M.oleifera isn’t a cure-all, but the plant may help reduce inflammation, stabilize blood sugar, and boost heart health. We dove into the latest research.
If you spend any time on social media, you may have noticed a new superfood popping up in your Instagram feed. We’re talking about moringa powder, the latest of-the-moment natural food supplement that supposedly fixes many common ills.
Like many natural remedies, moringa is a tempting alternative to prescription drugs. “A lot of people are averse to going on medication, and as chronic disease continues to be an issue, [natural remedies] seem like a cure-all,” says Ginger Hultin, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, based in Seattle.
Mainly, moringa (Moringa oleifera, or M. oleifera) is touted for its high concentration of antioxidants, as well as its ability to lower blood sugar, improve heart health, and reduce inflammation.
But, as an article published in March 2012 in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology noted, moringa powder has been used in traditional Indian medicine for thousands of years — so why is the United States only now starting to catch on?
You can thank science for the sudden interest in moringa powder, says Robin Foroutan, RDN, an integrative dietitian-nutritionist and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, who is based in New York City. “When something has [any] research behind it to show that it has a really good health impact, people get excited about it,” she says.
What Are the Nutrition Facts and Studied Health Benefits of Moringa Powder?
The light-colored, earthy-tasting powder is derived from the leaves and seed pods of Moringa oleifera, a tree that’s native to India but also grows in Asia, Africa, and South America, and is sometimes referred to as the drumstick tree, miracle tree, horseradish tree, or ben oil tree, according to a review published in March 2014 in the journal Phytotherapy Research.
The same review noted that the plant contains a number of important compounds, including beta-carotene, quercetin, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one 10-gram (g) serving of moringa powder offers 150 milligrams (mg) of calcium (15 percent of the daily value, or DV), 2 mg of iron (11.11 percent DV), and 160 mg of potassium (3.4 percent DV). “There’s some protein in there too, which is exciting because generally leaves are mostly carbohydrates,” Hultin says. (One 10-g serving of moringa powder offers 3 g of protein.)
Because fresh moringa is tough to get in the United States, many people are turning to the powdered form, Hultin says, and research suggests the powdered version may offer health benefits as well. (More on that research next.)
Yet while there is some research to support the benefits of moringa powder, a lot of the evidence is based on animal studies; the studies that have been done on humans are pretty small. “This doesn’t mean they’re not valid, it’s just hard to make general recommendations,” Hultin warns.
Research shows moringa powder may be beneficial for raising antioxidant levels in post-menopausal women, whose antioxidant enzyme systems are affected due to lower estrogen levels. In one study published in November 2014 in Journal of Food Science and Technology, post-menopausal women who supplemented daily with 7 g of moringa powder saw a significant increase in blood antioxidant levels, as well as a 16.3 percent decrease in malondialdehyde (a marker of oxidative stress) after three months. Those changes may signal improvements in health outcomes, but more studies are needed to know for sure.
In addition to supplying a hefty amount of antioxidants, moringa powder may help lower blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and improve heart function.
“The anti-inflammatory effect of moringa is the big news because we know that out-of-control inflammation is the hallmark of most kinds of diseases,” Foroutan says. According to an article published in November 2012 in the journal EMBO Reports, inflammation has been linked with a wide range of chronic diseases, from different types of cancer to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to heart disease.
In a study published in the March–April 2014 issue of Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, for example, researchers found that treating rats with moringa extract for five days was an effective treatment for colon inflammation, such as that experienced with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Further research is needed to determine if it will be effective in humans, though.
The research on blood sugar appears more promising. In a study in the journal Bioscan, people with type 2 diabetes who supplemented daily with 8 g of moringa powder saw a 28 percent decrease in fasting blood glucose and 26 percent decrease in post-meal blood glucose on average after 40 days. Meanwhile, the aforementioned study in the Journal of Food Science and Technology revealed that post-menopausal women who took 7 g of moringa powder every day for three months lowered their blood sugar by an average of 13.5 percent. And an older study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that taking 50 g of moringa powder with a single meal decreased blood sugar levels by 21 percent.
