Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Numerous substances have been shown in some studies to improve insulin sensitivity, yet other studies have failed to find any benefit for blood sugar control or in lowering A1C levels. Because of the conflicting findings, no alternative therapies are currently recommended for diabetes control. Some of the substances that have shown promise in helping to control blood sugar include:

  • Alpha-lipoic acid
  • Caffeine
  • Cassia cinnamon
  • Chromium
  • Flaxseed
  • Ginseng
  • Glucomannan
  • Guar gum
  • Magnesium
  • Oat bran
  • Soy

If you decide that you'd like to try an alternative therapy, don't stop taking the medications that your doctor has prescribed, and discuss the use of any of these therapies with your doctor to be sure that they won't cause adverse reactions or interact with your current therapy.

Additionally, there are no treatments — alternative or conventional — that can cure diabetes, so it's critical that people who are on insulin therapy for diabetes don't stop using insulin unless directed to do so by their physician.

Jan. 31, 2013