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Type 2 Diabetes

Also indexed as:Blood Sugar (Diabetes), Diabetes, Type 2, High Blood Sugar
Also known as adult-onset diabetes, type 2 diabetes can often be managed by carefully monitoring your diet. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful. 
  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by some in the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

SupplementAmountWhy
Alpha Lipoic Acid
600 to 1,200 mg a day3 stars[3 stars]
Taking alpha lipoic acid may improve insulin sensitivity and help protect against diabetic complications such as nerve damage.
Brewer’s Yeast
9 grams per day3 stars[3 stars]
Chromium-rich brewer’s yeast has been shown to be useful in treating type 2 diabetes in several ways, including by improving glucose tolerance.
Cayenne Topical

(Diabetic Neuropathy)
Apply an ointment containing 0.025 to 0.075% capsaicin four times a day to areas of nerve pain3 stars[3 stars]
Topically applied capsaicin (from cayenne) may help relieve nerve pain.
Chromium
200 to 1,000 mcg daily3 stars[3 stars]
Chromium has been shown to be useful in treating type 2 diabetes in several ways, including by improving glucose tolerance.
Fenugreek
2.5 to 15 grams daily3 stars[3 stars]
Fenugreek seeds are high in soluble fiber, which helps lower blood sugar by slowing down carbohydrate digestion and absorption.
Fiber
Talk to your doctor3 stars[3 stars]
Taking fiber supplements may help to stabilize your blood sugar.
Glucomannan
500 to 700 mg per 100 calories in the diet3 stars[3 stars]
Glucomannan delays stomach emptying, leading to more gradual sugar absorption and lower blood sugar levels after meals.
Magnesium
200 to 600 mg daily3 stars[3 stars]
People with type 2 diabetes tend to have low magnesium levels, supplementing with the mineral may restore levels and improve insulin production.
Psyllium
5.1 grams daily with meals3 stars[3 stars]
Supplementing with psyllium has been shown to be a safe and well-tolerated way to improve control of blood glucose and cholesterol.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine

(Diabetic Neuropathy)
500 to 1,000 mg three times daily2 stars[2 stars]
Taking acetyl-L-carnitine may improve symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
Aloe
1 Tbsp (15 ml) of gel daily2 stars[2 stars]
Aloe, either alone or in combination with the oral hypoglycemic drug glibenclamide, has been shown to effectively lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
American Ginseng
3 grams with or following meals2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with American ginseng may help improve blood sugar control.
Asian Ginseng
200 mg of herbal extract containing approximately 5 to 7% ginsenosides daily2 stars[2 stars]
Asian ginseng is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat diabetes.
Berberine

(High Cholesterol)
500 mg of berberine taken twice a day for three months2 stars[2 stars]
Berberine, a compound found in certain herbs such as goldenseal, barberry, and Oregon grape, has been found to lower serum cholesterol levels.
Bilberry
160 mg twice per day of an herbal extract containing 25% anthocyanosides2 stars[2 stars]
Bilberry may lower the risk of some diabetic complications, such as diabetic cataracts and retinopathy.
Biotin
9 to 16 mg daily2 stars[2 stars]
Biotin may improve glucose levels and reduce pain from diabetic nerve damage.
Bitter Melon
50 to 100 ml of juice daily or 5 grams three times daily of powdered fruit2 stars[2 stars]
Whole, fried slices, water extracts, and juice of bitter melon may improve blood-sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.
Cinnamon
1 to 6 grams daily2 stars[2 stars]
Cinnamon may improve glucose utilization in people with type 2 diabetes.
Coenzyme Q10
120 mg daily of a standardized herbal extract2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with CoQ10 may improve blood sugar metabolism.
Crepe Myrtle
32 or 48 mg of an herbal extract standardized to contain 1% corosolic acid2 stars[2 stars]
Crepe myrtle has been used in folk medicine to treat diabetes. It appears to work by lowering blood glucose levels.
Green Tea
Refer to label instructions 2 stars[2 stars]
A meta-analysis of several studies found that green tea consumption may improve blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity.
Gymnema
800 mg daily of an herbal extract standardized for 25% gymnemic acids2 stars[2 stars]
Gymnema may stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin and may help normalize blood sugar control in people with diabetes.
Hairy Basil
10 grams three times per day with meals2 stars[2 stars]
Taking hairy basil may help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels.
Holy Basil
1,000 to 2,500 mg daily2 stars[2 stars]
Taking holy basil may help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels.
L-Carnitine
0.25 mg per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of body weight2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with L-carnitine may reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with diabetes.
Milk Thistle
200 mg per day of silymarin 2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with silymarin (a component of milk thistle) may help lower blood sugar levels.
Multivitamin

