Many people with diabetes attempt to control their blood sugars naturally without the use of pharmaceutical medications. The overall Glucotrust pill should be to keep blood sugars within a safe range. This will help to reduce the complications that are associated with poorly controlled blood sugars.
It is very important however to work closely with your physician if you consider using any form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (also known as CAM) If you have already been started on prescription medications, this should not replace conventional medicine.
If you choose to use CAM be certain that your doctor is conversant with the different supplements that you are using.
The following is a summary of studied CAM therapies that may be of benefit in the management of diabetes. I do recommend these as complementary therapy in my practice, but do not necessarily endorse this as exclusively as a way to treat diabetes.
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID: (ALA also known as lipoic acid or thioctic acid) is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help protect the cells from damage by free radicals. ALA is unique in the way that it works. Compared to other antioxidants that may work in water such as vitamin C or fats such as vitamin E, ALA works both ways. Levels of alpha lipoic acid begin to decline with age. Because ALA may lower the blood sugars drastically, it is important to monitor blood sugars closely when on this supplement.
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS: These are fats that are unsaturated. They are commonly called Fish oils. They are much harder to come by in our diets. They are present in small concentrations in leafy vegetables, seeds and nuts such as walnuts, flax seed, and hemp. Omega 3 fatty acids are more commonly found in fish such as Wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, tuna, and mackerel.
Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids lower triglycerides, however they do not affect the sugar control or total cholesterol. Triglyceride levels are usually elevated in diabetes and have been found to increase the risk for heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements appear to be safe in low to moderate doses. Due to safety concerns about some species of fish contaminated by mercury and pesticides and PCB, I strongly recommend that only supplements that have been certified by NNFA or GNP be purchased. Or simply that there is certification on the product label that the supplement is free of mercury or other contaminants.
It is very important to let your doctor know that you are taking omega-3 fatty acids as they may interact with certain prescription medications and also increase your risk for bleeding during surgery.
CHROMIUM: Chromium is a trace mineral. This means that the body requires small amounts of it. It is found in small amounts in meat, whole grain products and some fruits and vegetables. Some people take chromium supplements in an attempt to control blood sugars, however to date studies have been mixed. Some studies showed a benefit whilst others did not. At low doses it may be of benefit, however as with any other supplements, it may lower blood sugars too low. In high does, chromium can lead to kidney problems.
POLPYPHENOLS: These are antioxidants that are found in tea and also dark chocolate. They may have positive effects on the circulation and also blood pressure. A polyphenol called EGCG that is found in green tea that has been found to protect against heart disease. Studies performed by the national center for complementary and alternative medicine have not confirmed this to be of benefit in diabetics. However, there were no bad side effects noted in the study. Overall green tea in moderate amounts has been found to safe in adults.
CINNAMON: Cinnamon has also been researched as possibly lowering blood sugar levels.Cinnamon may have an insulin-like effect. The most often-cited scientific study on the effects of cinnamon and diabetes was published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2003. Individuals in the cinnamon group were noted to have reductions in their glucose by up to 29% and this was found to last up to 40 days after they had stopped taking cinnamon. They also found a change in the cholesterol and also the triglyceride levels which was an additional benefit. The down side is that this effect was not replicated in another study carried out in Germany. There are also some concerns that some forms of cinnamon may contain a compound called coumarin that is a blood thinner and interfere with the ability of the body to clot.