 minutes before a meal containing carbohydrates. Also, make sure to look for the gymnemic acid standardization of gymnema extracts, as they can vary in potency from 25-75% gymnemic acids.
- Ulbricht, Catherine, et al. “An Evidence-Based Systematic Review of Gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre R. Br.) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration.” Journal of Dietary Supplements, vol. 8, no. 3, 2011, pp. 311-330.
- Baskaran, K., et al. “Antidiabetic effect of a leaf extract from Gymnema sylvestre in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 30, no. 3, 1990, pp. 295-305.
- Zuñiga, Laura Y., et al. “Effect of Gymnema sylvestre Administration on Metabolic Syndrome, Insulin Sensitivity, and Insulin Secretion.” Journal of Medicinal Food, vol. 20, no. 8, 2017, pp. 750-754.
- Kanetkar P, Singhal R, Kamat M. Gymnema sylvestre: A Memoir. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2007;41(2):77-81.