What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is caused by a problem in the way your body makes or uses insulin. Insulin is needed to move blood sugar (glucose) into cells, where it is stored and later used for energy.
When you have type 2 diabetes, your fat, liver, and muscle cells do not respond correctly to insulin. This is called insulin resistance. As a result, blood sugar does not get into these cells to be stored for energy.
Natural Remedies for Type 2 Diabetes
There are some natural treatments that are being explored for type 2 diabetes. If you are interested in trying a natural treatment in addition to standard treatment, be sure do so only under the close supervision of a qualified health professional. If diabetes is not properly controlled, the consequences can be life-threatening. Also inform your physician about any herbs, supplements, or natural treatments you are using, because some may interact with the medications you are taking and result in hypoglycemia unless properly coordinated. Consider keeping track of your herbs, vitamins, and supplements with the Supplement Diary and giving your doctor a copy.
Vitamins that may help with Diabetes
Chromium is one example of an essential trace mineral that plays an important role in carbohydrate and fat metabolism and helps body cells properly respond to insulin. In fact, studies have found low levels of chromium in people with diabetes.
There are many promising studies suggesting chromium supplementation may be effective, but they are far from conclusive. For example, a small study published in the journal Diabetes Care compared the diabetes medication sulfonylurea taken with 1,000 mcg of chromium to sulfonylurea taken with a placebo. After 6 months, people who did not take chromium had a significant increase in body weight, body fat, and abdominal fat, whereas people taking the chromium had significant improvements in insulin sensitivity.
Magnesium is a mineral found naturally in foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains and in nutritional supplements. Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions. It helps regulate blood sugar levels and is needed for normal muscle and nerve function, heart rhythm, immune function, blood pressure, and for bone health.
Some studies suggest that low magnesium levels may worsen blood glucose control in type 2 diabetes. There is also some evidence that magnesium supplementation may help with insulin resistance. For example, a study examined the effect of magnesium or placebo in 63 people with type 2 diabetes and low magnesium levels who were taking the medication glibenclamide. After 16 weeks, people who took magnesium had improved insulin sensitivty and lower fasting glucose levels.
High doses of magnesium may cause diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, irregular heart rate, and confusion. It can interact with certain medications, such as those for osteoporosis, high blood pressure (calcium channel blockers), as well as some antibiotics, muscle relaxants, and diuretics.
A couple of studies have found that cinnamon improves blood glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes. In the first study, 60 people with type 2 diabetes were divided into six groups. Three groups took 1, 3 or 6 g of cinnamon a day and the remaining three groups consumed 1, 3 or 6 g of placebo capsules. After 40 days, all three doses of cinnamon significantly reduced fasting blood glucose, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol.
In another study, 79 people with type 2 diabetes (not on insulin therapy but treated with other diabetes medication or diet) took either a cinnamon extract (equivalent to 3 g of cinnamon powder) or a placebo capsule three times a day.
After four months, there was a slight but statistically significant reduction in fasting blood glucose levels in people who took the cinnamon (10.3%) compared with the placebo group (3.4%), however, there was no significant difference in glycosylated hemoglobin or lipid profiles. For more about ideas about what may help with diabetes, see the list below.
Red Sterol Complex
Normal blood pressure and lipid levels are important for healthy arteries, heart and blood circulation. Red Sterol Complex provides red yeast rice and plant sterols to help maintain healthy blood pressure and lipid levels. Plant sterols help maintain normal cholestrol levels. Antioxidant action protects blood lipids from oxidation.
Nutrition for Diabetes
There are many vitamins and herbs that may help with diabetes. A small selection can be found below.
NB. Diabetes is a serious condition and needs to be treated by a health care professional. Make your healthcare professional aware of any vitamins you are taking.