Q:

Is prickly pear cactus recommended to treat gestational diabetes?

A:

Quick Answer

Some medical professionals, such as Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., recommend prickly pear cactus as a botanical remedy for gestational diabetes. Prickly pear cactus contains fiber and pectin and can help to lower the absorption levels in the stomach and intestines, which can result in lower glucose levels in the blood.

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Is prickly pear cactus recommended to treat gestational diabetes?
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Full Answer

Dr. Weil also recommends many other remedies for gestational diabetes, including dietary changes, exercise, supplements, botanicals and other medications.

Avoiding excessive weight gain can prevent to body's cells from becoming insulin resistant. Eating small, frequent and healthy meals that are low on the glycemic index (which means avoiding refined, processed carbohydrates) can help to prevent the onset of gestational diabetes.

Exercise is not only helpful and healthy during pregnancy, it can also help to prevent excessive weight gain and the potential for developing gestational diabetes. A pregnant woman should check with her physician before beginning an exercise regimen during pregnancy, since some exercises can be dangerous depending on a women's individual situation.

In addition to prenatal vitamins, a doctor may suggest adding other supplements to the diet if gestational diabetes is a risk. These include GTF chromium, which helps to regulate blood sugar; alpha-lipoic acid, which is an antioxidant that helps to increase glucose uptake and prevent abnormal sugar-protein attachment; magnesium, which allows for healthy insulin production; and coenzyme Q10, which is another antioxidant that increases heart health.

Prickly pear cactus is only one botanical recommended by Dr. Weil. He also recommends bitter melon and gurmar. Insulin can also be used in some cases of gestational diabetes.

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