Many people use popular supplements, like omega-3s and magnesium, to help manage their type 2 diabetes. But do these over-the-counter therapies really work?
Of the 29.1 million Americans with diabetes, as many as 31 percent use complementary or alternative medicines, including supplements, to help manage their condition. In fact, the amount of money spent on dietary supplements could be staggering. “I think it’s bigger than the pharmacy business, if you add it all up,” says Jeffrey Tipton, DO, MPH, vice president and medical director at AppleCare Medical Management in Los Angeles.
So is all that money going to good use? “There are some indications that some supplements may be helpful, but there’s nothing definitive,” says Julie T. Chen, MD, an internist and founder of Making Healthy EZ, an integrative health clinic in San Jose, California. While you shouldn’t use supplements to replace your diabetes medication, research on some of them does suggest that they can help with type 2 diabetes management.