Because of the increasing prevalence of obesity and diabetes, many are looking to more natural ways to control blood sugar and help reduce weight. And this search includes Moringa Oleifera, used for thousands of years for just these purposes.
Moringa oleifera is a fast-growing, small, drought-resistant tree. It’s native to the sub-Himalayan areas around north-west India and has spread to tropical and sub-tropical areas of Africa, Arabia, South East Asia as well as the Pacific and Caribbean islands and on into South America.
Ancient cultures have found that over 20,000 plants have shown to have medicinal effects. And people have found that practically the entire Moringa oleifera tree is useful for medicinal purposes. This includes its fruit, seeds, flowers, leaves, bark and roots. Modern research has identified many essential nutrients including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents as well as omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
Discovery Channel Documentary of Moringa Oleifera The Miracle Tree
What Scientific Studies of Moringa Oleifera Have Shown
Of course, like most scientific studies, animals are used first before human subjects. Animals like mice, rats or rabbits. Here are the results of two such animal studies.
In the first animal study 15 rats were divided into three groups of five each. Each group of rats was fed ad libitum (as much as they wanted). The first group was fed a standard diet. The second and third groups were fed a high fat diet. The third group, however, also received a daily dose of Moringa oleifera leaf extract in an oral solution providing 1 mg per g of body weight.
As expected, the rats fed a high fat diet increased cholesterol levels in the serum (blood), liver and kidney. The third group of rats on the high fat diet plus Moringa oleifera showed reduced cholesterol levels by 14.35% in serum and 6.40% in liver and 11.09% in kidney. It’s clear that Moringa oleifera can definitely lower cholesterole levels.
The second animal study involved young wistar albino rats. They were divided into 5 groups and treated as follows:
- Group 1 was a normal control where the animals were feed on a normal pellet diet and had free access to water.
- Group 2 was a negative control in which the rats were feed on high-fat diet for a period of 7 weeks.
- Group 3 was standard control in which rats were treated with simvastatin (a lipid-lowering medication marketed under the trade name Zocor among others) (3mg/kg, administered orally).
- Group 4 was test treatment group where rats were treated with methanolic extract of M. oleifera (200mg/kg) along with high-fat diet.
- Group 5 was test treatment in which rats were treated with methanolic extract of M. oleifera (400mg/kg) along with high-fat diet.
As expected, rats feed with high-fat diet showed significant increase in body weight compared to those feed with normal pellet diet.
Also rats feed on high-fat diet showed an increase in lipid level including elevated levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, VLDL, and reduced levels of HDL when compared to rats receiving the normal pellet feed.
But, treatment with methanolic extract of M. oleifera (as well as treatment with the simvastatin) significantly reversed the hyperlipedimic effect produced by high-fat diet. Also, methanolic extract of M. oleifera tended to reduce the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries.
As can be seen in the above graph, treatment with both 200mg/kg and 400mg/kg methanolic extract of M. oleifera causes a significant
reduction of body weights when compared to both the control group (feed normal pellets) and the high-fat diet rats.
The next study investigates the effects of Moringa oleifera leaf powder and Azadirachta indica seeds powder on human diabetics. Here, 55 patinets with type 2 diabetes between the ages of 30-60 years were divided into two experimental groups and one control group. The experimental groups received either 8 g of Moringa oleifera leaf powder or 6g of Azadirachta indica seed powder each day. The control group did not receive any supplements.
Both the experimental groups showed very significant (P<0.01) reductions in fasting glucose levels compared to the control group. Also, both experimental groups showed reductions in post prandial (after meal) blood glucose levels. The reduction of post prandial blood glucose was significant at the 0.05 level for Azadirachta indica seeds powder and highly significant at the 0.01 level for Moringa oleifera leaf powder.
Again, this study indicates that the herbs tested, especially Moringa oleifera leaf powder, had significant blood glucose level lower effects on people with diabetes.
In another study 15 obese people with type 2 diabetes were given 50 g packets of Moringa oleifera leaf powder. They took the powder for 40 days. It was found that serum glucose levels were significantly lowered and serum LDL cholesterol levels were significantly decreased by 30.94%.
Conclusions About Obesity, Diabetes and Moringa Oleifera
Moringa oleifera has been tested with both animals and humans. It has been found effective for managing lipid levels including lowering bad LDL cholesterol and raising good HDL cholesterol levels. It helps control blood glucose levels both after fasting and after eating. It is effective at reducing weight even on a high fat diet.
While you should take normal measures to manage your glucose and lipid levels, like reducing your carbohydrate intake and feeding your good gut microbes, Moringa oleifera can be another tool in your toolbox to help manage your condition.
Obesity, Diabetes and Moringa Oleifera References
- Antiobesity and hypolipidemic activity of Moringa oleifera leaves against high fat diet-induced obesity in rats from the journal Advances in Biology
- A REVIEW ON SOME ANTIDIABETIC PLANTS OF INDIA from the journal Ancient Science of Life
- Health Benefits of Moringa Oleifera from the journal Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention
- HYPOGLYCAEMIC EFFECT OF MORINGA OLEIFERA AND AZADIRACHTA INDICA IN TYPE 2 DIABETES MELLITUS from the journal The Bioscan
- EFFECT OF MORINGA OLEIFERA ON BLOOD GLUCOSE, LDL LEVELS IN TYPES II DIABETIC OBESE PEOPLE. from the journal INNOVATIVE JOURNAL OF MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCE
- Hypocholesterolemic effects of crude extract of leaf of Moringa oleifera Lam in high-fat diet fed wistar rats from the Journal of Ethnopharmacology
- Hypolipidemic activity of Moringa oleifera Lam., Moringaceae, on high fat diet induced hyperlipidemia in albino rats from The Brazilian Journal of Pharmacognosy (Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia)