Natural Weight Loss: Banaba Leaf Controls Insulin Resistance
While Banaba leaf may sound like some exotic houseplant found deep in the jungle, scientists have found that it might be the secret ingredient that could help millions lose weight naturally. Banaba leaf was first discovered (and still is used today) in the Philippines as a folk medicine to help control blood sugar. One of the active ingredients in Banaba leaf is corosolic acid, which Japanese researchers have found helps control blood sugar spikes often associated with type II diabetics.
But one of the nice side effects of the substance seems to include a small amount of weight loss. In fact, Banaba leaf tea has become popular in Japan, despite the fact that more research is needed to determine exactly how it works. In the United States, several weight-loss supplements currently use Banaba leaf as a natural, harmless compound that may help reduce excess weight.
As more and more scientists study Banaba leaf and its possible healthful benefits, researchers have discovered that corosolic acid may not be the only active element in Banaba leaf (which is also known as Lagerstroemia speciosa) that offers healthful benefits. A 2001 report published by the Planta Medica journal evaluated a whole-leaf extract of Banaba leaf with insulin within cell cultures. The scientists reported that the entire Banaba leaf had an effect that essentially lowered glucose levels. Another set of researchers discovered that Banaba leaf extract is full of at least three other active substances that have a positive effect on blood sugar levels.
Because of the manner in which Banaba leaf enhances the body's ability to process glucose (known as glucose transport activator), many supplement companies also use it successfully to enhance their existing weight-loss products. The supplement watchdog site Supplementwatch.com says that one of the interesting side-effects of any drug that offers more stringent control of blood sugar and insulin levels, including Banaba leaf, is weight loss. The site also says that it's possible that by moderating the body's glucose and insulin levels, Banaba leaf can lower a person's total consumption of calories to some extent and support some modest loss of weight.
Heath care professionals recommend that for those individuals who want to use the Banaba leaf to help control their blood sugar levels - and perhaps even experience a small amount of weight loss - to use softgel pills with Banaba leaf extract standardized to contain 1 percent corosolic acid. But talk with your doctor to find out what's best for your unique case. Given the research available today, people interested in Banaba leaf and its medicinal properties would be wise to keep a few things in mind: it isn't easy to figure the exact blood sugar response you might have to a Banaba leaf supplement, since it is not yet known if higher or lower dosage levels works best, or how frequently you should take a Banaba leaf supplement. If you are a type II diabetic, talk about Banaba leaf supplements with your doctor to find out if perhaps it might be appropriate for your specific condition.
References: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11859474&dopt=AbstractPlus http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10737232&dopt=AbstractPlus