Common Alternative Diabetes Treatment Therapies

June 22, 2012 0 Comments

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects millions of people. While some diabetics require insulin, oral medications or surgery to manage their illness, others use alternative diabetes treatment therapies. Dietary supplements are a common alternative treatment for diabetes.

Alternative medicine is actually a group of health practices outside traditional medicine. Along with healthy lifestyle changes, natural therapies can be very effective for controlling the symptoms of diabetes. People who use alternative therapies should keep their doctors informed. This will help them adjust medical treatments, if necessary.

All forms of diabetes impair the body’s ability to convert food into energy. A diabetic’s body does not make enough insulin to move this energy, in the form of sugar, through the cells. This causes a sugar buildup in the blood. Diabetics can often control their blood sugar level with a careful diet and doctor-approved alternative remedies.

Numerous natural substances show great promise for diabetes management, including antioxidants, minerals, herbs and botanicals. Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), chromium, omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols are just a few of the many supplements used to treat diabetes. Some studies show that caffeine, cinnamon, flaxseed, ginseng, glucomannan, magnesium and guar gum are also effective for diabetes.

Alpha-lipoic acid, chromium, omega-3 and polyphenols have been studied extensively through scientific research and clinical trials. Researchers have examined ALA, an antioxidant, for its effect on sugar metabolism, insulin sensitivity and diabetic nerve disorders. People who use ALA as an alternative diabetes treatment must monitor their blood sugar carefully. ALA can bring the level too low.

The body requires chromium to function properly. However, food sources supply only a small amount of this essential trace mineral. Some diabetics take chromium supplements to manage their blood sugar. Too much chromium, like ALA, can cause blood sugar to plummet. Careful monitoring is essential with this alternative treatment.

Omega-3, polyunsaturated fatty acids, come from fish and vegetable oils, nuts and wheat germ. Known to guard against heart disease, omega-3 fatty acids may also lower cholesterol, triglyceride and blood sugar levels. Researchers continue to study the effects of omega-3 on blood sugar management and heart disease risks for people with diabetes.

Polyphenols, antioxidants found in dark chocolate and tea, are thought to protect against heart disease. New research shows they may also benefit insulin activity and blood sugar control. Some diabetics use green tea or green tea supplements as alternative therapy.

People with any form of diabetes must keep their blood sugar level in check. This may require prescription drugs, insulin or both. However, not all diabetics need medical treatment. For those with Type 2 diabetes, the basic management tools are healthy eating, regular exercise and blood sugar monitoring.

Dietary supplements and other alternative treatments may help diabetics manage their symptoms better. Some national health organizations are funding research on other alternative therapies, such as yoga and Reiki. These studies are examining the effects of alternative medicine on diabetic symptoms, nerve disorders and various body functions.

Diabetes is a long-term, chronic condition that can be difficult and frustrating to live with. People who stick with their diabetes treatment — whether it is conventional, alternative, or both — are more likely to see a positive difference in their health and quality of life.

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