Q & A Library
Managing Diabetes with Supplements?
What supplements or herbs can help control diabetes? Are commercially available combinations of supplements effective for controlling blood sugar?
Answer (Published 10/10/2003)
(Originally published 11/15/2002)
November is American Diabetes Month so the timing of your question couldn't be better. I assume that you're referring to type 2 diabetes that mostly affects adults and is less severe than type 1 (juvenile) diabetes that must be treated with regular insulin injections. Exercise, diet and various supplements can help control type 2 diabetes and may help those with type 1 reduce their insulin requirements. Bear in mind, however, that supplements alone aren't enough: regular exercise (at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity daily) is the single most important thing you can do to control your disease.
Diet is also crucial. Since being overweight causes cells to become resistant to insulin in many people, losing weight can make a big difference in successfully managing diabetes. In addition, try to keep your blood sugar in a healthy range by eating small frequent meals. Learn about the glycemic index of carbohydrate foods and choose foods that are low on that scale. Mostly that means avoiding refined and processed carbs. Also learn about glycemic load.
I'm unaware of evidence showing that any commercially available combination of supplements provides effective control of blood sugar. However, I do recommend several individual supplements:
The following botanicals can help, too. Take them all in extract form and follow the dosage directions on the packages:
Andrew Weil, M.D.
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