I first learned of the benefits of amla powder from watching a NutritionFacts video. Dr. Greger was comparing ingredients based on their antioxidant levels.
When pitted against blueberries and other antioxidant foods, amla berries (also known as Indian gooseberries, Phyllanthus Emblica, and Emblica Officinalis) scored off the charts.
In Dr. Greger’s words, they contained “… up to a hundred times or more antioxidants by weight than blueberries.”
The various alma studies he reviewed excited him enough to bike to his local Indian spice store to see if they carried it. To his surprise, they had the berries not only powdered but:
- packed in syrup
and packed in nitrogen.
He bought them all!
Let’s look at some of the research that convinced Dr. Greger that he and his family needed to enjoy the benefits of amla powder.
Two Benefits of Amla Powder: Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Control
A study headed by the Department of Pharmacology at Pakistan’s University of Sarghoda included 32 volunteers aged 30 and 60. Sixteen had type 2 diabetes.
The 16 diabetes-free volunteers were age and gender-matched individuals from the same family or cultural backgrounds.
The researchers separated each group of 32 volunteers into groups of four, resulting in eight different “teams.”
- Diabetic group 1 (the control group) took the common diabetic drug Daconil twice daily. Non-diabetic group 1 received a placebo.
- Diabetic group 2 and non-diabetic group 2 took one gram of amla powder with water daily after breakfast.
- Diabetic group 3 and non-diabetic group 3 took two grams of amla powder with water daily after breakfast.
- Diabetic group 4 and non-diabetic group 4 took three grams of amla powder with water daily after breakfast.
The volunteers had their blood glucose levels checked once a week. By day 21, the results were clear:
Every volunteer except those in non-diabetic group 1 (the placebo group) taking the placebo experienced a definitive decrease in fasting blood glucose levels.
And the most significant drop occurred not in the group taking the Daconil medication but in the diabetic group taking 3 grams of amla powder.
They lowered their fasting blood glucose level 47% from 138.5 to 73 by simply taking about half a teaspoon a day of amla powder for three weeks!
How impressive is that?
- Normal fasting blood sugar level is between 70 and 100 mg/dl.
- Pre-diabetes is between 100 and 125.
- Diabetic is above 125.
So this was an extraordinary result. The 3-gram group saw their blood sugar level go from diabetic to healthy levels in only three weeks!
But the benefits of amla powder went beyond improved blood sugar levels.
In diabetic and non-diabetic groups 3 and 4, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, lipid levels, and triglyceride levels dropped. And by more than a little!
Triglycerides dropped by half, and in some amla groups, cholesterol did as well! (Both Group 2s also saw benefits in their lipid profiles, but not across the board.)
Is Amla Powder Your Path to an Optimal Cholesterol Level?
Last week’s post on lowering cholesterol with diet reviewed a study in which drug lovastatin and a plant-based diet reduced cholesterol levels by around 30% after 30 days.
After the one-month intervention, the study’s participants had cholesterol levels similar to those born with the “longevity gene,” which naturally controls their cholesterol.
For Groups 3 and 4 of the Pakistani study, less than one daily teaspoon of amla performed even better.
- Group 3 diabetics people saw a 47% drop in LDL cholesterol – from 128.8 to 64.3.
- Group 3 non-diabetics saw a 39% drop in LDL cholesterol – from 94.9 to 57.9.
- Group 4 diabetics saw a 51% drop in LDL cholesterol – from 119.9 to 58.7.
- Group 4 non-diabetics saw a 50% drop in LDL cholesterol – from 95.7 to 47.7.
Everyone in both groups achieved readings in the optimal LDL cholesterol range.
What is optimal LDL cholesterol? According to The American Journal of Cardiology’s long-time editor-in-chief Dr. William Clifford Roberts:
“Atherosclerosis is very rare in populations with LDL cholesterol levels <70 mg/dL for a lifetime.”
Amla has been used in medicinal applications for centuries, but could this study be too good to be true? I don’t have any reason not to believe it, but I’d love to see the trial duplicated by other researchers.
Look for my reviews of more incredible studies soon, including the benefits of amla powder associated with cancer and inflammation.
In the meantime, it’s time to follow Dr. Greger’s example and pedal on over to the local spice store!