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According to the American Diabetes Association, a little over 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from diabetes—that’s about 34 million adults, 7 million of whom are undiagnosed. Given the prevalence of this chronic disease in our society, it’s not surprising that diabetes is one of the most researched conditions in American medicine. Here’s a few highlights of recent studies that show which dietary supplements are most effective in helping prevent and treat diabetes.
Zinc & Curcumin
A study of 82 people compared zinc and curcumin as diabetes supplements with a placebo among a group of 82 people diagnosed with prediabetes. Those in the study were divided into 4 treatment groups: zinc only, curcumin only, a combination of the two, or a placebo. They were also instructed to follow a reduced-calorie diet and to exercise.
After 90 days, the greatest reduction in markers of diabetes risk occurred among those taking a combination of zinc and curcumin, with the next-best results among those taking only zinc. The combination and zinc groups also saw reductions in Body Mass Index (BMI).
Green Tea Extract
Peripheral neuropathy—numbness and pain in the extremities—is a common complication of diabetes, but a study shows that green tea extract may help. The effect of the extract was compared with a placebo in a group of 194 type 2 diabetics suffering from neuropathy. Standard tests of neuropathy severity were done at the beginning of the study and after 4, 8, and 16 weeks of supplementation with a green tea extract or a placebo. Improvement in the green tea group, compared with placebo, became apparent after 8 weeks. After 16 weeks, the benefits of green tea increased further.
Earlier studies found that drinking green tea or taking green tea extract can lower blood sugar and reduce risk for type 2 diabetes.
More Research-Backed Remedies
Studies show that this mineral can improve blood-sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity, and it improves levels of cholesterol and triglycerides without adverse effects. A daily dose of 200 mcg is often recommended.
Research shows that this herb lowers blood sugar by increasing production of insulin. The most noticeable effects have occurred among diabetics with the highest levels of blood sugar. Follow label directions for dosages.
A review of studies, published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, found that aloe supplements lowered levels of blood sugar in people with both prediabetes and diabetes. The greatest reductions were seen in people with the highest blood-sugar levels.
A review of studies with more than 600 people, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that probiotics lower blood sugar and improve insulin function among diabetics. Take a supplement with a variety of beneficial bacteria.
Biotin and vitamin B1
These B vitamins stand out for their roles in maintaining normal blood sugar levels. Your body needs biotin to make insulin, and also regulates genes involved in the metabolism of glucose. Large amounts of biotin can lower triglyceride levels, and a combination of biotin and chromium picolinate has been shown to lower blood sugar. Vitamin B1 (100 mg, three times daily) has been shown to lower levels of protein in the urine in people with type 2 diabetes.