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A meta-analysis of long-term ginseng studies suggests that this herb really can lower blood sugar.
Even though published trials on ginseng and blood sugar have proved inconsistent at times, a team of researchers in Canada says such investigations should continue. Their position is based on a recent meta-analysis, published in PLOS ONE, in which data suggested that ginseng lowers blood sugar.
Relying only on studies of 30 days or longer, researchers found 16 studies (770 subjects) that measured blood glucose in relation to ginseng supplementation. Upon gathering the data, they realized that ginseng supplementation, on average, significantly improved blood sugar in subjects by an average 0.31 mmol/L. The results were most pronounced in diabetes patients.
Although previous trials have shown ginseng supplementation to be safe in humans, the researchers say they were not able to assess the ginseng safety in this meta-analysis because only 4 of the 16 trials reported safety parameters.
Future ginseng studies should focus not just on larger populations, but also on the various ginseng components believed to help this herb lower blood sugar. While such activity is often attributed to ginsenosides, further work should examine other ginseng compounds.
This ginseng meta-analysis included studies on a variety of ginseng species including unidentified ones.
Nutritional Outlook magazine
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