Natural Remedies for Diabetes
Side Effects and Possible Risks With Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s appear to be safe for most adults at low to moderate doses. There have been some safety questions raised about fish oil supplements because certain species of fish can be contaminated with substances from the environment, such as:
- PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls).
Fish oil is on the list of food substances that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers to be "generally recognized as safe." How well a product is prepared is another factor for consumers to consider.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take fish oil supplements. Fish oil in high doses can possibly interact with, and affect the action of, certain medications, including blood-thinning drugs and drugs for high blood pressure.
Potential side effects of fish oil include:
- A fishy aftertaste
- Stomach disturbances
The following points are important to keep in mind if you are considering natural diabetes remedies:
- People with diabetes need to be under the care of a physician (or other healthcare provider) who will help them learn to manage their condition and monitor their efforts to control it. Dietitians and diabetes educators help people learn and use the skills needed for managing diabetes on a daily basis. In addition, many people with the condition need to be under the care of one or more specialists, such as an endocrinologist, an ophthalmologist, and/or a podiatrist.
- There is limited scientific evidence on the effectiveness of these natural remedies. The evidence that is available is not sufficiently strong to prove that any of the six remedies discussed in this article have benefits for type 2 diabetes or its complications. A possible exception may be the use of omega-3 fatty acids to lower triglyceride levels.
- It is important to not replace scientifically proven diabetes treatments with natural remedies for diabetes that are unproven. The consequences of not following one's prescribed medical regimen for diabetes can be serious -- even life-threatening.
- To ensure a safe and coordinated course of care, people should inform their healthcare providers about any natural or alternative treatment options they are currently using or considering. Prescribed medicines for diabetes and all other major health conditions may need to be adjusted if a person is also using natural remedies. Pharmacists can be another helpful source of information about dietary supplements.
- If someone decides to use natural diabetes remedies, they should know that what they see on the label may not accurately reflect what is in the bottle. Some herbal supplements, for example, have been found to be contaminated; some tests of dietary supplements have found that the contents did not match the labeled dose on the bottle.
- Women who are pregnant or nursing, or people who are thinking of using natural remedies to treat a child, should use extra caution and be sure to consult their healthcare provider first.
- If people with diabetes decide to use a supplement and notice any unusual effects, they should stop using these immediately and contact their healthcare provider.
- The six natural remedies for diabetes reviewed in this article appear to be generally safe at low to moderate doses. However, each can interact with various prescription medications, affecting their action. People with type 2 diabetes need to know about these risks and discuss them with their healthcare provider. Prescribed medicines may need to be adjusted if a person is also using alternative treatments for diabetes.