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The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at NIH (National Institute of Health) recently published information about if dietary supplements help control type 2 diabetes. Overall, they concluded there is not enough scientific evidence to show that any dietary supplement can help manage or prevent type 2 diabetes.




Magnesium is essential to the body’s ability to process glucose. Magnesium deficiency has been associated with diabetes. A large 2007 clinical trial, found an association between a higher intake of cereal fiber and magnesium and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


If you have too little chromium in your diet, your body can’t use glucose efficiently. However, studies, including a 2007 systematic review, have found few or no benefits of chromium supplements for controlling diabetes or reducing the risk of developing it. In addition, Chromium supplements may cause stomach pain and bloating.




A 2012 systematic review of 10 randomized controlled trials did not support using cinnamon for type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In addition, When researchers tested samples of the common spice cassia cinnamon for sale at grocery stores in Europe, they found many samples contained coumarin, a substance that may cause or worsen liver disease in people who are sensitive.


A few studies have examined the herbs Asian ginseng and American ginseng and their effects on controlling glucose levels. Currently, research reviews and clinical trials show that there is not enough evidence to support the use of the herbs Asian ginseng and American ginseng for diabetes.


NCCAM emphasized that interactions between herbs and conventional diabetes drugs have not been well studied and could be a health risk.


Other Supplements


Alpha-lipoic acid and vitamin E supplements taken separately or in combination did not improve cholesterol levels or the body’s response to insulin in a 2011 clinical trial of 102 people with type 2 diabetes.


A 2011 clinical trial of 467 participants with type 2 diabetes found that 600 milligrams of alpha-lipoic acid daily did not prevent diabetic macular edema, an eye condition that causes blurred vision. High doses of alpha-lipoic acid can cause nausea, upset stomach, fatigue, and insomnia.


A 2012 study that combined a meta-analysis and a systematic review looked at the possible link between eating seafood or plants with omega-3s and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  The study found little evidence that these dietary sources of omega-3s affected the risk of developing diabetes.


Omega-3 supplements may extend bleeding time. Besides, Omega-3 supplements usually do not have negative side effects. When side effects do occur, they typically consist of minor gastrointestinal symptoms, such as belching, indigestion, or diarrhea.


The evidence is still preliminary on the effects on diabetes of polyphenols—antioxidants found in plant-based foods such as fruits, grains, and vegetables.



Source: NCCAM Clinical Digest