Glyburide is a sulfonylurea drug used to lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes. Maintaining normal blood sugar levels helps reduce health problems associated with diabetes. People with diabetes should consult with their doctor before starting or stopping any form of treatment including drug therapy, herbal products, supplements, and others.
Consumption of a high-fiber diet and/or supplementation with nutrients such as chromium, biotin, vitamin E, and others or herbs such as gymnema will often improve blood-sugar control in diabetics. In such cases, the amount of blood sugar-lowering drugs may need to be reduced in order to avoid a hypoglycemic reaction. Anyone taking medication for diabetes should consult the prescribing physician before making dietary changes or taking nutrients or herbs that are designed to lower blood-sugar levels.
One single-blind study in Thailand reported that combining 1 Tbsp (15 ml) of aloe (Aloe vera) juice twice daily with glyburide significantly improved blood sugar and lipid levels in people with diabetes, compared with placebo.1 Previously, glyburide by itself had not effectively controlled the diabetes in the people in this study.
In a preliminary trial, administration of Ginkgo biloba extract (120 mg per day) for three months to patients with type 2 diabetes who were taking oral anti-diabetes medication resulted in a significant worsening of glucose tolerance. Ginkgo did not impair glucose tolerance in individuals whose diabetes was controlled by diet.2 Individuals taking oral anti-diabetes medication should consult a doctor before taking Ginkgo biloba.
Chromium supplements have been shown to improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes.3 Consequently, supplementing with chromium could reduce blood sugar levels in people with taking glyburide, potentially resulting in abnormally low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). While chromium supplementation may be beneficial for people with diabetes, its use in combination with glyburide or with any other blood sugar-lowering medication should be supervised by a doctor.
1. Bunyapraphatsara N, Yongchaiyudha S, Rungpitarangsi V, Chokechaijaroenporn O. Antidiabetic activity of Aloe vera L. juice. II. Clinical trial in diabetes mellitus patients in combination with glibenclamide. Phytomed 1996;3:245–8.
2. Kudolo GB. The effect of 3-month ingestion of Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) on pancreatic beta-cell function in response to glucose loading in individuals with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. J Clin Pharmacol 2001;41:600–11.
3. Anderson RA, Cheng N, Bryden NA, Polansky MM, Cheng N, Chi J, et al. Elevated intakes of supplemental chromium improve glucose and insulin variables in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes1997;46:1786–91.
Last Review: 11-07-2012
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