When I read things like "The moringa tree is a cure for diabetes," I cringe. It isn't. It's a very useful plant. Most of its parts are highly nutritious. But if people who are insulin-dependent stop taking insulin in the expectation some moringa extract will be their cure, they will die a horrible death. If people who have type 2 diabetes think they can stop their diets and meds and just take some moringa supplement, they will get sicker and sicker. And that's exactly what has happened in a very few cases.
First of all, let's start with all the the things moringa has going for it. It grows on land that otherwise has been ruined. The leaves alone--if you ate actual leaves--would be an adequate supply of vitamin C and the beta-carotene related vitamins (a lot of compounds are converted into vitamin A), and a really good source of potassium and calcium. In fact, they are such a good source of calcium that some people would find them constipating, ironically.
People are always talking about the "protein" in plant foods, and always forgetting that plant foods are mostly water. But as plant foods go, moringa is high in protein.
But let's take a look at what moringa can do and can't do with regard to diabetes:
- Moringa (more specifically, the phenolic compounds in moringa) has potent antioxidant action. This can slow down the destruction of beta cells that makes a person insulin-dependent. This can slow down diabetes-related atherosclerosis and eye damage. But if you aren't keeping your blood sugar levels under control, this isn't enough, and if you take the attitude "I take a moringa supplement, so I can eat all the sweets I want" it won't do you any good at all.
- If you are making an effort to control your diet, and you have type 2 diabetes, then taking moringa can help you get even better results. The volunteers in studies of moringa for type 2 diabetes were having fasting blood sugar levels around 210 mg/dl (12.2 mM, if you don't use the American scale). Taking moringa supplements as directed for 90 days brought those down to about 150 mg/dl (8.3 mM). That's a better result than most medications will give you. However, that's not a cure. You still have to watch your diet. You have to keep on taking the moringa. And even at this level, diabetes gets progressively worse--just not as quickly.
- Moringa also raises HDL ("good cholesterol") and lowers LDL ("bad cholesterol") levels, but not a lot. About 1 to 6% in studies involving people, rather than animals.
The best way to regard moringa is as one more tool in staying well if you have diabetes. If you have had diabetes a long time, you might need to be especially careful with it, because it slows down the rate at which digested food is emptied from the stomach. That's not always a good thing, particularly if you have had diabetes for 15 years or more, long enough to develop a condition called gastroparesis. And some people will be allergic to moringa. Take one capsule, and wait 24 hours to see if you have any unusual symptoms, then take as directed.
Moringa is a very useful herb. It just isn't a cure for diabetes or anything else. You still have to do a lot of your own work for staying well, with the best medical help you can get. And whatever you do, don't guess whether a product is helping you control your blood sugars. Test them. Only the blood test tells you for sure that what you are doing is working.
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