Everyone is buzzing about using alternative therapies with diabetes but do any of them really work? While there is no substitute for visits to the doctor and formal medical treatment, certain alternative therapies may be helpful. Discover more about alternative therapies and remember to consult with your physician before making any changes in your diabetes self-management plan.
- Diabetes treatment may include traditional medication, natural remedies and alternative medicine. Examples of alternative treatments include yoga, acupuncture, massage, herbal remedies, hypnosis, chiropractic treatments and more. Alternative medicines are used instead of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine works hand-in-hand with conventional therapy which is often the preferred choice. Always consult with your health care provider before trying alternative or complementary therapies.
- During acupuncture thin needles are inserted into certain points of your body thru the skin. It can act as a natural painkiller and reduce chronic pain. Sometimes acupuncture is recommended for diabetes patients with painful neuropathy. You need to find a provider who is licensed in this field.
- Guided imagery and biofeedback can help a person recognize and learn to deal with how their body responds to pain or stress. Stress-reduction and relaxation are stressed throughout this alternative therapy. For example, a person thinks of peaceful images to reduce stress and unwind.
- Certain natural dietary supplements might be used to treat diabetes. Chromium may improve diabetes control to help insulin improve its action. Insufficient information is available about using chromium to treat diabetes. Ginseng is a natural supplement that may help to lower blood sugar levels. Again check before starting any supplements since they may interact with your regular prescriptions.
- People with diabetes may take magnesium supplements. A magnesium deficiency may worsen blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. A deficiency of magnesium may also contribute toward diabetes complications. Get more magnesium in your diet by eating green leafy vegetables and whole grains. Zinc is another supplement to consider as it plays a role in the production and storage of insulin. Zinc is in foods such as pecans, almonds, chicken, lima beans and fresh oysters.
- Certain foods, vegetables and spices may help lower blood sugar and reduce inflammation including broccoli, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, okra, buckwheat, Brewer’s yeast, sage, peas and Fenugreek seeds. Cinnamon extract can increase sugar metabolism which can also affect cholesterol metabolism. An unknown compound in coffee could reduce the risk of developing diabetes type 2.
- Since there is a connection between weight and diabetes many people are looking to shed a few pounds. Alternative therapies used to lose weight include garcinia combogia, chromium, chitosan, Chinese bitter melon and more. Little information is available about the efficacy of these natural therapies. A balanced diet and at least 30 minutes of exercise each day are still the best ways to lose weight and stay in shape. Keep diabetes snacks handy to avoid temptations.
- Alternative and natural remedies can have side effects and be dangerous because many are untested. Always talk to your doctor before taking herbal products to make sure they do not interfere with your current treatment plan. If you experience side effects such as anxiety, nausea, rapid heartbeat, or rashes stop taking the herbal products and contact your doctor. Search for science-based information about herbal products rather than inflated claims. Choose brands carefully to ensure they list the ingredients, dosage guidelines, possible side effects, lot number, expiration date and contact information for the manufacturer.
Alternative therapies sound safe and appealing but they can have side effects. Consult with a doctor before considering natural and alternative therapies. You may discover a natural way to help control your diabetes and boost your overall well-being.
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