Alternative Treatments for Diabetes
Biofeedback is a technique that helps a person become more aware of and learn to deal with the body's response to pain. This alternative diabetes treatment emphasizes relaxation and stress-reduction techniques. Guided imagery is a relaxation technique implemented by some professionals who use biofeedback. With guided imagery, a person thinks of peaceful mental images, such as ocean waves. A person may also include the images of controlling or curing a chronic disease, such as diabetes. People using this alternative treatment believe their condition can be eased with these positive images.
The benefit of added chromium for diabetes has been studied and debated for several years. Several studies report that chromium supplementation may improve diabetes control. Chromium is needed to make glucose tolerance factor, which helps insulin improve its action. Because of insufficient information on the use of chromium as an alternative treatment for diabetes, however, no recommendations for chromium supplementation yet exist.
Several types of plants are referred to as ginseng, but most studies of ginseng and diabetes have used American ginseng. Those studies have shown some glucose-lowering effects in fasting and post-prandial (after meal) blood glucose levels, as well as in hemoglobin A1c levels (average blood glucose levels over a three-month period). However, larger and more long-term diabetes research studies are needed before doctors recommend using this alternative diabetes treatment. Researchers also have determined that the amount of glucose-lowering compound in ginseng plants varies widely.
Although the relationship between magnesium and diabetes has been studied for decades, it is not yet fully understood. Studies suggest that a deficiency in magnesium may worsen blood glucose control in type 2 diabetes. Scientists believe that a deficiency of magnesium interrupts insulin secretion in the pancreas and increases insulin resistance in the body's tissues. Evidence suggests that a deficiency of magnesium may contribute to certain diabetes complications. A recent analysis showed that people with higher dietary intakes of magnesium (through consumption of whole grains, nuts, and green leafy vegetables) had a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.