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Garlic and Type 2 Diabetes: Control High Blood Sugar Naturally

Sunday July 29, 2018

The rising global epidemic of type 2 diabetes (T2D) affects over 3.3 million individuals in the UK, with numbers suspected to double in just 10 years (1). Characterised by chronic high blood sugar due to insulin resistance, T2D leads to dangerous complications if left untreated. In many cases, controlling blood sugar can be achieved by practising healthy lifestyle and dietary habits.  

Recently re-evaluated for its efficacy in regulating blood sugars, garlic may have beneficial compounds that can assist in diabetes management, according to a large body of evidence (2).  

Investigations conducted by Wang et. al at Sun Yat-Sen University in China evaluated the effectiveness of incorporating this simple everyday ingredient into your regimen to target T2D (2). A total of nine trials involving 768 patients with T2D were assessed in this meta-analysis. Patients were given a supplemental dose of 0.05-1.5g of a daily garlic supplement, for a period of one to 24 weeks.  

Compared to placebo, volunteers that took the garlic supplement experienced significantly reduced fasting blood glucose levels, even after just one week of supplementation. Furthermore, HbA1c (circulating glucose in red blood cells) was notably decreased after 12 weeks and 24 weeks of supplementation. Additionally, garlic positively improved blood lipid levels, which may lower the risk of cardiovascular complications in diabetic patients.  



It is suggested that an active compound in garlic, allicin, may increase insulin secretion from the pancreatic cells. As insulin levels increase, this allows for more glucose to enter the cells from the blood. Although the study encourages the use of garlic for blood sugar regulation, there are some limitations to take into account. The trials used variable doses of garlic, and likely used different concentrations/extracts.  

Wang et. al suggested that in order to define a therapeutic dose of garlic, future research will need to focus on repeating the trials with the same dose and concentration. Furthermore, the researchers proposed for longer trials to establish if results remain persistent on blood glucose levels.  

Nonetheless, the researchers at Sun Yat-Sen University conclude that garlic is an exceptional powerhouse of beneficial compounds that may target chronic diseases, as advocated by extensive research. Although longer trials are required, garlic can safely be added into a supplement regimen to support the treatment of T2D and hyperlipidaemia (high cholesterol).    


Author: Salma Dawood is a Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Human Nutrition.


Diabetes UK, Facts and Figures (2017) Available at:

Wang, J., Zhang, X., Lan, H., & Wang, W. (2017). Effect of garlic supplement in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM): a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Food & Nutrition Research, 61(1), 1377571.


The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.


TAGS: Nutrition News and ViewsDiabetes


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