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If you have Type 2 Diabetes, your treatment may include many elements: medications from your doctor, diet and exercise, and complementary therapies. Complementary therapies are natural methods, used alongside treatments recommended by your doctor, and it's these remedies we'll explore here.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetes is where the body is either resistant to insulin, or has insufficient insulin, and so cannot process the glucose consumed effectively. It affects 20.9 million adults in the United States, with a further 79 million adults prediabetic.
Poor management of Type 2 Diabetes can lead to many complications, including: heart disease, kidney damage, blindness, and foot problems (including severe damage that necessitates amputation).
Type 2 Diabetes can be effectively managed with medication, diet, and complementary interventions. It cannot be cured. However, it is possible to put your condition into remission, to the point where your blood glucose levels are controlled and your doctor may feel it possible for you to stop taking your medication. You will always require monitoring for relapse.
Let's explore the complementary therapies for Type 2 Diabetes.
Some patients with Type 2 Diabetes experience neuropathy. This is painful nerve damage, and the result of long-term high blood glucose levels. Acupuncture, inserting thin needles into pressure points of the body, has been found to relieve chronic pain, including this painful condition, in some people.
If you want to try acupuncture, be sure to find a qualified professional, as licensing is not a requirement and unlicensed acupuncturists carry risks. The following bodies all have set requirements: British Medical Acupuncture Society (a number of practitioners are available in other countries), the British Acupuncture Council (both UK), and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (USA) [see links].
Chromium is an essential trace element (a type of mineral needed in small amounts for health). There's some evidence that chromium supplements improve insulin sensitivity in people with Type 2 Diabetes and prediabetes. There's also evidence that it helps tackle the side-effect of weight gain in patients who are prescribed sulphonylurea medication for Type 2 Diabetes (such as: Gliclazide, Glipizide, Chlorpropamide, and Tolazamide). No official recommendations to take chromium supplements exist, because evidence is not conclusive.
If you want to take chromium, the dosage that has previously been used for diabetes is 200-1000mcg daily (either as a single or divided dose), for up to six months.
Get ready to raid your spice rack. Several studies have linked cinnamon with improved blood glucose management. One study fed participants between 1g and 6g of cinnamon a day (1g is about half-a-teaspoon), and noted a 24% reduction in blood glucose levels (and an 18% reduction in cholesterol)
Other studies did not find the same reaction. It's thought that the severity of the participants' diabetes and the dose used in the studies may partially contribute to the difference in results.
If you want to try cinnamon, however, it probably won't do you any harm to consume in medicinal quantities daily for up to four months. Unless you have liver damage. If you have liver problems, do not take cinnamon in these quantities. Even if it is safe for you, watch carefully for signs of hypoglycaemia.
Do not use cinnamon in medicinal quantities for at least two weeks before surgery.