Does Alternative Medicine Help Cure Diabetes?

Health treatment not classified as standard western medical practice, is termed ‘alternative.’ Alternative treatment deals with a variety of disciplines including diet, exercise, measures for mental conditioning and possible lifestyle changes.

Types of Alternative therapy and use in diabetic treatment

Type2 diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that affects the health, quality of life and life expectancy of patients. While physical exercise, diet and weight control are effective means of improving glucose homeostasis, individuals with diabetes sometimes find compliance difficult or boring. Conventional drug therapies like oral glucose-lowering agents and insulin injection may be necessary in many patients, but the dependence on these and adverse effects of drug treatments turn many people away to trying alternative medicines that can help maintain euglycemia, thereby avoiding late stage diabetic complications.

Alternative approach/medicine in diabetes

Medicinal herbs with anti-hyperglycemic activities are growing in popularity after patients and health care professionals have observed their success. The attraction of alternative medicines lies in their use of commonly grown herbs, which reduce the side effects of conventional approaches for type 2 diabetes.

Kinds of alternative medicine used to treat Diabetes, what they contain

  • Supplements and weight control substances are the most highly sought after alternative medicines to control blood sugar levels. Magnesium has long been a form of alternative therapy to improve glucose control in people with diabetes and lack of it has been associated with insulin secretion abnormalities and diabetes complications.
  • Vanadium derived from plant sources, has shown to increase a person’s sensitivity to insulin, but official medical recommendations for Vanadium providing significant supplementation to diabetics is open to debate.
  • Plant Foods that have helped people with type2 diabetes are Brewer’s yeast, Buckwheat, Broccoli, Okra, Peas, Fenugreek seeds and Sage. Since most plant foods are rich in fiber, it may be the reason why these are beneficial for controlling blood glucose levels.
  • Weight Control Substances are used for obese people with diabetes as excess weight and diabetes have proven links. Thus, many people turn to alternative medicines in the hope of receiving help with weight loss issues. These substances may include Chitosan, hydroxy citric acid, chromium, Germander, Momordica charanta and Aristolochic acid.
  • Trans-dermal/skin patch systems and oral sprays are other alternative medicines in diabetes treatment. These are known appetite-suppressants, which reduce hunger pangs and facilitate weight loss. However, their authenticity and efficacy is yet to be established.

Tips for those considering alternative medicine in diabetes

The doctor needs to be taken into confidence before any person with diabetes considers using alternative medicines, including herbal products. If case of developing symptoms/side effects like nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, insomnia or skin rashes, the user needs to stop taking the product immediately and seek a doctor’s advice. While selecting a brand of alternative medicine, it is advisable to purchase brands listing the herb’s common and scientific name, details of the manufacturer, batch and lot number, expiry date, dosage guidelines and potential side effects.