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Diabetes Supplements

Research Findings on Alpha-Lipoic Acid
The evidence on ALA as an effective supplement for type 2 diabetes and obesity is limited. A number of small studies have shown hints of beneficial effects. In a few of these studies, some possible benefit from ALA was seen in:
More research is needed to document whether there is any benefit of ALA in diabetes and to better understand how it works.
Side Effects and Possible Risks of Alpha-Lipoic Acid
While ALA appears to be safe for the general adult population, people with diabetes need to know that taking ALA supplements for diabetes might lower blood sugar too much, and thus they would need to monitor their blood sugar level carefully.
ALA may also:
  • Lower blood levels of minerals, such as iron
  • Decrease the effectiveness of some anti-cancer drugs
  • Interact with some medicines, such as antacids.
Other possible side effects of ALA include headache, skin rash, and stomach upset.


Several types of plants are referred to as ginseng, but most studies on 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 A1c levels (average blood glucose levels over a three-month period).
Larger and more long-term diabetes research studies are needed before doctors recommend using this diabetes supplement. Researchers also have determined that the amount of glucose-lowering compound in ginseng plants varies widely.
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