Many widely marketed dietary supplement products claim to provide health benefits for people with diabetes. Researchers have studied several dietary supplements to see if they can help people manage type 2 diabetes or lower their risk of developing the disease, but currently there is not enough evidence to suggest that any dietary supplement can help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes. Some supplements may interact with diabetes treatments or increase the risk of kidney disease.
This issue of the digest addresses some of the many supplements studied for diabetes—such as alpha-lipoic acid, chromium, magnesium, and omega-3s—with a focus on those that have undergone clinical trials.
Condition and Summary of Current Evidence
Two clinical trials involving approximately 570 participants found that alpha-lipoic acid supplements did not prevent or improve conditions related to diabetes.
Clinical trials have found few or no benefits of chromium supplements for controlling type 2 diabetes or reducing the risk of developing the disease.
Data from clinical trials have shown no clear benefits and some risks of cinnamon for people with diabetes.
Clinical trial results on efficacy of magnesium supplementation for type 2 diabetes is limited; some benefits have been found in several, but not all studies.