(Infection)
Follow label instructions2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with a multivitamin–mineral may give your body the nutrients it needs to help prevent common infections.
Onion
20 grams fresh onion three times per day2 stars[2 stars]
Large amounts of onion have been shown to lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, possibly by blocking the breakdown of insulin in the liver.
Pinitol
400 mg of pinitol three times per day2 stars[2 stars]
Pinitol, a molecule found in high concentrations in soybeans and other legumes, may decrease fasting blood sugar level, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve a measure of long-term blood sugar control (hemoglobin A1c).
Pycnogenol
100 to 150 mg per day 2 stars[2 stars]
Preliminary research has suggested that Pycnogenol might help lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes and slow progression of complications such as retinopathy.
Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B12

(Diabetic Neuropathy)
Refer to label instructions 2 stars[2 stars]
Taking vitamin B1 combined with vitamin B12 may improve symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B6

(Diabetic Neuropathy)
25 mg of vitamin B1 daily, with 50 mg of vitamin B6 daily2 stars[2 stars]
Taking vitamin B1 combined with vitamin B6 may improve symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
Vitamin B12

(Diabetic Neuropathy)
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
Vitamin B12 is needed for normal nerve cell function, and supplementing with it may improve symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
Vitamin B6
1,800 mg pyridoxine alpha-ketoglutarate daily or 50 mg daily pyridoxine daily2 stars[2 stars]
People with diabetes often have low vitamin B6 levels. Supplementing with the vitamin may restore levels and improve glucose tolerance.
Vitamin C
500 mg twice per day2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with vitamin C may benefit people with type 2 diabetes in several ways, including by reducing sorbitol levels, urinary protein loss, and glycosylation.
Vitamin D

(Diabetic Neuropathy)
2,000 IU of vitamin D per day for three months2 stars[2 stars]
In a preliminary trial, supplementing with vitamin D per day significantly improved pain by almost 50% in patients with diabetic neuropathy.
Vitamin D
1,332 IU daily2 stars[2 stars]
Vitamin D is needed to maintain adequate insulin levels, and supplementing with it may improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin E

(Diabetic Neuropathy)
900 IU daily2 stars[2 stars]
Vitamin E supplementation may protect against neuropathy.
Vitamin E

(Diabetic Retinopathy)
1800 IU daily2 stars[2 stars]
Vitamin E supplementation may protect against diabetic retinopathy.
Zinc
15 to 25 mg per day2 stars[2 stars]
People with type 2 diabetes tend to be zinc deficient, supplementing with zinc may help restore levels.
Açaí
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Açaí is reported to be a traditional remedy for diabetes.
Amylase Inhibitors
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Amylase inhibitors, when given with a starchy meal, can reduce the usual rise in blood sugar levels of people with diabetes.
Evening Primrose Oil
4 grams daily1 star[1 star]
Supplementing with evening primrose oil has been found to improve nerve function and to relieve pain symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
Fish Oil
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Supplementing with fish oil may improve glucose tolerance and symptoms of diabetic neuropathy and nephropathy
Fructo-oligosaccharides
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
In one trial, supplementing with fructo-oligosaccharides significantly lowered fasting blood-sugar levels and serum total-cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Ginkgo
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Ginkgo may help prevent and treat early-stage diabetic neuropathy.
Goldenseal
1 gram per day of berberine for two months 1 star[1 star]
Preliminary research with berberine (an active compound in goldenseal) for two months lowered blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Green Coffee Extract
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Drinking either regular or decaffeinated coffee has been associated with reduced type 2 diabetes risk in several preliminary human studies.
Hibiscus
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Hibiscus is a traditional remedy in India for diabetes, and is supported by preliminary research.
Inositol
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Supplementing with inositol may improve diabetic neuropathy.
Manganese
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
People with diabetes may have low manganese levels, which can contribute to glucose intolerance. Supplementing with the mineral may help.
Medium-Chain Triglycerides
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Medium-chain triglycerides have been found to lower blood sugar levels and may be useful in treating type 3 diabetes.
Mistletoe
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Mistletoe extract has been shown to stimulate insulin release from pancreas cells, and it may reduce diabetes symptoms.
Olive Leaf
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Olive leaf extracts have been used experimentally to lower high blood sugar in diabetic animals.
Quercetin
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Quercetin may be helpful for its ability to reduce levels of sorbitol—a sugar that accumulates in cells and damages the nerves, kidneys, and eyes of people with diabetes.
Reishi
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Reishi may have some beneficial action in people with diabetes.
Taurine
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Supplementing with taurine may affect insulin secretion and action, and may help protect the eyes and nerves from diabetic complications.
Vanadium
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Vanadyl sulfate, a form of vanadium, may improve glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Small amounts of niacin (a form of vitamin B3) may help some people with type 2 diabetes.
Yerba Mate
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Preliminary research suggests yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) tea may improve measures of blood glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.

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