Effect of Rooibos Tea on BG Levels?
I am hoping that my recent experience with rooibos tea will be of benefit to some of you. Let me explain...
I am an insulin-dependent T2 diabetic who has achieved tight control over his BG levels. Prior to getting serious about my disease, I purchased some Green Rooibos Tea online, mostly because the accompanying description of its taste and health benefits seemed interesting. They were correct... it was a good tasting tea. However, after some time, I lost interest and stopped drinking it. The unused portion remained in my fridge.
In the mean time and after many months, a doctor's visit with the obligatory blood test, and too-few self-administered BG tests, I discovered that the oral meds were no longer working and that my BG was out of control. I began taking Lantus with some improvement in my BG readings (I was still eating too many carbs thinking that the insulin would take care of everything). And then after talking with my doctor during my next appointment, I decided to take control of this disease by counting and minimizing complex carbs and offsetting the carb intake with novolog.
It worked, and last week my A1C came in at 5.3. I am happy with my progress. Now for the interesting part...
Last Friday evening, I decided to resample the Rooibos tea sitting in my fridge. I made a 29-ounce pot and began drinking it at about 9:00 PM. I checked my BG before bed as I always do, took my daily 70 unit dose of Lantus and went to bed. Everything seemed normal. I then awoke in the middle of the night feeling aweful. I tested my BG to find it in the 30's. I spent the next hour or so eating glucose tabs and whatever other carbs I could find and retesting my BG on various meters. When I finally got my BG back to a comfortable (and safe) level I went back to bed.
Throughout the entire next day, my BG levels remained low. Not quite realizing the problem and thinking the previous day was a fluke, I repeated the process that next evening, beginning with another pot of the rooibos tea only to discover again in the middle of the night dangerously low BG levels. While stuffing carbs into my body, the light bulb went off and I made the connection... the tea was impacting my BG.
To rule out everything else, the next evening I refrained from drinking any tea and took my normal insulin dose. My BG level remained spot-on throughout the night. Bingo!... it was the tea that was driving my BG levels lower. I started to realize that I might be on to something.
The next evening, I drank the tea while reducing my Lantus dose to just 25 units. I thought that this would keep me safe while allowing me to work back up from there if needed. Unbelievably, I awoke with a fasting BG level of 97 (not quite as low as I like it but in the ballpark), this on just 35% of my normal insulin dose.
Also unbelievably, the BG remained constant (and in the 90s) over the course of the entire day. I have repeated this routine every night this week, increasing the Lantus dose slightly to achieve my target fasting level. After taking 29 units of Lantus last evening, I awoke to a fasting BG level of 75, just where I like it.
I do not know why the tea is having this effect, however, I plan to stick with it. If you want to try it be sure to buy the green "unfermented" variety of rooibos tea. Supposedly, this is more effective. Also, be sure to reduce your insulin dose and test your BG often to keep from going too low. Finally, if you do try it, please let me know how it works. I would like to hear from you.
The fact that you can control your bs with an a1c of 5.3 is great. I have been on insulin for 24 yrs and have never been able to achieve that. I have tried any and all combinations of food and levels of insulin. So in that sense your body does well with insulin. Keep an eye on the tea and see how it goes. I would want to hear several months not just a week report. My bs changes constantly so I can see great levels for a week or two and then they change again. In fact two weeks ago I was running fastings that were superb but then whamo back up again same insulin same food. That is just the way it is for me.
Most people find it all but impossible to read that kind of continuous text stream on a computer screen. I tried, and I couldn't take it. However, I found that if I copied it to a text editor and broke it up into paragraphs, I could actually read the thing, and it even turned out to be an interesting story (see the paragraphed version below). If you want people to read your story, make sure they can read it, and you're half-way there!
Thanks for your suggestion Tom. I edited the post and broke it into smaller paragraphs. I was not intending to write such a long post when I set about to write it.
You might be onto something here Tod. This tea contains quercetin.
Lots of studies being done with this particular bioflavinoid in terms of helping with obesity as well as T2 diabetes because it apparently inhibits intestinal glucose absorption and it's safe for human consumption.
But what happened to you sounds scary, so I guess I would say be careful. And yes the green rooibos tea is supposed to be better than the red.
Thanks for sharing.
I've been experimenting with Rooibos tea this week (but not the green variety, which I couldn't find), drinking a cup before bed. Coincidentally or not, my fasting tests have been unusually low, even when I've had a high-carb dinner the night before.
Lately I've been going through a phase of low fasting test results anyway. Still, they've been especially low this week (ranging from 69 to 81), and I've been hitting the carbs pretty hard just to make sure it's a fair test.
Maybe some more people on this forum should give it a try, and see if it makes a difference for them. Yeah, I know this kind of thing happens all the time (somebody says grapefruit rinds cured his diabetes, and everybody gets excited about the possibility for a while, until it becomes clear that it doesn't work for anyone else), but it would be shame if there were an actual benefit here and everyone overlooked it.
tom thanks for your feedback if we can find it I will go ahead and try it also. For me I will cut my insulin to either low dose or no dose I dont want to go low at night.
I am glad to see that others are thinking about this or trying it. I just wanted to provide an update for the group... I have been drinking this tea (both the red and green varieties) each evening since September 27. I make it in a pot that holds 29 ounces, and I consume all of it. Since starting, I have cut my Lantus doesage from approximately 70 units per night to 30 units or less. I have continued to maintain good and consistent BG levels throughout the entire day (watching carbs and bolussing in the same amounts with NovoLog), testing at least four times per day. I am convinced that this is working, at least for me. I do not know if this will continue to work over the long-term, however, but I intend to find out. I will keep you updated.
I ordered my last shipment of red rooibos tea from
for $9.00 per pound with an additional $12.47 for shipping (the shipping included a pound of additional items). I have no financial or other interest in this company other then being pleased with their customer service and selection and quality of items sold. This is a heck of a lot cheaper then the cost of my insulin, so I am not going to quibble over shipping costs.
Thanks for the link Tod. I'm going to try it and see what happens because my fasting number is creeping up for unknown reasons.
But tell me, do you drink it throughout the day or only at bedtime and does it affect your ability to fall asleep? Also, do you notice the lower BG with both varieties of tea because the green is supposed to be better than the red?
Thanks for sharing.
I only drink it before bedtime and I have not yet experimented with drinking it throughout the day. I wanted to establish a strong, steady baseline before I risk breaking what currently works. The tea does not affect sleep whatsoever since it contains NO caffeine. (It also does not cause you to use the bathroom during the night.) I have noticed the same positive effects with both the green and red teas. I started with green, ran out and then purchased red tea because that is all that was available at the time. Both varieties work. If you take insulin, just be sure to cut back on your basal dose. My tea drinking has replaced 40 units of daily insulin! By the way, although I usually drink the tea hot, it makes a great iced tea also. No additional flavorings are needed as it has an enjoyable taste all by itself. I hope that it works for you. Let us know.