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6 Things To Know About Type 2 Diabetes and Dietary Supplements

More than 37 million U.S. adults have diabetes. Most have type 2 diabetes, in which the body doesn’t use insulin well and can’t keep blood sugar at normal levels. Researchers have studied a variety of dietary supplements to see whether they might be helpful for type 2 diabetes or its complications. 

Here are 6 things you should know about dietary supplements for type 2 diabetes.

  1. If you have diabetes, talk with your health care provider before taking a dietary supplement. Some supplements can interact with medicines, and some have been linked to kidney disease—a particular concern for people with diabetes because diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease. Your provider can help you find out whether the supplement you would like to take is safe for you.

  2. Don’t take a dietary supplement instead of your diabetes medicine. Going without proper diabetes treatment would increase your risk of developing serious diabetes complications.  

  3. Chromium might improve glycemic control in some people with diabetes. However, research has produced conflicting results. And chromium has not been shown to be helpful for preventing diabetes.

  4. Although people with diabetes have an increased risk of magnesium deficiency, magnesium supplementation has not clearly been shown to be beneficial. Taking too much magnesium can cause diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

  5. Alpha-lipoic acid may improve symptoms of diabetic nephropathy (diabetic kidney disease). However, there’s not enough evidence to show whether it has an effect on other diabetes symptoms or complications.

  6. Omega-3 fatty acids, resveratrol, and cinnamon have not been clearly shown to be beneficial for diabetes.