Alternative Treatments for Diabetes: Facts and Options

By Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus has an increasingly important in the public health domain. The sedentary lifestyle has made more people at increased risk for developing this lifetime disease. Once an individual is diagnosed with this disease, he/she is dependent upon treatment and lifestyle change for the rest of his/her life. Many alternative treatments for diabetes have been proposed, mostly based upon the folk treatment practices.

Alove Vera as Alternative Treatments for Diabetes (YouTube)

Aloe Vera as Alternative Treatments for Diabetes (YouTube)

Important Facts about Alternative Treatments for Diabetes

Some of the ingredients used as alternative treatments for diabetes have been the objects of aggressive studies, but some are limited to traditional practices, if not local wisdom. Medically, the  diabetes mellitus patients can be managed with insulin injections, but many of them choose to use complementary therapies, which target not only the body but also the mind.

The modern medical technology does acknowledge the existence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies. However, before choosing to begin CAM therapies, you need to recognize that some of the ingredients used for alternative treatments are supported by limited, if any, evidence. In addition, “natural” ingredients may interfere with the medications prescribed by the physician.

Besides herbs, supplements are also classified into CAM therapies.  you need to give the physician complete information on the alternative therapies you are taking. This is to avoid the unnecessary adverse effects related to drug reactions. The following are some statements of American Diabetes Association related to the supplements used as alternative treatments for diabetes.

  • No evidence is available to support the suggestion that vitamins and supplements are beneficial for diabetic individuals, unless they have vitamin deficiencies.
  • Long-term supplementation of antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E as well as carotene may be associated with safety concerns.
  • No adequate evidence is available to support that EPA and DHA supplements are beneficial for patients of diabetes and vascular diseases
  • No adequate evidence is available to support that nutrients, such as magnesium, cinnamon, chromium, and even Vitamin D, aid in diabetes management and treatment.
Cinnamon as herbal ingredients for diabetes (Oolwomen)

Cinnamon as herbal ingredients for diabetes (Oolwomen)

Options of Traditional Ingredients as Alternative Treatments for Diabetes

Below are some traditional ingredients, which are popularly used as alternative treatments for diabetes. However, make sure to consult your physician before taking them or to inform your doctor if you are taking one of them:

  • Garlic; it is one of popular traditional herbs used for diabetes. However, minimal evidence is available on its effects in diabetic individuals. Some clinical trials found no changes in insulin levels and blood sugar after supplementation with garlic;
  • Cinnamon; the available studies on this ingredients showed inconsistent results. Even if it has benefits for diabetes mellitus, they are minimal;
  • Aloe Vera; this household plant is usually taken in gel or oral supplement. It has burn relief effects. Clinical trials found that it helped lowering blood sugar, but not for long-term use.
  • Ginseng; this Chinese herb must be used with care, as clinical trials showed that it interacted with medications, such as warfarin.

Despite limited evidence, use of alternative treatments for diabetes may be related mind therapies. The diabetic individuals may feel it safe to use “all-natural” therapies, and this may be related to decreased level of stress because of the debilitating disease.

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