Gymnema Sylvestre Side Effects

Gymnema Sylvestre, more commonly referred to as "Gurmar" or "the sugar destroyer" by some health buffs, is a herb native to the forests of India, Africa, and Australia. Like other herbs we've touched on before, Gymnema has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine and has a whole list of potential health benefits linked to its use. But these benefits haven't deterred us from the fact that there might be possible side effects lurking behind its use. 

Below, I look at what these possible side effects may be, if any, and how we can combat or avoid them for the safe and effective use of Gymnema:

key findings

  • Studies show that Gymnema Sylvestre is completely safe and free of side effects when taken in recommended doses.
  • Some individuals may experience common mild side effects at the beginning of Gymnema supplementation, which disappear after the body becomes familiar with the herb's beneficial  effects.
  • Research shows that taking high or unrecommended doses of Gymnema Sylvestre can cause serious side effects to occur.

What Studies Say About Gymnema Sylvestre Side Effects

One PubMed study exploring Gymnema's potential effect on medicine and health mentioned a bit about toxicity and safety. It states that Gymnema Sylvestre is completely safe and free of side effects when taken in recommended doses.

In fact, side effects hinge quite a lot on dosage adherence when it comes to this herb, as another study showed that 52 weeks of recommended dosage supplementation produced no toxic effects even though supplementation was on such a long stretch. 

However, that's not the case with doses that exceed recommendations. Our takeaway here is side effects are possible if recommended doses are ignored or you opt for exceedingly high doses.

The Gymnema Side View 

The study we looked at earlier confirmed that Gymnema use is completely safe if used in recommended doses, but what's the flip side of that, where recommended doses aren't followed? 

According to the evidence, high doses of the herb are recorded to cause side effects such as weakness, shakiness, hypoglycemia, excessive sweating, and muscular dystrophy (loss of muscle mass). 

The side effects mentioned in the study belong to different categories whose frequency and probability differ. Some need immediate attention while others don't, you will understand this better in a bit.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects are mild and fleeting experiences that typically occur while your body is becoming familiar with the effect supplements have on the body. Like other natural herbs, Gymnema Sylvestre supplementation does have common side effects linked to its use. Some of them are weakness, shakiness, and excessive sweating. This links up with the data we looked at from the study earlier. 

Other common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache

Rare and Serious Side Effects

Rare and serious side effects are hardly ever experienced unless there is a hiccup with dosing (very high dosing or overdosing), interactions with other medications, or underlying conditions being triggered. 

These side effects are typically intense and prolonged, requiring medical attention. Experts believe that these stem from the herb's famed sugar-lowering effects, and I can see why that makes sense after looking at the side effects, as they are actually symptoms of hypoglycemia.

These side effects include:

  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Tingling in feet
  • Unbearable Hunger
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Irritability or confusion
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

How Can Side Effects be Managed or Avoided

Gymnema has a broad range of benefits we wouldn't want to miss out on due to side effects. There are a few ways we can manage or avoid side effects. Below, I expand on them:

Gradual Start

If you're new to using Gymnema Sylvestre, consider starting with a lower dose and gradually increasing it to where you want while monitoring your body's response. This approach allows your body to adjust to the supplement's effects at a slower pace, potentially minimizing the occurrence and intensity of common side effects.

Consult a Healthcare Professional

Before incorporating Gymnema Sylvestre into your routine, consult your healthcare provider, especially if you have any existing medical conditions or are taking other medications. They can assess your specific health situation and advise on the appropriate dosage that considers potential interactions.

Contraindications serve as a warning of who should avoid using the supplements.

These include:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers
  • Children and infants
  • Diabetic individuals (unless supervised by a doctor)
  • Those planning to go for a surgical procedure (discontinue use at least two weeks beforehand)
  • Individuals with milkweed allergies should also avoid Gymnema, as it may trigger a reaction

Interactions are medicines that should not be taken in conjunction with Gymnema.

These include:

  • Insulin
  • Amaryl (glimepiride)
  • Glucotrol XL (glipizide)
  • Glynase (glbyburide)
  • and other similar medicines

Monitor Your Body's Response

Pay attention to how your body reacts to Gymnema Sylvestre supplementation. Record any unusual, prolonged symptoms or side effects and consult your healthcare professional. Monitoring allows for early detection of any side effects so you can intervene with a proper solution.

Adhere to Recommended Dosages

Research shows that the generally recommended dose of Gymnema is based on many factors like the reason for use and other individual factors of both the supplement and user, but it typically varies between 400mg to 1000mg daily

Avoid exceeding the advised dosage, as doing so may increase the likelihood and severity of side effects. By following these guidelines, you can better manage potential side effects and ensure a safe and effective experience with Gymnema Sylvestre supplementation.

Final Thoughts

Although Gymnema is recognized as safe when taken in recommended doses, we must still be on the lookout for side effects. It's true that sometimes side effects just show up because our bodies are getting used to the effects of a supplement, but this isn't the only reason. Side effects that are prolonged, unusual, and grow in intensity could be signaling allergies or incompatibility with the medicines or conditions you may have. So, keeping a record of how your body responds to supplementation, sticking to advised doses, and checking in with your healthcare provider before or while using Gymnema is important to ensure a safe and effective journey with the herb.

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About the Author

Sam is a passionate health and fitness enthusiast who has been interested in supplements, fitness, and wellness for over 10 years. He is the founder of Great Green Wall - the health and wellness brand and has completed multiple fitness certificates, including personal training and nutrition certifications. Sam has been working as a personal trainer for the past three years and is dedicated to helping his clients achieve their fitness goals and lead healthier lifestyles. He believes that a healthy lifestyle is crucial to a happy and fulfilling life and is committed to sharing his knowledge and passion with others.

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