White mulberry for type 2 diabetes? Does it work?

Natural medications (herbs, vitamins, and supplements) are popular among my patients, and among Americans. White mulberry is gaining popularity as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. But, is it worth a hoot?According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, “White mulberry is a shrub with a white or pinkish fruit that is similar to a blackberry. But it is the leaf of white mulberry that might be beneficial for diabetes.”

White mulberry leaf extract inhibits alpha-glucosidase enzymes in the gut, which prevents digestion of carbohydrates.

This is similar to the mechanism of the prescription diabetes medications, acarbose (Precose) and miglitol (Glyset ).

Some evidence shows that taking a white mulberry leaf powder 1 gram three times daily for 4 weeks significantly reduces fasting blood glucose by about 27% in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Although this is promising, more evidence is needed about long-term safety and effectiveness before I can recommend it to my patients.

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