Mulberry Leaf Helps Weight Loss and Reduces Blood Sugar Problems
Research from Italy’s F. De Ritis Institute and the Catholic University of Sacred Heart has determined that a traditional herb used for thousands of years can significantly help stimulate weight loss among obese or overweight people.
The researchers tested 46 overweight people for 90 days. They divided the subjects into two groups. Both groups were given an identical “balanced” diet plan that consisted of 1300 calories per day.
In addition to the diet, one group was given 2.4 grams of white Japanese mulberry extract per day, while the other group was given a placebo. Both groups were followed and tested every 30 days for weight, along with waist and thigh circumference measurements.
The researchers found that the group given the mulberry extract lost an average of nine kilograms (almost 20 pounds) in the three month period. Meanwhile, the placebo group lost about a third of that weight – about 3.2 kilograms – during the period.
The average weight loss among the mulberry group equated to about 10% of their total body weight over the three months.
The researchers also found the mulberry group had significantly reduced waist and thigh circumference among the mulberry group.
The extract was a meristematic extract. This means that the apical meristem was used – which is located in the buds, shoots and young leaves of the plant.
How does Mulberry Leaf Work?
Other research has found that mulberry leaf inhibits amylase and alpha-glucosidase enzymes, which break down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. Thus it basically reduces the assimilation of glucose sugars by preventing the break down of polysaccharides into simple sugars. This in turn reduces blood glucose levels.
This effect was confirmed by the researchers, as they found the mulberry group’s blood glucose and insulin consumption curves were significantly lower at the end of the study compared to the beginning of the study. The researchers stated:
“Long‐term ingestion of mulberry leaf extract with enriched DNJ content could result in improved postprandial glycemic control in individuals with impaired glucose metabolism.”
Mulberry Reduces Blood Sugar Problems
This ability of mulberry to reduce carbohydrate breakdown was determined in a 2011 double-blind placebo-controlled study from Japan’s Nippon Medical School. The researchers tested mulberry leaf extract with 76 pre-diabetes patients with blood sugar control problems.
The researchers tested adult volunteers by giving them either a placebo or mulberry leaf extract for 12 weeks. The research found the mulberry leaf extract significantly improved postprandial (post-meal) glycemic control among the patients.
Mulberry Leaf Reduces Triglycerides and LDL-c
As a result of these mechanisms, mulberry leaf has also been found to restore healthy cholesterol levels. In a study from Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University, 23 patients with high triglyceride and LDL-c levels were given 280 milligrams of mulberry leaf tablets three times a day for three months. The researchers found that triglycerides were reduced by 14% and LDL-cholesterol levels were reduced by 5.6% among the patients. In addition, HDL-c (“good cholesterol”) levels went up by nearly 20% following the mulberry supplementation.
Another study found that three months of 280 milligrams per day of mulberry leaf supplementation significantly reduced triglycerides and LDL-c levels. C-reactive protein levels were also reduced in more than half the patients.
We reported on this effect with mulberry here.
A Silky Tradition
Asian silkworm producers have fed their silkworms with mulberry leaf for thousands of years. But this hasn’t been the only use for the mulberry tree (Morus alba). Traditional Chinese medicine has utilized mulberry leaf to reduce respiratory issues, inflammation, blood sugar issues, and constipation for centuries.
Mulberry leaf extract comes with a long history of success in traditional medicines. However, it should be used with the supervision of a health professional for those with existing medical conditions or those on other medications.
While all of the studies noted above noted the safety of the mulberry supplementation, one of the studies documented noted some “mild” effects including slight diarrhea, dizziness, or constipation and bloating in some of the volunteers.
Mulberry leaf extract
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Aramwit P, Petcharat K, Supasyndh O. Efficacy of mulberry leaf tablets in patients with mild dyslipidemia. Phytother Res. 2011 Mar;25(3):365-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3270.
Andallu B, Suryakantham V, Lakshmi Srikanthi B, Reddy GK. Effect of mulberry (Morus indica L.) therapy on plasma and erythrocyte membrane lipids in patients with type 2 diabetes. Clin Chim Acta. 2001 Dec;314(1-2):47-53.
Asai A, Nakagawa K, Higuchi O, Kimura T, Kojima Y, Kariya J, Miyazawa T, Oikawa S. Effect of mulberry leaf extract with enriched 1-deoxynojirimycin content on postprandial glycemic control in subjects with impaired glucose metabolism. J Diabetes Investig. 2011 Aug 2;2(4):318-23. doi: 10.1111/j.2040-1124.2011.00101.x.
Aramwit P, Supasyndh O, Siritienthong T, Bang N. Mulberry leaf reduces oxidation and C-reactive protein level in patients with mild dyslipidemia. Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:787981. doi: 10.1155/2013/787981.