There are many lifestyle changes, supplements and herbs for diabetes that my allow diabetics to live a more comfortable life. Diabetes in the United States has doubled in the last ten years, and is a growing problem with over 23 million people diagnosed. In fact, 7.8% of the population of the US is diabetic, according to the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes is an insidious disease and is now the sixth leading cause of death in the US, clearly a wake up call that something needs to change. Most supplements and herbs that are supposed to be helpful to diabetics are ones that lower blood sugar or stabilize blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity or act as antioxidants.
Bitter melon is has been used to lower blood sugar levels and enhance insulin sensitivity. It is also believed to strengthen the immune system. Bitter melon is not recommended for pregnant women and the side effects of ingesting high doses of bitter melon include diarrhea, fever, headaches or abdominal pain. A study in the Philippines discovered that a 100 milligram per kilo dose per day of bitter melon is equivalent to taking 2.5 milligrams of the drug Glibenclamide two times a day.
It is believed that magnesium may assist pre-diabetics to avoid or delay the onset of diabetes. “Eating foods rich in magnesium such as whole grains, nuts, and leafy green vegetables may prove to be a cost-effective approach to reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes…”, according to JAMA. Some think magnesium supplements may also improve insulin sensitivity. The RDA, Recommended Daily Allowance, of magnesium is 6mg. Most Americans are not getting enough magnesium in their diet.
Alpha Lipoic Acid is sometimes used to control blood sugar levels as it is a powerful antioxidant. High doses of ALA can lead to fatigue, insomnia, and overexcitement. Most sources recommend not taking more than 50 mg a day unless under the care of a physician.
Other supplements and herbs for diabetes include Spirulina, which is supposed to help stabilize blood sugar, chromium picolinate which is supposed to improve the ability of insulin to lower blood sugar and garlic which is thought to enhance immunity and reduce blood sugar levels, as well as increase circulation. Diabetics should also get regular exercise as it also helps to stabilize blood sugar. Some diabetics may actually have food allergies that are causing them to have weight problems. It makes sense to have a food allergy test, including testing for corn which is ever present in American processed food and difficult to pinpoint by people as a result.
Nearly every health food store and many supermarkets carry supplements and herbs for diabetes. It is difficult to tell which ones work or to know which ones are safe. There is some information on herbs for diabetes, but most herbs and supplements have not been tested enough to say they can replace current medical approaches. Eating right and exercising are still very important to maintain health, especially for diabetics. “Scientists have identified specific genes that make people more likely to develop insulin resistance and diabetes. Excess weight and lack of physical activity also contribute to insulin resistance” (Source: NIH). Herbs and supplements can be helpful to many diabetics, but be sure to discuss your any herbs or supplements you are taking with your doctor.