Fighting Diabetes with Supplements
Fighting Diabetes with Supplements
Last Modified Date: May 30, 2008
Reviewed by Susan Weiner, R.D., M.S., C.D.E., C.D.N. 3/08

If there were a supplement you could buy at the health food store that would radically improve your diabetes, we would all know about it by now ÒÒ and weÌd be wishing we had bought stock in the company. However, scientists are hard at work growing a generally small, but interesting body of evidence about the effectiveness of several herbs and dietary supplements in the management of diabetes.

Jianping Ye, MD, a professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., conducts laboratory research with the long-term goal of identifying new therapeutic agents for treating type 2 diabetes. According to Ye, an abundance of research exists and there is great interest in the topic, but currently no scientifically established evidence exists that unequivocally supports the use of a particular dietary supplement in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

That said, your health care provider may endorse the use of a supplement, as long as he or she can verify a safe dosage and monitor you closely. These substances are pharmacologically active, like drugs, and can interact with other medications. Moreover, when they are effective, they can combine with current treatments and cause blood sugar to drop too low. For these reasons, it is vital that you undertake any supplemental regimen with the close consultation of your physician.

The dietary supplements reviewed in this section are some of the most commonly used among people with diabetes. They include: omega-3 fatty acids, alpha lipoic acid, chromium, coenzyme Q10, garlic, and magnesium.

Good news for people with diabetes could be just around the bend, thanks to all the research currently underway. For now, though, talk to your doctor before popping any pills ÒÒ even if theyÌre sold right next to the broccoli.

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