Many people appear to be dissatisfied with conventional diabetic therapy and have turned to complimentary and alternative health care. What the consumer has to understand is that diabetes is a chronic disorder and there is no magic bullet anywhere. The only way to prevent complications of diabetes is by better sugar control.
The role of complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes is not clear cut. There are many reports of health supplements decreasing blood sugars but all the reports are anecdotal. Controlled or randomized trials are lacking and there is no scientific proof that these supplements work. The one health supplement, which has been shown to be beneficial, is omega 3 fatty acids. This substance does not directly affect blood sugars but does help lower blood cholesterol and even helps reduce high blood pressure.
All consumers should know that health supplements bought in food stores should not be a replacement for the standard diabetic medications. It is unsafe to replace your insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents with alternative health care supplements without first consulting with your physician.
It is vital that anyone who uses or is thinking of using alternative health care supplements discuss the issue with their health care provider. This is to ensure safety and proper management of diabetes.
Most alternative health care supplements have been around for decades and overall most are safe when used at low doses by healthy people. However, at high doses there is always the potential of interacting with conventional medicines. Type 2 diabetics must be aware that other herbs, nutrients or supplements can alter the blood sugars- make them either too high or too low. If this happens, the doses of the conventional drugs must be adjusted.
Finally, the majority of alternative health care is unregulated. Both the product quality and quantity vary from place to place. Fake and counterfeit products are not unheard of. There have been many reported cases of actual drug contaminants in the health supplements to mimic conventional drugs.