Once you are a confirmed diabetic, you will need medicine. Only a doctor can prescribe the right medication to control type 2 diabetes.
But you can do your bit, despite genetics and heredity.
Many people with prediabetes have reduced their blood sugar levels significantly using only diet and exercise. If you are at a high risk of diabetes, you can check or monitor your blood sugar levels regularly with an accurate glucometer for home use. This can help you prevent or at least control type 2 diabetes.
What is Type-2 Diabetes?
Type-2 Diabetes has no known cure. At best, it may be delayed, prevented, managed, monitored and controlled.
It is also a silent killer.
The early signs of type 2 are subtle. It is progressive and triggered when it:
- either resists the effects of insulin (a hormone made in the pancreas), or
- doesn’t produce enough insulin.
This makes your blood sugar levels unstable. Prediabetes gradually gets worse with age, weight, and lifestyle choices. Once known as adult-onset diabetes, type 2 is now more prevalent in young adults and children who are obese. Gone are the days when type 2 diabetics were over 35 or 40. This is why more and more people are turning to preventive herbal remedies when it comes to diabetes.
What happens when you cannot control type 2 diabetes with only diet and exercise?
Following a healthy diet plan, regular physical activity and maintaining the right weight are some of the best natural ways of managing prediabetes and diabetes initially. But when that is not enough to keep your sugar levels balanced, a doctor can recommend medication that is best for the patient.
Alternative treatments can also help control diabetes by reducing the patient’s resistance to insulin and avoiding diabetes-related complications. Many prediabetics are known to have successfully attempted to use herbal remedies and diabetes supplements to help lower blood sugar, both for fasting and post-meal levels.
What supplements help control type 2 diabetes?
An increasing number of people are embracing alternative medicine, including herbal supplements. But supplements should not replace standard medical treatment for diabetes. Some supplements show more promise in animal studies for diabetes. However, human research is still limited. Several studies have been done on supplements, some with reasonably positive results.
Here is a list of the best vitamins and more which can delay and prevent diabetes. They are all natural and easily found in India. Many Indians have successfully used Ayurveda and herbs as an alternative medicine to control prediabetes and prevent type 2 diabetes:
- Green Tea
- Aloe Vera
- Bitter Melon
- Milk Thistle
- Holy Basil
- Bee Pollen
- Vitamin B1
Indians and Chinese have been using organic spices as a medicinal remedy for treating diabetes for centuries. Cinnamon is particularly potent for lowering blood glucose levels. A 2011 study also suggests that consuming whole cinnamon or the extract can help lower fasting blood glucose levels, thus treat and control type 2 diabetes naturally.
2. Vitamin B1
B vitamins are essential for cell functions and energy, and most diabetes patients are deficient in B1. Vitamin B1 (thiamine) plays an important role in diabetes-related complications. Low thiamine is also associated with cardiovascular disease and can damage blood vessels. It is interesting that Vitamin B1 is water soluble, but Benfotiamine, a supplemental form of thiamine, is lipid-soluble so that it can penetrate cell membranes easily.
Magnesium is essential because your body uses the mineral for hundreds of cellular functions. Magnesium supplements may improve hypertension and insulin sensitivity in diabetics. Diets rich in magnesium not only reduce the risk of diabetes.
Chromium is an essential trace element. It is used by the body in the metabolism of carbohydrates and sugars. But studies on chromium for treating diabetes gives mixed results. In low doses it is safe, but the risks of consuming too much chromium outweigh the benefits. Sugar levels can drop too low, and it can also cause kidney damage.
5. Green Tea
Drinking green tea is generally considered safe, and it contains polyphenol antioxidants. But the primary antioxidant in green tea is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which provides the health benefits of green tea, such as:
- lowering heart disease risk
- preventing type 2 diabetes
- improving glucose control
- improving insulin activity
6. Bitter Melon
Bitter melon has been known to successfully treat diabetes-related conditions in Asian and South American countries. Lab and animal studies have supported this fact, but human studies are limited using bitter melon.
7. Alpha-Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a powerful antioxidant and it is available as a dietary supplement.
Studies suggest that it can lower:
- oxidative stress
- fasting blood sugar levels
- insulin resistance
However, more research on ALA is necessary because it can dramatically drop blood glucose levels. Foods that contain ALA naturally (in very small amounts), including spinach, broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, beets and red meat.
Resveratrol is a chemical compound found in wine and grapes. Animal studies show it can reduce blood sugar and oxidative stress. Again, human studies are limited, so more research needs to be done before it can be used to type 2 diabetes treatment.
A word of caution:
There is still not enough good evidence that confirms the use of herbal supplements and Alternative Medicine as effective type 2 diabetes treatments. Herbal supplements sometimes show side effects or interfere with allopathic medication.
Therefore, before you try a new herbal supplement for type 2 diabetes, it is advisable to check with your doctor, especially if you have a medical condition or take medicines. Have natural remedies helped you or someone you know with diabetes?