Diabetes Home > Key Points About Alternative Treatments for Diabetes

The following article addresses key points about alternative treatments for diabetes. One of the key points regarding alternative treatments for diabetes you should remember is that it's important to discuss any alternative treatment you're considering with your doctor since it could have an adverse effect on any medications you are taking.

Key Points About Alternative Treatments for Diabetes: A Summary

Here are some key points to keep in mind regarding alternative treatments for diabetes:
  • People with diabetes need to be under the care of a physician (or other healthcare provider) who will help them learn to manage their diabetes and monitor their efforts to control it. Dietitians and diabetes educators help people learn the skills needed for managing diabetes on a daily basis. In addition, many patients need to be under the care of one or more specialists, such as a podiatrist, endocrinologist, and ophthalmologist.


  • There is limited scientific evidence on the effectiveness of dietary supplements as alternative treatments for type 2 diabetes. The evidence that is available is not sufficiently strong to prove that any of the widely used alternative treatments for diabetes have benefits for type 2 diabetes or its complications.
  • It is important to not replace scientifically proven treatments with alternative treatments for diabetes that are unproven. The consequences of not following one's prescribed medical regimen for diabetes can be very serious, even life-threatening.
  • People should inform their healthcare providers about any alternative treatments for diabetes that they are currently using or considering. Prescribed medicines for diabetes and other major health conditions may need to be adjusted if a person is also using alternative treatments. Pharmacists can be another helpful source of information about dietary supplements.
  • If someone decides to use supplements as part of an alternative treatment for diabetes, 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 considering using alternative treatments for diabetes on children) should be extremely cautious and be sure to consult with their healthcare provider first.
  • If people with diabetes decide to use a supplement and notice any unusual effects, they should stop taking it immediately and contact their healthcare provider.
  • Dietary supplements used as alternative treatments for diabetes may interact with prescription diabetes medications. 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.
(Click Alternative Treatments for Diabetes for more information about trying various alternative treatments for diabetes.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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