Cissus quadrangularis is a medicinal plant found in the grape family and used to combat a host of ailments, from stomach ulcers to joint pain. Impressively, its ability to promote insulin sensitivity makes it helpful for people with diabetes and metabolic syndrome by addressing the root cause, which is insulin resistance. By lowering insulin resistance, it improves carbohydrate metabolism and helps lower blood glucose levels. Cissus quadrangularis can also be used as a weight loss supplement, according to studies on overweight and obese individuals who were able to lose weight and reduce waist size without changes in diet or exercise habits.
Cissus quadrangularis, also known as veld grape, is a vine from the grape family found in Africa and Asia, and has been historically used in both African and Ayurvedic medicinal traditions. Recent evidence has found it to exhibit antioxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. It also can increase insulin sensitivity, which is low in people with diabetes and people with metabolic syndrome. By improving the way the body uses glucose, it not only lowers your risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome but also your risk of obesity and heart disease. It can help with weight loss and be a natural remedy for stomach ulcers and acid reflux. Cissus quadrangularis is a gentle herbal supplement with no known adverse effects and many proven benefits .
1. Helps Fight Insulin Resistance and Improves Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome, also called insulin resistance syndrome, occurs in people whose bodies have become “resistant” to insulin–the hormone responsible for transporting glucose from the bloodstream into cells where they’re expended as an energy source. Without glucose from food entering the cells, the amount in the blood becomes high and has harmful effects on the body. While insulin is mainly associated with blood glucose management, it also affects the metabolism of fats and proteins. Glucose that can’t be used as fuel within cells gets deposited as fat, and proteins aren’t able to build muscle . Hence, insulin resistance puts you at risk of metabolic syndrome–a cluster of metabolic disorders that typically result in obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
In a study on 123 overweight participants, Cissus quadrangularis increased carbohydrate metabolism, which means more carbs from their diet were used as fuel instead of being stored as fat. The researchers concluded that Cissus quadrangularis has an antidiabetic quality that can help fight metabolic syndrome in overweight or insulin resistant individuals .
2. Helps Prevent and Treat Diabetes
When someone is insulin resistant, the pancreas reacts by producing more insulin in attempts to lower blood glucose levels. The high concentration of insulin in the bloodstream over time causes even more insulin resistance, making it a vicious cycle. After the pancreas has been working on “overdrive” to produce high levels of insulin, it tends to lose its ability to produce insulin. As a result, you have low insulin levels and resistance against insulin, making it very difficult for glucose to enter cells and exit the bloodstream. This results in type 2 diabetes–a condition whereby patients need to inject themselves with more insulin to prevent fatal levels of blood sugar. However, this treatment doesn’t address the core issue, which is the body’s resistance to insulin.
In a study on diabetic rats fed a high fructose diet (a known contributor to insulin resistance) found that Cissus quadrangularis increased insulin sensitivity and reduced insulin resistance . This offers a better long-term solution for people who experience blood sugar spikes and drops, including prediabetics and diabetics. It can also help prevent these conditions by preventing insulin resistance.
3. Improves Weight Loss Efforts
Cissus quadrangularis is proven to help people who are overweight or obese lose weight. This is thanks to its ability to boost insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose levels, which means more carbohydrates are turned into fuel instead of being stored as fat. In a study on 72 people who were either overweight or obese, participants who took Cissus quadrangularis for ten weeks lost more weight than those who took a placebo. They also had a more significant reduction in waist size. Another study determined that Cissus quadrangularis improved not only weight loss, but also risk factors of cardiovascular disease, in overweight and obese people .
4. Boosts Bone Health
According to test tube studies on human cells, Cissus quadrangularis stimulates the growth of osteoblasts, which are the cells that form bone. In a study on rats, Cissus quadrangularis increased bone thickness, suggesting it may be viable in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis .
5. Alleviates Joint Pain
Cissus quadrangularis has been shown to alleviate joint pain and mobility from exercise injuries in athletic men. A study on male athletes with chronic joint pain found that 3,200 mg of Cissus quadrangularis per day led to a 31 percent reduction in pain and impairment after eight weeks .
6. Helps Fight Stomach Ulcers and Acid Reflux
Stomach ulcers, also known as peptic ulcers and gastric ulcers, are painful sores in the lining of the stomach and intestines. They’re conventionally treated by proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are pharmaceutical drugs that suppress the secretion of acid in the stomach. These drugs also treat acid reflux, otherwise known as heartburn. Cissus quadrangularis is shown to have the ability to act as a PPI based on test tube studies, suggesting it has the potential to treat and prevent gastric ulcers and acid reflux .
Cissus quadrangularis should be used with caution when taken with diabetes medication, as it could potentially lower blood sugar too much . You can find this supplement in pill form and take it daily in the recommended dose suggested on the product label. Although it’s not a “magic pill” for weight loss, Cissus quadrangularis does improve fat burning without requiring changes in diet or exercise because of its effects on carbohydrate metabolism. Supplementing with Cissus quadrangularis could play a role in weight loss and in preventing diseases associated with obesity, including metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, as well as osteoporosis.