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Do Supplements Work for Diabetes?

Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were a side-effect free, all-natural pill or powder that would, in one fell swoop, improve your A1c, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure? A diabetes super-herb, taken twice a day with meals?

While a diabetes cure-all is a pipe dream, scientists are hard at work studying herbs and supplements that show different degrees of promise in the treatment of diabetes and its array of associated conditions. The research is exciting, and your doctor may be willing to work with you to find something that helps. But remember: Dietary supplements are not regulated like drugs are, and extra vigilance on the part of the consumer is crucial. Get expert advice before popping anything new into your regimen.

Now, let's see what you know!

Important Note: There is limited scientific evidence on the effectiveness of most dietary supplements for type 2 diabetes. A possible exception may be the use of omega-3 fatty acids to lower triglyceride levels. It is very important not to replace conventional medical therapy for diabetes with dietary supplements. To ensure a safe and coordinated course of care, inform your diabetes care team about any dietary supplements you are using or considering.

Supplements can interact with various prescription medications, affecting the action of the medications. People with type 2 diabetes need to know about these risks and discuss them with their health care provider. In addition, prescribed medicines may need to be adjusted if a person is also using dietary supplements.

SOURCE: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Research Report: Treating Type 2 Diabetes with Dietary Supplements (PDF). (Accessed 5/7/08.)

Click here to download a printable PDF version of this quiz.

Reviewed by Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDE, CDN 07/14.

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