Natural Support for Diabetes
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are two different conditions but both
disease processes generate dangerously high blood sugar levels.
There is no “natural magic pill” to cure either type of diabetes
but there are a number of natural methods that can reduce the risk
of developing diabetes and minimize the complications of
With either type of diabetes is it imperative that you follow your
doctor’s instructions regarding diet, exercise and medication. If
you would like to supplement your current regime with natural
health care methods, be sure to discuss your choices with your
doctor before making any changes. Please exercise caution and
always work together with your doctor and your natural health care
provider for the best – and safest – results.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the destruction of the beta cells in
the pancreas, the cells that produce insulin. Diet is a vital
factor in controlling blood sugar levels and limiting the damaging
side effects of type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is largely a disease of modern civilization,
caused by an unbalanced diet, obesity and lack of exercise.
Careful attention to a healthy diet is both the best prevention
and the best treatment for this type of diabetes. Vegetarian diets
are especially suited to diabetes prevention due to their high
levels of fiber and nutrients and low levels of fat and sugar.
Type 2 diabetes in particular is more prevalent among
African-Americans than other population groups. While there is
some debate as to the reason for this, this prevalence makes
nutrition all the more important for African-Americans.
A daily multivitamin/mineral supplement with extra antioxidants is
good “health insurance” for the prevention of diabetes and the
control of blood sugar levels in active diabetes. If you have type
2 diabetes caused by many years of the modern American diet, your
body will be very grateful for the extra nutrients. Just be sure
to stay within the recommended range for the supplement you’re
Mega doses of many vitamins can alter or destabilize
blood sugar metabolism. And make sure your supplement contains a
healthy dose of antioxidants to help combat the organ, circulatory
and nerve damage that diabetes can cause.
One of the most helpful supplements for diabetes is the trace
mineral chromium. Found in whole grains, nuts, fresh vegetables
and fruits, chromium is a vital factor in the body’s metabolism of
carbohydrates. Regular consumption of refined sugars can make the
body chromium-deficient, a condition that can make diabetes worse.
The most effective form of chromium is chromium picolinate, which
is easy to find wherever supplements are sold. If you already have
diabetes, consult with your doctor before beginning chromium
supplementation. Your doctor will probably ask you to monitor your
blood sugar more frequently than usual since chromium can
dramatically alter blood sugar levels. If you do not currently
have diabetes but are at risk for developing it, 400-600 mcg
(that’s micrograms, not milligrams) of chromium picolinate daily,
in conjunction with a healthy diet, can help reduce your risk.
One unique herb may help support diabetic health in several
different ways. The leaves of the South American plant Stevia
rebaudiana are 300 times as sweet as sugar, but contain virtually
no carbohydrates or calories. The dried leaf powder, powdered
extract and liquid extract are all available at health food
stores. This natural sweetener provides a safer alternative to
artificial low-calorie sweeteners for those times when you just
have to have a sweet drink or baked goods. And unlike artificial
sweeteners, stevia doesn’t break down with heat, so it is easy to
cook and bake with.
For many people, stevia helps reduce the desire or craving for
sweets. Stevia also appears to help the body regulate blood sugar
levels, though further research is needed to determine the
specific processes by which it produces this effect. In the
meantime, stevia is a natural, sugar-free sweetener that can help
us all curb carbohydrate consumption.
Bear in mind, just because something is natural you cannot assume
it is always safe for you. There are a few natural supplements
that diabetics should avoid. Mega doses of B vitamins and vitamin
C may inactivate insulin and should be avoided. Fish oil
supplements, often recommended for heart health, can cause blood
sugar levels to rise. And the amino acid cysteine can interfere
with the absorption of insulin into the body’s cells. When
choosing natural supplements, it is always best to work with your
doctor and a natural health care provider who is familiar with
There are a number of safe, natural supplements that can help the
body regulate blood sugar, reduce the risk of diabetic
complications and support overall health. Combined with a healthy
diet, they can prevent diabetes or aid in its treatment. Talk with
your health care providers to find the best solution for your good
Rev.Laura Perry,N.D. is a holistic health consultant in
Woodstock,Georgia. She can be reached by phone at 678.445 0357,or
via the web at