Alternative medicine with glucose lowering is increasingly being sought by patients and physicians. About 17 to 80 percent of the diabetic patients use these medicines.

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that has a significant impact on the quality of life of the patients. It is divided into main categories, namely, type I and Type II.  Type I can also be called as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, and on the other hand, Type II is known as non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.

Best Alternative Medicine for Diabetes

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The overall prevalence of diabetes is approximately 6 percent of the population, of which 90 percent is suffering from Type II. Chronically, the problem causes complications such as nephropathy, retinopathy, neuropathy, myocardial infarction, hypertension, stroke, and dyslipidemia.

CAM Therapy for Diabetes

Diabetic patients frequently use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for a range of reasons. CAM refers to a wide range of clinical therapies outside of conventional medicine. The therapy is frequently used by people of all ages, especially with poor health status and chronic conditions. Its use is associated with optimal self-care, adopting health-promoting and preventative behaviors as well as adherence to recommendations. Health care professionals use CAM in their personal health care centers; some formally combine CAM into their professional practice. However, lack of knowledge or access to information which compromises to discuss the alternative medicines with their patients. Many people often utilize CAM without consulting with their physician and do not disclose to their physicians, mostly because physicians rarely ask about it.

Diabetes treatment guidelines or reasons for using CAM therapy

Managing Blood Glucose

  • Massage
  • Diets
  • Mineral and vitamin supplements
  • Herbal medicines

Some CAM diets are quite similar to the diet recommended by health care professionals, but often include omega 3, antioxidants, fish oil, and other supplements.  Children who receive a regular massage from their parents have controlled glucose level as compared to those who do not have a regular massaging schedule. Herbs that help lower blood glucose include chromium picolinate, Gymnema/gurmar, Cinnamomum cassia, fenugreek, American ginseng, Opuntia streptacantha, and Momordica charantia.

These supplements and herbs have primarily been used in patients with Type 1 diabetes. Chromium is rapidly excreted in the urine of diabetic patients than others, resulting in chromium deficiency that causes insulin resistance.

Controlling Weight

  • A range of diets
  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Practice martial arts
  • CAM medicines

Some CAM diets and medicines are useful in controlling your sugar level, but some are related to the associated risks. According to clinical studies, Dietrine, Hoodia Gordonii, and herbal phentermine are safe and efficacious.

Managing Pain

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • CAM medicines
  • Biofeedback

Regular massage reduces the intensity of pain as well as anxiety in the short term, in postoperative patients. Acupuncture helps in reducing diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain. Chondroitin and Glucosamine are useful in managing joint and arthritis pain.

Remain active

  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi

Regular practice of tai chi or yoga along with a healthy diet, resistance training, controlling blood sugar, and correcting malnutrition, not only improves strength but also reduces the associated risk with the problem.

Mental health

  • Relaxation
  • Meditation
  • CAM medicines
  • Yoga
  • Biofeedback
  • Counselling methods

Diabetes treatment drugs like St. John’s Wort not only improves mild to moderate depression but is better tolerated than other antidepressants. Therapies like healthy relation, biofeedback and counseling help in reducing stress by attenuating the effects of increased autonomic activity and catecholamine production.

Issues to consider while incorporating CAM into diabetes care

  • Patients are instructed to use the botanical names for all CAM medicines because common names vary considerably and can result in misidentification and side effects.
  • People using hypoglycemic CAMs should be careful as these medicines may lead to low blood sugar levels.
  • There is very little evidence for routine supplementation in diabetes. Therefore, supplements should only be used when biochemical tests support they need.
  • Weight loss needs a combined approach that includes a healthy diet and regular exercise. Thus, CAM medicines should always be used along with diabetes treatment diet and exercise. Self-prescribed medicine sand consuming more than the recommended amount can cause serious renal damage.

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There are almost no evidence that diabetes treatment medication like oral Glucosamine gives rise to hyperglycemia.

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