Vitamins & Supplements Research

From the ADA Scientific Sessions

Sep 1, 2006

CAM Therapy Popular With Diabetics

Complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies are very popular with diabetics. Their use and popularity, however, vary by gender and ethnicity.

That was the finding of researchers who administered an anonymous, 17-item questionnaire investigating the use of CAM and herbal remedies to type 2 diabetes subjects during their attendance at six large day-long education conferences. The survey was completed by 603 subjects, including 341 Caucasians, 65 Native Americans, 38 African American, 86 Latinos and 62 Asians.

CAM use was reported in 95.4 percent of the cases with more women than men reporting the use of multivitamins (52 vs. 42.6 percent), meditation/prayer (42.3 vs. 21.3 percent), aromatherapy (5.5 vs. 0.6 percent), yoga (8.1 vs. 3 percent) and massage (20.1 vs. 11.8 percent).

“Compared to all ethnic groups, Native Americans reported the greatest use of healers (9.2 percent), acupuncture (10,8 percent) aromatherapy (9.2 percent) and medicine men (10.8 percent),” say the researchers. “African Americans reported the greatest use of prayer/meditation (47.4 percent) and Caucasians reported the greatest use of massage (21.1 percent) and multivitamins (57.5 percent).”

As far as herb use was concerned,

  • American ginseng was more commonly used in Native Americans (12.3 percent)
  • Prickly pear cactus was more commonly used in Latinos (34.9 percent)
  • Vitamin E was more commonly used in Caucasians (45.9 percent)

“Future research is needed to clarify the perceived reasons for CAM use in clinical practice and the perceived efficacy of such approaches as well as to determine their effect on metabolic control.”


Lower Fasting Insulin Found in Ginseng Users

“Regular use of ginseng is associated with higher insulin sensitivity”

That was a finding in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Seattle researchers say that self-reported data on frequency of using ginseng and ginkgo as supplements were collected among 5,504 adults who were non-diabetic or had previously undiagnosed diabetes. About 6.3 percent reported taking ginseng.

“Significantly lower fasting insulin was observed among ginseng users,” write the researchers. “Use of ginkgo was not associated with fasting insulin.”


Can Korean Red Ginseng Prevent Type 2?

Korean researchers are suggesting that Korean Red Ginseng may have a preventive effect on type 2 diabetes.

Previous studies have found that the ginseng has BG-lowering qualities. In a study involving 10-week-old male rats in a “pre-diabetic stage,” 200 mg/kg of Korean Red Ginseng extract were given for 40 weeks.

Body weight and peritoneal fat mass were significantly decreased in the Korean Red Ginseng-treated rats. Glucose, A1C, total cholesterol, triglyceride and free fatty acid were significant decreased.


Chromium and Biotin Make a Good Pair for Type 2s

Chromium picolinate combined with biotin appears to be a safe and effective treatment for poorly controlled type 2 diabetes.

Study participants were supplemented with chromium picolinate plus biotin in addition to continuing their diabetes medications. Participants returned for study visits after two, four, six and nine months.

“Compared to baseline, the mean change in A1C levels after nine months was 1.07%,” write the researchers. …[Forty-two percent] reached the American Diabetes Association target A1C level of [less than] 7%.

No serious adverse events were reported.


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Categories: A1c Test, Complementary Therapies, Diabetes, Diabetes, Insulin, Supplements, Type 2 Issues, Vitamins

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