There are many lifestyle changes, supplements and herbs for diabetes that can help diabetics live a better life. Diabetes in the US has doubled in the last ten years and is a growing problem. There are over 23 million people, 7.8% of the population, who are diabetic in the US according to the American Diabetes Association.
Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the US, clearly a warning sign that something needs to change. Most herbs that are thought to help diabetics are ones that lower blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and stabilize blood sugar levels or act as antioxidants.
Bitter melon is thought to increase insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels. Bitter melon is also thought to improve the immune system. Bitter melon is not recommended for pregnant women and side effects of bitter melon include diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain or headache.
A study done in the Philippines revealed that a 100 milligram per kilo dose per day is comparable to 2.5 milligrams of the anti-diabetes drug Glibenclamide taken twice per day.
Magnesium may help pre-diabetics hold off 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. It is also thought by many that magnesium supplementation may improve insulin sensitivity. The RDA, Recommended Daily Allowance, of magnesium is 6mg.
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 over excitement. 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.
Supplements and herbs for diabetes can be found at every health food store and most supermarkets. But which ones work? How do you know if they are safe? Have any of these been tested, or do doctors prescribe these in conjunction with medications?
While there is a lot of data available on herbs for diabetes, there isn’t enough data on most herbs to say that they will work or replace a traditional medical approach. The NIH states that, “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.” So, exercise, eat right and take care of yourself. While herbs and supplements can be helpful to many, make sure you discuss your plans with your doctor before trying any herbs or supplements.