Getting older is not necessarily the most fun thing you can do. So anything that can offset the aging process is something I'm always on the lookout for. One of the extremely common effects of aging, particularly for women, is metabolic syndrome. In one study, researchers examined a group of postmenopausal women and found out that 36.7% of them had metabolic syndrome. One thing that can help is an herb called nigella sativa. The common name is black cumin seed.
People have used black cumin seed as both a food and medicine for hundreds of years. In the orient, it has the reputation as "the remedy for everything but death." A growing body of research on black cumin seed indicates that it may have medicinal value in over 40 different health conditions. One of those conditions seems to be metabolic syndrome.
Signs of metabolic syndrome include the accumulation of fat around the midsection even when the rest of the body is not overweight, elevated blood sugar, and elevated blood pressure. Metabolic syndrome also causes changes in the balance of the various blood fats. This leads to elevated triglycerides, reduced high density lipoprotein (HDL), and an increase in low density lipoprotein (LDL). It also increases the likelihood of obesity, heart attacks, diabetes, and strokes.
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In one study, researchers reported on a group of 30 postmenopausal women with metabolic syndrome. The women were between the ages of 45-60. They gave half of them one gram per day of black cumin seed powder every morning. They gave the other women a placebo. After two months, they found that the women taking the black cumin seed had significantly lower triglycerides, lower LDL, higher HDL, and lower blood sugar levels. These changes indicate a reversal of metabolic syndrome. According to the authors, "These results suggested that treatment with N. sativa [black cumin seed] exerts a protective effect by improving lipid profile and blood glucose which are in higher risk to be elevated during menopausal period."
Black cumin seed all by itself is not going to completely turn around metabolic syndrome in most women. But combined with the usual treatments that I describe in my book, The Type 2 Diabetes Breakthrough, it does seem that simply taking a 1,000 mg capsule of black cumin seed extract is something every woman with metabolic syndrome or with a family history of metabolic syndrome should be doing.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Ibrahim RM, Hamdan NS, et al. Protective Effects of Nigella sativa on Metabolic Syndrome in Menopausal Women. Adv Pharm Bull. 2014;4(1):29-33.