Fact-checked by Dr. Anthony Gustin, DC, MS.
Written by Corey Nelson
If you struggle with sugar cravings, you might be interested in Gymnema sylvestre. This herbal supplement goes by the name “gurmar” in Hindi, which translates to “destroyer of sugar.”
Gymnema’s name is well-deserved; it blocks your taste buds from accessing sweet flavors and prevents absorption of sugar, which gives Gymnema a laundry list of health benefits. Gymnema sylvestre leaves can lower blood sugar levels, eliminate sugar cravings, speed up weight loss, and lower insulin levels.
Gymnema grows in Australia, Africa, Sri Lanka, and India. Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of medical knowledge dating back 5000 years, uses Gymnema sylvestre to treat snake bites and for its antimicrobial activity.
What is Gymnema Sylvestre?
Gymnema sylvestre is a hardy climbing shrub native to India, Australia, and Africa. It grows wild and is also cultivated by farmers who sell the leaves for their valuable medicinal uses.
Unlike pharmaceutical drugs that only contain one active molecule, Gymnema has a variety of bioactive compounds that can enhance your performance[*].
Gymnema leaves contain saponins, gymnemic acids, and other precious chemicals that have several benefits including[*]:
- Increasing insulin secretion in response to food
- Promoting regeneration of damaged cells
- Improving glucose metabolism by non-insulin-dependent means
- Blocking absorption of sugar in the small intestine
One of the coolest compounds in Gymnema is gurmarin, a peptide (mini-protein) that prevents your tongue’s taste buds from detecting sweet foods[*].
Chemically, gurmarin has a similar structure to sugar. It occupies your tongue’s taste bud receptors and prevents them from distinguishing between sweet and bitter flavors.
Gymnemic acids act similarly on your intestinal lining to prevent you from absorbing sugars during digestion.
12 Health Benefits of Gymnema Sylvestre
#1: Stops Sugar Cravings
Gymnema’s number one superpower is its ability to temporarily reduces the perception of sweet flavors and reduce cravings for sugar and sweets.[*][*] Gymnema doesn’t affect other flavors, only sweet ones.
This is great news if you’re getting into ketosis or you’re in ketosis, but still experiencing the occasional sweet tooth. Gymnema sylvestre is an excellent choice to help you avoid sugar and sweet treats by making them less appealing.
#2: Helps You Lose Weight
If your goal is to lose fat, Gymnema or its extracts can make weight loss easier. Gymnema has an anti-obesity effect in humans and rats, prevents weight gain, and improves health markers associated with being overweight.[*][*]
People who are overweight eat less when they take Gymnema sylvestre before meals.[*]
Gymnema reduces body weight without stimulating the central nervous system, meaning it doesn’t increase stress, alter cortisol levels, or disrupt sleep.
After three weeks, Gymnema decreased the body weight of obese rats to normal levels.[*]
Gymnema pairs well with a ketogenic diet for fat loss. It makes the transition to low carb intake easier and reduces the adverse effects of eating too many carbs, and particularly too much sugar.
#3: Helps Control Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels
Insulin-dependent diabetes patients taking Gymnema were able to reduce their insulin dosage by 50% and also had lower blood sugar levels[*].
In another study, type 2 diabetic patients given Gymnema extract were able to reduce their diabetes drug dosages, and some patients successfully stopped using diabetes drugs altogether[*].
Of course, if you have diabetes, you should talk to your doctor before replacing or changing any medication.
#4: Increases Your Antioxidant Levels and Reduces Oxidative Stress
Gymnema is packed with antioxidants, too. Reactive oxygen species (ROS), also called free radicals, cause oxidative stress in the human body.
Overweight people have lower levels of antioxidants and higher levels of oxidative stress, which has been linked to a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver diseases, and cancer[*].
A study using obese rats showed that Gymnema boosted rats’ natural antioxidant systems, decreasing the strain on their body from being overweight[*].
#5: Has Antimicrobial Properties
Other Benefits of Gymnema Sylvestre
- Regenerates pancreatic beta cells[*]
- Provides neuroprotection against diabetic neuropathy[*]
- Improves kidney health, reduces urea and uric acid[*]
- Inhibits tumor growth[*]
Gymnema Sylvestre Dosage
How much Gymnema sylvestre you should take depends on the method of administration you choose. Each way of taking Gymnema offers different benefits.
