May 12, 2020 5 min read

Introduction

With a lot of diseases encompassing the world, a lot of research is being carried out to decrease the burden on the health-care system by looking for easier and cheaper methods to prevent these diseases from occurring in the first place. 

The best strategy used, in order to prevent some of the most commonly occurring diseases is turning towards nature. Nature has given us a gift to get rid ourselves of all problems that we suffer in today's time and age. With a lot of benefits seen packaged in many different fruits and herbs, there is a plant, which is commonly known as the ‘Indian gooseberry,’ that has been showing great improvements in lowering blood glucose and cholesterol levels. 

Indian gooseberry, also known as ‘Amla’ by the native Indians, has been popular for centuries due to its therapeutic effects. It belongs to the family of ‘Emblica officinalis’ and usually grows in the outskirts of Middle East as well as in some South-east Asian countries.

This fruit is usually consumed for its known benefits to help improve hair-fall, boost immunity, lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels and also act as a potent antioxidant. All of these beneficial effects are said to take effect by consuming this plant. It contains vitamin C, tannins and phenolic compounds. 

Diabetes Control by Consumption of Amla

The prevalence of diabetes is almost 8-9% in the world, which includes almost 425 million people being diagnosed with it. It is also estimated that almost 46% of people with diabetes stay undiagnosed for a considerable period of time, until they develop symptoms of organ failure. This places diabetes as one of those diseases that silently kills without the person being aware of what is happening to them. The best way to prevent it from occurring, is by taking preventive measures from the start. 

The best way is to make sure that blood glucose levels stay in range, so that no excess sugar can damage either the cells or the vessels of the body. The presence of chromium in the fruit of amla, is known to help regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates. It also helps relieve oxidative stress on the cells of the body; particularly the cells of the pancreas. Insulin secreting cells are present in the pancreas, so adequate functioning of the organ is significant in managing diabetes.

To test these theories, a research was conducted in Faisalabad (2011), where 16 diabetic patients were given doses of the emblica officinalis plant (amla) and were observed for 21 days for levels of glucose in their blood.  After the completion of 21 days, all of them showed significant changes in their blood glucose levels; confirming the plant to have anti-hyperglycemic effects on the body. This makes it one of the safe preventive supplements that can be taken, in order to prevent diabetes mellitus. This is especially significant for people who have a positive family history for the disease, and hence at a higher risk of getting it.

Another research was conducted in India in 2012. In this study, diabetes mellitus was induced on a group of rats by a drug. These rats were then injected with the extracts of emblica officinalis (amla)  in order to study its effects. The results showed and confirmed that it indeed did lower down blood glucose levels in these rats and that it also acted as a great antioxidant. 


Constituents of Amla Helps in Lowering Cholesterol Levels

Due to regular consumption of unhealthy and fatty food, there has been a significant rise in the levels of cholesterol throughout the world. It was estimated that around 95 million people aged 20 and above, had deranged levels of cholesterol just alone in the US in 2015. 

High levels of cholesterol is extremely deleterious to the body. It damages the blood vessels considerably, making it difficult for blood to pass easily through the vessels, which ultimately leads to multiple organ system failure. 

There are many types of cholesterol molecules that are carried around in blood. HDL and LDL are one of the common ones. 

High levels of HDL in blood establishes a healthy status of the body, whereas high levels of LDL in blood, is an indicator of increased risk of stroke and myocardial infarctions.  

In order to minimize the risk of MIs and strokes, it is important to have significant levels of HDL and decreased levels of LDL. Consumption of amla has been proposed for a very long time, to help establish a healthy balance between these molecules. 

In order to test this theory, a study was conducted in India in 2012, where 60 individuals with low HDL and high LDL levels were selected. Out of these 60, 40 of them received amla therapy whereas the rest got treated by the drug simvastatin (a common drug used to control levels of cholesterol). After 42 days, blood tests revealed a significant reduction in rates of LDL, and a significant rise in HDL, in both the groups. 


Another recent study, conducted in India in 2019, comprised 98 individuals. Half of these people were placed in a placebo group and the other half received amla extract for 12 weeks straight. At the end of this study, it was concluded that the levels of cholesterol decreased in the majority of these people who were given the extract as compared to the ones who didn't.


From these two studies and another conducted in Faisalabad, it was proven that the constituents that are present inside the fruit of amla, indeed contain anti-hyperlipidemic agents. These agents are not just helpful in lowering levels of bad cholesterol but also decreases blood pressure and also the risk of having cardiovascular problems in the future.


Conclusion:

The use of products, directly derived from nature has become exceedingly common, mainly due to the less number of side-effects that it contains. Amla is one of the fruits that has been part of Indian folk medicine for a long time, recommended to be used against almost every kind of illness. 

It is now that research and trials are being conducted to prove its efficacy and benefits in treating a number of diseases efficiently, that it can safely be used as a supplement to stay healthy. 

High glucose and high cholesterol levels are extremely dangerous in the long run for any individual as changes in these levels commonly proceed to rather fatal conditions. 

Thanks to all that nature has in store for us, these diseases can be limited to a considerable extent with its use. 

 

References:

Yadav V, Duvey B, Sharma S, Devi B. Amla (emblica officinalis)–medicinal food and pharmacological activity. International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences. 2014;3(3).

Yokozawa T, Kim HY, Kim HJ, Okubo T, Chu DC, Juneja LR. Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) prevents dyslipidemia and oxidative stress in the ageing process. British journal of nutrition. 2007 Jun;97(6):1187-95.

Kumar KS, Bhowmik D, Dutta A, Yadav AP, Paswan S, Srivastava S, Deb L. Recent trends in potential traditional Indian herbs Emblica officinalis and its medicinal importance. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 2012 May 1;1(1):18-28.

Akhtar MS, Ramzan A, Ali A, Ahmad M. Effect of Amla fruit (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) on blood glucose and lipid profile of normal subjects and type 2 diabetic patients. International journal of food sciences and nutrition. 2011 Sep 1;62(6):609-16.

Nain P, Saini V, Sharma S, Nain J. Antidiabetic and antioxidant potential of Emblica officinalis Gaertn. leaves extract in streptozotocin-induced type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2012 Jun 26;142(1):65-71.

Gopa B, Bhatt J, Hemavathi KG. A comparative clinical study of hypolipidemic efficacy of Amla (Emblica officinalis) with 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme-A reductase inhibitor simvastatin. Indian journal of pharmacology. 2012 Mar;44(2):238.

Upadya H, Prabhu S, Prasad A, Subramanian D, Gupta S, Goel A. A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, multicenter clinical trial to assess the efficacy and safety of Emblica officinalis extract in patients with dyslipidemia. BMC complementary and alternative medicine. 2019 Dec 1;19(1):27.


1 Response

Renee
Renee

May 30, 2020

How much Amla does one need to take to see the LDL- lowering benefits?

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