Banaba (Corosolic Acid) For Craving Suppression And Blood Sugar
Banaba is the common name for Lagerstroemia speciosa, a tree native to Southeast Asia.
Traditionally, Banaba leaves—which are high in corosolic acid—were used as a natural cure for diabetes in the Philippines.
Medical Warning: Diabetics and anyone on any sort of blood-sugar modifying medication should not experiment with banaba before consulting with a medical professional as it may have “additive” effects.
Banaba’s Effects on Blood Sugar Management
To date, several credible studies validate Banaba’s ability to lower blood glucose levels, therefore providing some benefit to those with non-insulin dependent diabetes, as well as overweight or obese individuals (Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2006 Aug;73(2):174-7. Epub 2006 Mar 23, J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Jul;87(1):115-7, J Nutr. 2001 Sep;131(9):2242-7).
Evidence suggests Banaba “works” by stimulating glucose uptake in muscle cells.
There’s also some early preliminary evidence to suggest another chemical component of Banaba (called valoneaic acid dilactone) may be a potent alpha-amylase inhibitor (Yakugaku Zasshi. 2003 Jul;123(7):599-605.)
Amylase is the enzyme required for the proper break-down of carbohydrates into glucose. If Banaba were indeed an effective amylase inhibitor, it would also give it “carb blocking” properties as well.
Another study (J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 1999;45;791-5) shows that banaba suppresses weight gain in genetically diabetic obese mice. However, there is no data validating this effect in non-diabetic animals or humans.
However, the bulk of the clinical evidence suggests Banaba’s biggest role is in the regulation of blood sugar levels, and this is important as such vacillations in both blood sugar and insulin levels are what causes intense cravings for sweets and simple carbohydrates in some individuals.
Banaba (standardized for corosolic acid) is commonly found in weight loss supplements.
Because very little corosolic acid is necessary to elicit the desired effect, Banaba is usually included in products as one part of a more comprehensive formula.
If you’re interested in experimenting with a banaba-based supplement for blood sugar moderation, try Jarrow’s Glucose Optimizer from iHerb.com.