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National Institutes of Health • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

NCCIH Clinical Digest. For health professionals.

Type 2 Diabetes and Dietary Supplements

November 2013
Diabetic person checks blood sugar level.

Millions of people have diabetes, which, as you know, can lead to serious health problems if not managed well. Many widely marketed dietary supplement products claim to provide health benefits for people with diabetes. You may encounter patients in your practice who ask about dietary supplements for 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. As you know, conventional medical treatments and following a healthy lifestyle, including watching weight, can help your patients prevent, manage, and control many complications of diabetes.

This issue of the digest addresses some of the many supplements studied for diabetes—such as alpha-lipoic acid, chromium, herbal supplements, magnesium, and omega-3s—with a focus on those that have undergone clinical trials.

Time to Talk Tips: 6 Things To Know About Type 2 Diabetes and Dietary Supplements

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NCCIH Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NIH, DHHS. NCCIH Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCIH-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCIH's Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCIH Web site at nccih.nih.gov. NCCIH is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.

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