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Why Can't Diabetics Take Yohimbe?

author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
Why Can't Diabetics Take Yohimbe?
Monitoring and controlling your blood sugar is crucial. Photo Credit: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

If you have diabetes, you represent one of the 18.8 million Americans diagnosed with this condition as of 2011, according to the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes refers to a group of diseases characterized by defects in the body's ability to regulate glucose. Discuss it with your doctor before taking dietary supplements, since all supplements have the ability to cause unwanted or even harmful side effects in people with diabetes. Yohimbe -- commonly used for erectile dysfunction -- poses a safety concern.

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Possible Insulin Interference

Yohimbe is an evergreen tree native to West Africa. The bark contains a substance called yohimbine, which is responsible for its effects. People taking typical doses have experienced unwanted side effects such as high blood pressure, rapid heart beat and stomach problems. Yohimbe poses additional concerns for diabetics. It may cause low blood sugar by interfering with insulin or other medications used to control diabetes, according to the National Institutes of Health's MedlinePlus. It is recommended that those with diabetes avoid yohimbe.

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