Herbs and Supplements for Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, which used to be called adult onset diabetes, is on the rise. This condition occurs when the body becomes insulin resistant or doesn’t produce enough so that blood sugar levels become unbalanced.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100 million U.S. adults have diabetes or prediabetes. The number of Americans with prediabetes, which can develop into diabetes, is estimated to be 84 million and most of these folks are not aware they have the disease.

Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, can be prevented and even reversed, say many experts, with simple lifestyle changes and intervention. Sometimes, herbs and supplements can help. According to Healthline, these should never take the place of your treatment, however.

Here are some suggestions:

  • B-Vitamins. Suzy Cohen, R.Ph., author of “Diabetes Without Drugs,” recommends B Complex vitamins found in leafy greens or in supplements to help treat painful neuropathy in the body. “The B vitamins help form myelin, the protective coating on your nerves,” she explains. According to Healthline, many people with diabetes are deficient in B-1, which is linked to heart disease and blood vessel damage.
  • Cinnamon. Cohen says that a new meta-analysis, which reviews many pieces of scientific analysis, concludes that supplementation with cinnamon reduces blood sugar levels significantly.
  • Curcumin. Another way to battle diabetes is by taking the spice curcumin. An article in FSP Health and Fitness showed data by Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Communications demonstrating that curcumin, a component of the popular East Asian spice turmeric, is 400 times more powerful than the common diabetes drug metformin in improving insulin sensitivity and helping to reverse type 2 diabetes. The study also found that the spice helped lower blood sugar levels and was able to reverse many issues related to decreased insulin sensitivity, such as vision loss.
  • Chromium. This trace element helps metabolize carbohydrates but should be taken in low doses, according to Healthline. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that taking chromium supplements lowered the risk of having type 2 diabetes by reducing blood glucose and insulin levels.
  • Green tea. Green tea contains polyphenols that are antioxidants and help prevent type 2 diabetes, according to Healthline. The main antioxidant is called EGCG and helps improve glucose control and insulin activity.
  • Magnesium. This essential mineral helps regulate blood pressure as well as insulin sensitivity and can be a valuable supplement for those suffering from diabetes. People with diabetes are most likely to be magnesium deficient than people without the disease, according to Everyday Health. Magnesium plays a critical role in over 300 chemical functions of the body, and increasing your intake may decrease your risk of getting diabetes and reduce your risk of complications if you do have the disease.
  • Onions and garlic. Dr. Michael Murray, one of the world’s leading authorities on natural medicine and the author of “The Diabetes Prevention Program,” says eating allium herbs such as garlic and onions has been shown to lower blood sugar levels in several studies and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease at the same time.

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