Gymnema Sylvestre in Capsules
The advantage of Gymnema sylvestre capsules is that you can take the Gymnema leaf or extract in multiple daily doses. Take pills 10 minutes before a meal, with a full glass of water.
Here’s a guideline to Gymnema capsule dosage:
- 300 milligrams of Gymnema leaf twice per day (600 milligrams daily) in metabolic syndrome patients, or for fat loss[*]
- 500 milligrams of Gymnema leaf twice per day (1000 milligrams daily) in diabetic patients[*][*][*]
Gymnema Sylvestre in Tea
The traditional method of taking Gymnema sylvestre involves chewing the leaves or making them into a tea. If you want to block the taste of sugar, Gymnema tea works best, because the gurmarin peptide comes into contact with your tongue and binds to your sweetness receptors.
To make Gymnema sylvestre tea, you will need bagged or loose Gymnema leaves.
- Add 1/4 cup leaves of Gymnema to a quart of boiling water
- Steep 10 minutes
- Effects last 30-60 minutes after drinking[*]
- Drink 30 minutes or so before your meal or whenever you have a sweet tooth
If you take other Gymnema supplements, don’t drink Gymnema tea, because you may accidentally take too much.
Perfect Keto Blood Sugar Support Capsules
Along with Gymnema sylvestre, other natural supplements can improve insulin response, reduce blood sugar, and help your body handle carbs better. Some people combine Gymnema with St. John’s Wort or other herbs to get more benefits.
Perfect Keto offers Blood Sugar Support capsules designed to reduce cravings, lower food intake, increase weight loss, and make the transition to a keto diet easier.
Four capsules of Perfect Keto Blood Sugar Support formula contain 1000 milligrams of Gymnema sylvestre along with biotin, chromium picolinate, bitter melon extract, cinnamon, berberine, banana leaf extract.
Safety and Side Effects of Gymnema Sylvestre
That said, there are a couple of minor side effects to taking too much Gymnema. If you have never taken Gymnema before, start with a lower dose and work your way up gradually.
Excessive doses of Gymnema can lead to side effects including hypoglycemia, weakness, shakiness, and excessive sweating[*].
Some users report upset stomach or diarrhea when they first start Gymnema sylvestre. If you experience these issues, consider lowering your dose or stopping altogether if they don’t go away.
If you have diabetes or you’re on any medication, ask your doctor for medical advice before you take Gymnema sylvestre.
Studies show Gymnema may improve health markers in diabetic patients, but it can also cause hypoglycemia if taken along with insulin, metformin, or other diabetic drugs.
If you have diabetes and take Gymnema, continue taking any prescribed medications, but monitor your blood sugar carefully to avoid hypoglycemia.
Rarely, hepatotoxicity (liver toxicity) occurs in people with diabetes who take Gymnema sylvestre[*].
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, don’t take Gymnema sylvestre. There isn’t enough data on the effects of Gymnema in pregnancy or breastfeeding, so avoid use to be safe.
If you plan to have surgery, stop taking Gymnema two weeks or more before your scheduled surgery. The effects of Gymnema on blood sugar levels could interfere with anesthesia and surgical procedures.
Gymnema may inhibit the action of the Cytochrome P450 enzyme in the liver, which can increase the effects of some drugs. If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, talk to your doctor before trying it[*].
The Bottom Line: Should You Try Gymnema Sylvestre?
If you follow a low-carb or keto lifestyle, you already know the importance of maintaining healthy levels of blood sugar and insulin.
Keeping your blood sugar low gives you steady energy throughout the day and promotes mental clarity and sharpness. High carb intake can cause immediate brain fog and make you crash, and over time can cause serious health issues.
If you’re struggling with sugar cravings, having a hard time limiting food intake, want to lose more weight, or need to manage your blood sugar levels, consider taking Gymnema sylvestre.
Most users experience zero side effects, and there’s good evidence that Gymnema can dramatically improve health in people with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, or diabetes.
Gymnema goes well with other supplements that help control blood sugar or improve fat loss results.
Do you need it? Maybe not. But supplementation can be a healthy part addition to your ketogenic experience.
Perfect Keto Blood Sugar Capsules contain seven natural vitamins, minerals, herbs (including Gymnema), and herbal extracts formulated to support your body in healthy carbohydrate metabolism and better blood sugar levels.