September 29, 2016
Kicking the Sugar Habit with Plants

Have you or your patients ever tried to give up sugar? If so, you know the struggle is real. Just pick up any packaged food and it is bound to contain some form of sugar. As busy lifestyles make it difficult to find time for cooking, convenience foods and beverages have become the way to satisfy hunger. There are many drawbacks to eating convenience foods, but a major one is the high sugar content. We have become a culture that relies on sugary fixes to get through the day.

Diabetes and obesity are at an all-time high. Over 29 million American adults have diabetes, and we are now commonly seeing metabolic changes and diagnosing diabetes in our children. While some of the blame for this sugary epidemic can be placed on clever marketing and deceptive food labels, individuals are ultimately in control of their daily intake. A recent study suggests Americans have a serious problem with sugar, raking number one in overall daily sugar consumption at 126 grams!

What is the cost of this increased sugar? When consuming a high carbohydrate or sugary meal, insulin is secreted in response. The more sugar ingested, the more insulin our bodies must produce. This, in turn, causes a vicious cycle eventually leading to insulin resistance.

Chronically elevated insulin levels in women can raise female androgens (testosterone and DHEA), a picture commonly noted in salivary hormone panels. Insulin resistance can also trigger metabolic changes in males, manifesting as low testosterone and elevated estradiol. One of the biggest problems facing individuals trying to kick the sugar habit is the cravings. In fact, many people report feeling a compulsion in the same way addicts feel drawn to drugs or alcohol. Studies have shown that sugar actually binds opioid receptors and can cause changes in dopamine levels. Certainly sugar is anything but sweet.

A powerful plant, Gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre), may just be the one, two punch needed to fight these cravings. While many are aware of chromium and bitter melon for their ability to assist with blood sugar regulation, Gymnema is an herb that goes above even these two heavy hitters. While Gymnemic acids have been show to stimulate insulin secretion from the pancreas and regenerate pancreatic islet cells, what sets this incredible herb apart from the rest of the pack is the way gymnemic acids act on the tongue. Research has demonstrated gymnemic acids to have an affinity for taste buds similar to sugar molecules. When gymnemic acids fill these receptors in the taste buds, sugar is prevented from binding at these sites. Additionally, gurmarin, another compound found in gymnema also acts on the tongue by interfering with the ability of taste buds to differentiate between sweet and bitter. That’s right, Gymnema helps with both sugar cravings and sugar metabolism.

If you have patients struggling with sugar cravings, consider the Neurohormone Complete Panel. Assessing neurotransmitter and hormone levels (particularly androgens) can identify imbalances that may be influenced by sugar consumption. Additionally, correcting these imbalances may help to slow sugar cravings.

References:
  • Avena, N. M., Rada, P., & Hoebel, B. G. (2008). Evidence for sugar addiction: Behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 32(1), 20-39. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2007.04.019
  • Sugar 101. Retrieved September 16, 2016, from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Sugar-101_UCM_306024_Article.jsp#.V-AZofkrKUk
  • Tiwari, P., Mishra, B. N., & Sangwan, N. S. (2014). Phytochemical and Pharmacological Properties ofGymnema sylvestre: An Important Medicinal Plant. BioMed Research International, 2014, 1-18. doi:10.1155/2014/83028
  • Where people around the world eat the most sugar and fat. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/02/05/where-people-around-the-world-eat-the-most-sugar-and-fat/


Labrix Core Training

Join the hundreds of practitioners who have attended Labrix live training events and learn more about these exciting opportunities directly from a Labrix attendee and Dr. Jay Mead, Medical Director and co-founder of Labrix.



Labrix
Core Training:
Chicago
Chicago, IL
October 8, 2016

Labrix staff physicians will be in Chicago on October 8th to present Core Training. Registration is $150 and upon completing this one day training, you will receive a $100 credit on your testing account. Register for Chicago Core Training today.


Labrix Advanced
Workshop
Las Vegas, NV
February 10-12, 2017

Labrix will be conducting the annual Advanced Workshop in Las Vegas in February. Due to increased demand, this event will now span three days of comprehensive presentations and discussions. Registration is $199 but if you sign up using promo code MARKETING before October 31, you will receive a $50 testing credit on your Labrix account (after completion of workshop.) Register today!

IMMH
Washington DC
September 29-
October 2, 2016

Come visit the Labrix booth at the Integrative Medicine for Mental Health conference in Washington DC, this fall.