The Importance of Blood Sugar Management
We may not always associate blood sugar levels with brain or cardiovascular health, but research has shown that there is a strong link between the two. If we would like to foster optimal brain and heart function, it’s important to keep our blood sugar levels in check.
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, above-normal blood sugar levels are associated with an increased risk of developing dementia—even in those without diabetes. While researchers have long recognized the link between diabetes and dementia, this study “establishes for the first time, convincingly, that there is a link between dementia and elevated blood sugars in the non-diabetic range,” says lead researcher Dr. David Nathan, a Harvard Medical School professor and the director of the Diabetes Center and Clinical Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The study gathered data on more than 2,000 older adults with an average age of 76. What the team found is that the majority of participants did not have diabetes. However, any increase in blood sugar level was associated with a heightened risk of dementia—”the higher the blood sugar, the higher the risk,” notes Heidi Godman in the Harvard Health Letter, Above-normal blood sugar linked to dementia.
For the 28 million US adults who have the most common form of diabetes—type 2—heart disease is another concern. A paper published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology reviewed 44 studies between 2016 and 2017 on type 2 diabetes and blood sugar control. The authors found that blood sugar control is an important aspect in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. The team concluded that maintaining normal blood sugar levels lowers the risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular-related death.
Needless to say, blood sugar control is crucial to minimize the risk of dementia and cardiovascular disease, regardless of if you are diabetic or not. Thankfully, natural remedies are available that gently assist in maintaining normal blood sugar levels for heart and brain health. I’ve included four of my top choices below.
Herbal Remedies for Blood Sugar Control to Support Brain and Heart Health
Cordyceps — In an animal study published in the Journal of Diabetes Research, Cordyceps militaris was shown to lower blood glucose levels by increasing insulin sensitivity and “possesses strong hypoglycemic, anticholesterolemic, and anti-hypertriglyceridemic actions.”
Additionally, this study found Cordyceps improves insulin sensitivity while also lowering bad LDL cholesterol, which helps to prevent plaque build up in the arteries, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Lemon Balm — Not only does Melissa officinalis help you to cope with stress, maintain a healthy weight, and improve brain function, it also exerts anti-diabetic effects by reducing blood sugar levels and oxidative stress. Researchers at the Free University of Berlin found that after six weeks, lemon balm dramatically improved glucose and lipid metabolism in insulin-resistant and dyslipidemic mice.
Reishi — A powerful adaptogenic herb, reishi mushroom has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and anti-diabetic properties. Studies have shown that it also strengthens heart health by regulating hormone levels and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
Turkey Tail — Trametes versicolor/Coriolus versicolor mushroom is effective in reducing blood glucose and may be helpful in managing blood sugar levels in those with diabetes. It also lowers LDL cholesterol and blood pressure in patients with hypertension, which reduces the risk of heart disease. It is important to take turkey tail daily to experience these benefits.
Easy-To-Use Herbal Support
To encourage cardiovascular and brain health, I’ve put together a convenient herbal remedy bundle that helps to regulate blood sugar levels, improve brain function, and support heart health. The bundle includes all the botanicals listed above in powerful tincture formulations that utilize the spagyric method as well as double-extraction for the mushroom remedies. Visit the Apothecary today to learn more!