In addition, moringa contains a plant compound known as terpenoids. “Terpenoids from moringa have been found to help the pancreas secrete more insulin, which can be really helpful for people with diabetes,” Foroutan says. According to a review published in 2014 in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, researchers believe the terpenoids in moringa play a role in stimulating B cells, which triggers insulin production.
Furthermore, a study published in February 2016 in the American Journal of Hypertension revealed that supplementing with 750 mg of moringa seed powder every day for eight weeks improved cardiac diastolic function (the stiffening and relaxation of your ventricles) in hypertensive rats. Though the powder didn’t lower blood pressure, researchers speculate that it may help prevent heart disease associated with high blood pressure. Again, more studies in humans are needed.
Does Moringa Powder Have Any Safety Concerns to Be Aware Of?
Pregnant or lactating women should avoid moringa powder altogether: “[Moringa powder] has some uterine stimulating effects,” Hultin says, which could cause the uterus to contract when it’s not supposed to. Moringa powder also hasn’t been proven safe for children, so stay on the safe side and keep it away from kids.
Moringa powder is also risky for anyone taking medication to treat diabetes or high blood pressure, or Levothroid (levothyroxine), a hormone that’s commonly used to treat hypothyroidism, Hultin says. If you’re on any medication, check with your healthcare team before trying moringa.
Some Inspiration for Using Moringa Powder in Your Diet
As Hultin notes, moringa powder has a mild, tea-like flavor that easily mixes into juices and smoothies without dramatically altering their taste. It can also be made into a tea (there are many premade options available), or taken in pill form.
But you do have to be careful about where you get your moringa powder, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t require dietary-supplement and other natural-product manufacturers to prove the safety of their products before marketing them. According to previous research, moringa root contains spirochin, a potentially toxic alkaloid that could cause neurological issues, “so only purchase powder from a very reputable source,” Hultin says.
Hultin recommends sticking with brands who pay for third-party testing. You’ll likely wind up paying more for a supplement that’s third-party tested, but it will be your safest option. You can quickly identify products that have been tested because companies will slap it right on the front of the label. “They’re proud it it,” Hultin says.
Look for supplements that have been tested by any of these top agencies: NSF International, ConsumerLab, and USP.
Bottom Line: Should You Add Moringa Powder to Your Healthy Lifestyle?
Assuming you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding, or taking medication for blood pressure, diabetes, or thyroid conditions, moringa powder is generally safe. That is, as long as you stick to the recommended doses listed on the package or bottle of moringa powder. “Too much of it could actually disrupt your digestive system,” Foroutan says.
But before you start taking moringa powder, figure out why you want to use it, and check in with your doctor or a registered dietitian to see if there are better options for you. “My concern is always that people will try using something like moringa instead of meeting with a doctor and starting medication that is needed for their condition,” Hultin says.
If you’re ready to take the plunge, be sure you’re buying moringa powder from a reputable brand that uses third-party testing for safety.
Finally, keep in mind that moringa powder — and any other supplement — isn’t a cure-all. “Natural products are really exciting, but we still need to look at our health very holistically, and while something like moringa might be able to support, it’s often not the only answer to someone’s health issues,” Hultin says.
The Moringa powder is being sold at Safimex company. If you are interested in our product, pls visit to: https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/MORINGA-POWDER-LEAVES-FROM-VIETNAM-100_62023873579.html?spm=a2747.manage.0.0.67882c3cvXY76B
Source: Every day health
SAFIMEX JOINT STOCK COMPANY
Head Office: 216/20a Duong Ba Trac Street, Ward 2, District 8, Hochiminh City, Vietnam.
Tel: (+84)-(28)-3636 2388 | (+84)-(28)-3636 2399| Web: Www.Safimex.Com