September 17, 2010

Natural treatments for diabetes. (Not a cure) Part 1

The following information is for your reading and is not a cure. I am not endorsing any of these herbs, supplements, or natural remedies.

I am constantly seeing information about this or that natural remedy or supposed cure for diabetes, but I am getting so tired of the emails and constant bombardment by snake oil salespeople and their instant cures. Their constant stream of lies and enticements are indeed interesting, but under analysis are so false and not based on any form of scientific evidence. The supposed endorsers are so obviously paid to say what they are told, that you can't trust them.

In these cases I will fall back on the saying that a fool and his money are soon parted. Before I get carried away venting about these crooks (and some are doctors that should have their license pulled), I would like to cover a few items that may help those with diabetes. I say may, because many people do not derive any benefit, but a few do receive short-term benefits. I am not sure why, but there may be something in their body chemistry that was needed which the supplement, vitamin, or herb supplies to restore some balance, thus the short-term benefit.

Some items are said to have longer benefits, but there are no studies to prove this or scientific evidence to support these claims. What studies exist for some of the following items are either poorly designed, not all that conclusive, or done with such a small sample of people that it makes them suspect. Most of the natural remedies do not get much financial support for studies because there is little profit to do so.

This is important!!! WARNING If you are taking supplements or anything that is not prescribed by the doctor, please make sure that the doctor is informed. Some of the supplements when taken with oral medications and/or insulin can cause hypoglycemia or have toxic results, even cause death.

This is important enough to tell you to maintain a Supplement Diary of every herb, vitamin, and supplement you are taking and give a copy to your doctor. I am aware that many people do not feel this is important, but the consequences for persons with diabetes can have severe medical implications.

Of the items covered in this blog, I use vinegar, cinnamon, and magnesium, but not as supplements. I just use them as they come to me in different foods or as part of a recipe. Yes, I do seek out the foods rich in some of these items, especially the magnesium.

Vitamin K:
A Dutch study has found that Vitamin K (K1 and K2) may have lowered the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Like so many studies, they want more studies and say nothing about being any help for those of us who already have type 2. About all the study is good for is disputing the American minimum daily requirement.

I will refer here to a previous blog about vinegar. I have not seen or found any more than I have referenced in that blog.

I will admit that more studies are emerging that show cinnamon has some benefits. This 12 week study only involves 22 people. I am not sure that this gives enough conclusive evidence to prove real benefit, but the different studies are continuing to add to the body of evidence for this spice. Another blog about another study appeared on October 10, 2006 with 60 men and women. No one has yet determined the length of the benefit on cinnamon, just the short-term benefits for small numbers.

Chromium or chromium picolinate:
One of the more (to my understanding) beneficial supplements is chromium, there are some health warnings about chromium picolinate. While this is a trace element that has an effect on insulin production, many people are overdosing with this supplement and may be causing some harm to their systems. What is it that people do not understand about the word trace element. Only a small amount should be used and probably not on a consistent basis. This article is very informative and clearly states that little information is available on the safety of chromium. Other studies have not confirmed the benefits.

The North American ginseng shows in the studies to be the best form of ginseng for benefits for those of us with diabetes in that it may improve blood sugar control. While again, not enough studies have been done, there are indications it may have some benefits.

Studies here do indicate that low magnesium levels may make blood glucose control more difficult and that proper levels may help with insulin resistance. A fellow blogger has written a blog (sorry, link is broken) about magnesium and you should read it and the comments.

This mineral comes with some warnings about over use and the side effects that it can cause. There are also some problems with heart medications so use only under a doctors supervision.
End of Part 1 of 4.

1 comment:

Gran said...

Good post, Bob. I love vinegar and cinnamon, but like you I just use them as I see fit on my food, not in a supplement sort of way.