Warning for People with Type 2 Diabetes

“If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Unfortunately, we’ve seen the results of this common saying too many times. Some of our patients with type 2 diabetes have believed false claims by companies or others who say that they can cure diabetes with herbal remedies or supplements. While a natural approach may sound innocent enough, the ingredients may not be approved by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or may contradict or ‘fight’ with other medications. The combination of so-called remedies can cause complications, heart problems or in some circumstances, death.

Four Facts About Supplements for People with Type 2 Diabetes

  1. It is important to talk with your doctor about all of the products you are taking, especially before you begin taking something new. Interactions of medications, including some supplements, can have detrimental effects.
  2. Some products marketed for diabetes are marketed illegally and claims are not substantiated by the FDA. And, labels may be misleading. Claims of a cure are probably false.
  3. Some dietary supplements may have side effects, including kidney disease. This is especially a concern for diabetics because diabetes often contributes to kidney disease.
  4. A high dose supplement taken with diabetes medication can lower blood sugars too much, causing hypoglycemia. 

Taking Control of Diabetes

It’s not easy to live with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, so the promise of a new or different treatment can have strong appeal. Remember a few basics that can help keep your body in balance, and you’ll feel better:

  • Space meals throughout the day, and don’t skip meals or overeat at a meal.
  • Choose a variety of foods to include vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats such as nuts and avocados, lean meats and no- or low-fat dairy. Ask your doctor if you have questions about what to eat – or not eat.
  • Be active every day. Walk, stretch, take stairs instead of an elevator, enjoy an exercise class and/or do strength training. You’ll feel better and possibly sleep better, too.
  • Lose excess weight. You may improve your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol by losing weight. Be sure to tell your doctor when you lose weight because he or she may need to adjust your insulin or medications.
  • Check your blood glucose. Staying on top of your blood sugar can keep you motivated.
  • Get support. Find one or more people to share both the frustrations and successes of your diabetes journey. A common experience can be encouraging.

Your doctor is an excellent resource for information about your specific diabetes experience. The American Diabetes Association is also a reliable source for helpful suggestions, recipes and current events or groups.

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