A dietary supplement, also known as a food supplement or nutritional supplement, contains a "dietary ingredient" intended to supplement the diet by providing an element that might not otherwise be consumed. "Dietary ingredients" include vitamins, minerals, herbs and other botanicals, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, and metabolites. Dietary supplements, which may be extracts or concentrates, come in many forms, including tablets, capsules, soft gels, gelcaps, liquids, powders, and bars.
Ten years ago, an astute physician diagnosed me with Type 2 diabetes. I exhibited none of the classic symptoms of rapid weight loss, extreme thirst, and frequent urination. I attributed fatigue to my job. For about a year before diagnosis, I experienced what I thought were yeast infections and treated them with over-the-counter medications. I later learned that this condition is a symptom of diabetes. I am non-insulin dependent.
Talk about a win-win situation! It seems that many aphrodisiacs--herbs that boost sexual energy and function--can also bring down blood sugar, cholesterol, and/or blood pressure. At least four herbs have shown these double benefits in scientific studies.
From environmentally friendly hybrid cars and heating with solar power to organic or natural foods, our culture is increasingly embracing green strategies. "Using natural dietary supplements to support healthy blood sugar levels and minimize the impact of glycation is a rational continuation of this green philosophy," says Steven Joyal, MD, vice president of Scientific Affairs and Medical Development for the Life Extension Foundation in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (www.lef.org). He is also author of the book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Diabetes.
I am a diabetic and was taking four insulin shots per day and still had problems with my sugar. I did two months of research on the Web because I had to find a way to get off the shots. I hate needles I was astonished at what I found on natural herbs!
Herbs, supplements and other nontraditional treatments have become increasingly popular. According to a study published in the February 2002 issue of Diabetes Care, people with diabetes are more likely to use complementary and alternative medicines than other healthy individuals. Are you tempted to try any? Here is a list of tips for you to consider before you do.
Two more herbal preparations containing a blood sugar-lowering prescription drug were recalled by two California firms. The recall action came just two months after the FDA issued a warning about five other herbal products that contained blood-sugar lowering drugs.
On February 24, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned people with diabetes not to use five brands of Chinese herbal products. The FDA says that the herbs illegally contain the prescription diabetes drugs glyburide and phenformin which can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar.
The D-Care line of products now offers several herbal combination tablets specifically designed for diabetes care. All contain gymnema sylvestre, an herb often linked to improved glucose control, plus other herbs to aid in specific areas of wellness.
How did one type 2 go from 20 units of insulin per day to none, and no blood sugar level above 185? He took Cogent DB, an Indian type 2 medication made from several herbs, which the Mayo Clinic is reported to be interested in testing.
Jean Chediac has type 2 diabetes and had not taken his medication for a week, running his BGs up to double their normal level. He finally went to his health care provider, who gave him his medicine. Within a day, his BGs were back to normal.
Dori Linnell of Eureka, Montana, would do anything for Tel, her 5-year-old son with diabetes. With diligence, knowledge and love, she has kept his HbA1cs in the nearly perfect range of 6.8 to 7.0 %. Linnell is obviously doing what works but always looking for something that may work better. She read about BetaFast, a product that is said to help people with diabetes control their blood sugars. BetaFast is made from the leaf extract of the herb Gymnema sylvestre, a climbing plant found in India. Always a believer in herbs, she wanted to try it with Tel.
For centuries Middle Eastern cultures have been using the herb fenugreek to treat obesity. Nutricept, Inc. has applied this ancient knowledge to diabetes care, creating a new form of fenugreek in its product Limitrol. Limitrol is a dietary fiber supplement which can be taken as a capsule or a pudding.
Ginseng, long used to treat a variety of ills, can reduce blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Ginseng is a plant extract that has been used for centuries to reduce fatigue and elevate mood.
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