While no cure for diabetes exists, diabetics can live a healthy life by controlling blood sugar levels. Traditional and effective methods of controlling blood sugar and managing diabetes include:
- Eating a healthy, controlled diet
- Getting plenty of exercise
- Monitoring blood glucose levels frequently
- Taking medication and using insulin if necessary.
Along with conventional diabetes treatments and your doctor’s approval, you may complement your diabetes care with herbal diabetic treatment.
Supplements for Diabetics
Many supplements on the market claim to be diabetic herbal medicine. While some have significance, others are completely ineffective. Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t yet officially approved herbal supplements for diabetics.
Nevertheless, some supplements for diabetics do have proven health benefits. While none of these should replace your current diabetic treatment, these supplements and diabetic herbal remedies may help you manage your diabetes:
- Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA): Alpha-lipoic acid may offer diabetics a double benefit by lowering blood sugar and easing nerve pain. A German study found that ALA improved insulin sensitivity by 27 percent, and other studies have shown improvement in burning, numbness and pain.
- Bitter melon: Bitter melon is a popular folk remedy for diabetes in Asia, Africa and South America. Bitter melon appears to have mild blood sugar-lowering properties due to many of its compounds, such as polypeptide-P (plant insulin). Possible side effects of this herbal diabetic treatment include gastrointestinal problems.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree and has insulin-like properties. This herbal diabetic treatment can help lower blood glucose levels as well as cholesterol and triglycerides, and some studies suggest that cinnamon can help boost antioxidants in the body and may help reduce metabolic syndrome.
- Fenugreek: Fenugreek may help improve blood glucose levels in people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, according to several studies. In addition, this herbal diabetic treatment may also help improve blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Magnesium: Magnesium may lower blood sugar and improve insulin function in diabetics, studies show. Many diabetics are deficient in magnesium, which can lead to increased blood sugar levels and insulin resistance.
Using Diabetic Herbal Medicine
If you’re interested in trying diabetic herbal remedies, follow the following tips for safe use:
- Carefully monitor your blood sugar levels, even more frequently than usual. This will reveal a supplement’s effect, and will help you detect any potential problems early.
- Check with your doctor to see if supplements for diabetics could interact with any medicines you’re taking, or whether they could have harmful side effects.
- Don’t give diabetic herbal remedies to children unless you have the approval of your child’s pediatrician.
- Don’t use diabetic herbal medicine if you’re pregnant or nursing.
- Don’t use herbal supplements as a replacement for your existing diabetic treatment.
- Keep careful track of any unusual symptoms or side effects you experience and discuss them with your doctor.
- Never exceed the recommended dose on the supplement’s label. If your doctor recommends a lower dose, follow these orders.
- Try only one new diabetic herbal medicine at a time to see its effect.
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Diabetes-Diabetic-Diet. (2010). Herbs for diabetes. Retrieved May 28, 2010, from http://www.diabetes-diabetic-diet.com/herbs_for_diabetes.htm.
O’Connell, B. (n.d.). Herbal supplements in diabetes management. Retrieved August 23, 2007, from http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/article.cfm?aid=410.
Reader’s Digest Association. (2010). Best herbs and supplements for diabetes. Retrieved May 28, 2010, from http://www.rd.com/living-healthy/the-best-herbs-and-supplements-for-diabetes/article55702.html.