Wednesday’s Ask Dr. Walt — Supplements for Diabetes

Dear Dr. Walt,

Which supplements can help lower or control my blood sugar?  

—Diabetic in Virginia

Dear Sweet Reader,

Many different supplements may help lower or control blood sugar in people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes who experience hyperglycemia (when blood glucose rises higher than normal).

But, due to the seriousness of hyperglycemia, it is important to consult with your personal physician or pharmacist regarding use of these supplements.

According to the experts at the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, here are a few of the supplements that are possibly effective in treating diabetes:

  • alpha lipoic acid,
  • American ginseng,
  • astragalus,
  • berberine,
  • fenugreek,
  • flaxseed,
  • milk thistle,
  • Siberian ginseng, and
  • soy.

But, before considering any of these, you want to be sure that you’re on a nutritious diet. I always refer my diabetics and prediabetics to a dietician for a consultation.

You also want to be on a healthy exercise regimen (even if it’s just daily walking).

In addition, healthy people consuming a moderate amount of olive oil or who are on a Mediterranean type diet may improve glucose metabolism.

Also, increasing dietary fiber, especially insoluble fiber from cereal and grains, is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes and has been shown to reduce fasting blood glucose and modestly lower HbA1c in people with type 2 diabetes.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that “diets providing 30 to 50 g fiber per day from whole food sources consistently produce lower serum glucose levels compared to a low-fiber diet.”

So, the bottom line is diet and exercise first. Talk to you personal physician next.

Don’t try these supplements without his or her supervision.


© Copyright WLL, INC. 2017. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.