STUDY CONFIRMS THAT THIS LOCAL WONDER PLANT CAN LOWER BLOOD SUGAR
LEVELS AND RISKS OF STROKE AND HEART ATTACK
By: Anne A. Jambora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
04:30 AM July 14th, 2015
A recent study has confirmed that diabetic patients may benefit from regular intake of
capsules containing Moringa oleifera (malunggay) leaves. The study says that malunggay
not only reduces blood sugar levels, but also lowers the risks of stroke and heart attack.
High blood sugar reading is just the tip of the “metabolic syndrome” iceberg associated with
Less attention has been given to the diabetic’s chronic inflammatory state. That’s why even
with controlled sugar, many diabetic patients suffer the high risks of stroke and heart attack.
Almost every modern disease is caused or affected by inflammation. It is the normal response
of the immune system to infection and trauma. In diabetic patients, this defense system
becomes impaired and, if left untreated, can compromise the integrity of the blood vessels,
dramatically increasing the risks of stroke and heart attack.
In the first cohort study of M. oleifera on humans performed by Dr. Rainier Nery Mozo, with
Dr. Imelda Caole-Ang as adviser, the leaves of this wispy tree were studied specifically for
their properties affecting the hs-CRP (high specific C-reactive protein), a strong predictor of
cardiovascular risks and death produced by the liver when there is inflammation, and
hemoglobin A1c, the standard test that determines the past three months’ blood sugar
control in people with diabetes.
The 12-week study, conducted November last year and peer-reviewed by the Philippine
Internal Medicine Journal, supervised 52 selected subjects, all diagnosed with diabetes
mellitus Type I or II. Patients with existing conditions related to inflammation other than
diabetes were excluded.
“According to our study, even with controlled blood sugar levels, our patients still showed
inflammation above the normal level. This increases their risk of getting a stroke or heart
attack. They rely only on hemoglobin A1c tests. They haven’t had their hs-CRP checked,”
Mozo told Inquirer Lifestyle.
The study, titled “The Effects of Malunggay (Moringa oleifera) leaves capsule supplements
on High Specificity C-Reactive Protein (hsCRP) and Hemoglobin A1c (HgbA1c) Levels of
Diabetic Patients,” does not just introduce malunggay capsule as supplement, but also
suggests the need for hs-CRP to become a standard test.
Among diabetes’ deadly comorbidities are hypertension, dysregulation or build-up of
cholesterol, and impairment in fibrinolysis that leads to blood thickening.
For three weeks, all 52 patients took the supplements three times a day alongside their
Dubbed “the wonder gulay,” malunggay leaves have been characterized by Trees for Life,
the charity that works to restore the forest, to “contain more vitamin A than carrots, more
calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, more vitamin C than oranges and more potassium
than bananas.” It also noted that the quality of its protein rivals that of milk and egg.
“Why leaves? According to a phytochemical screening, the leaves have the most active
ingredients compared to any other part of the plant such as the bark or root. The leaf extract
as medicinal component appears to have the most level of all bioactives of interest,” Mozo
According to the American Heart Association, hs-CRP of less than 1 milligram per liter poses
a low risk for stroke and heart attack. Moderate risk is involved for readings of 1-3, and high risk
While all patients, on their first day, already showed controlled blood sugar, averaging a
hemoglobin A1c count at 6.96 (a diabetic patient must aim for 7, Mozo said, while the norm
for a nondiabetic is 6.5), they also showed a high risk of stroke and heart attack.
Their hs-CRP averaged at 3.38.
After 12 weeks, the average hemoglobin A1c dropped to 6.06, and the hs-CRP down to 1.69
or moderate risk.
“The .6-percent drop in hemoglobin A1c might look insignificant to the layman, but for a doctor,
a 1-percent drop reduces the risk of microvascular complications such as stroke, eye blindness
and heart attack by 40 percent, and death by 21 percent,” Mozo said.
Patients can, of course, opt for another brand, he noted.
What’s important is for the capsule to contain the same quality of leaves. This means they
should be processed in a way approved by the Department of Science and Technology
(dry-air processed), and containing the same dosage (500 mg), he said. Check that the
leaves inside the capsule are still green.
“Processing of leaves keeps most of the nutrients intact. It’s easy to say it contains 500 mg
of leaves, but you wouldn’t know if there are still nutrients left in there. DOST made a
protocol for how to process malunggay leaves. They should still be green, not brown,”
A 500-mg capsule contains an equivalent of two-and-a-half cups of malunggay leaves.
Consumption of the supplement is relatively safe and has no known side effects.
But since it contains a high amount of potassium, Mozo advises that patients with kidney
problems must consult with their physicians first.
“This is just the beginning. What we should do next is conduct a randomized control study
with bigger population size to further demonstrate the effect of malunggay capsules on
hs-CRP and hemoglobin A1c,” Mozo said.