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Some people with diabetes try so-called "natural" treatments. Natural diabetes remedies people try include magnesium, garlic, chromium, and omega-3 fatty acids. There is limited scientific evidence on the effectiveness of these methods. To ensure a safe and coordinated course of care, people should inform their healthcare providers about any natural remedies they are currently using or considering.

Natural Remedies for Diabetes: An Introduction

Some people with diabetes use complementary or alternative treatments for this condition. Although some alternative treatments may be effective, others can be ineffective or even harmful. People who use alternative treatments marketed as "natural diabetes remedies" need to let their healthcare providers know what they are doing.
This article focuses on six possible natural remedies that people try:
(Click Alternative Treatments for Diabetes for more information on other possible options.)

Alpha-Lipoic Acid as a Natural Remedy for Diabetes

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA, also known as lipoic acid or thioctic acid) is a chemical that is similar to a vitamin. It is an antioxidant -- a substance that prevents cell damage caused by substances called free radicals in a process called oxidative stress. High levels of blood glucose are one cause of oxidative stress.
ALA is found in foods such as:
  • Liver
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes.
ALA can also be made in the laboratory. The supplements are marketed as tablets or capsules. It is theorized that ALA may be beneficial because of its antioxidant activity.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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