8 Supplements That May Help Diabetes
Of the 29.1 million Americans with diabetes, as many as 31 percent use complementary or alternative medicines, including supplements, to help manage their condition. In fact, the amount of money spent on dietary supplements could be staggering. "I think it's bigger than the pharmacy business, if you add it all up," says Jeffrey Tipton, DO, MPH, vice president and medical director at AppleCare Medical Management in Los Angeles.
So is all that money going to good use? "There are some indications that some supplements may be helpful, but there's nothing definitive," says Julie T. Chen, MD, an internist and founder of Making Healthy EZ, an integrative health clinic in San Jose, California. While you shouldn't use supplements to replace your diabetes medication, research on some of them does suggest that they can help with type 2 diabetes management.
Supplements for Type 2 Diabetes: A Closer Look
If you're taking or considering taking a supplement, telling your doctor is a must because some supplements can interfere with diabetes or other drugs, such as blood thinners.
Here's a look at nine dietary supplements that are commonly used by people with type 2 diabetes:
Chromium A metal and an essential trace mineral, this is thought to help reduce blood sugar levels. It is naturally occurring in meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, spices, and whole-wheat and rye breads. As a supplement, it is sold as chromium picolinate, chromium chloride, and chromium nicotinate.
"People were excited about chromium about 20 years ago," Dr. Tipton says. At low doses, its use appears safe for most people Continue reading