Natural Strategies for Diabetes-Part II

Outline of Natural Approaches to Diabetes Control-Part II

David J. DeRose, MD, MPH
Prepared for the Three Angels Broadcasting Network’s Health for a Lifetime
Taped December 2005

Note: The material is designed to inform and educate. It represents the opinions of the author based on his understanding of current medical research and is not intended to be viewed as a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If the information in this handout disagrees with personal information provided by your health care professionals, please follow their counsel.

continued from Part I


VI. Fenugreek

Appears to help lower blood sugar by multiple mechanisms

  • Delays glucose absorption
  • Prolongs gastric transit
  • Fiber effects
  • Note: also appears to have lipid lowering properties


VII. Alpha lipoic acid

Demonstrated benefits in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes

May help prevent diabetes pathologies including:

  • macular degeneration
  • cataracts
  • neuropathy


Demonstrated to help treat peripheral and autonomic diabetic neuropathy.

Dosages of 600 – 800 mg/d often used

Older studies show neuropathy benefits with as little as 50 mg twice daily


Appears to have beneficial effects in improving insulin sensitivity and treating and/or preventing diabetic complications

Regimens in the range of 600 -1800 mg/day have often been used

the absence of a dose response effect in some studies raises the question as to whether lower doses may be efficacious

It may be reasonable to start at dosages as low as 50 mg twice daily while assessing clinically

Appears to have few side effects


VIII. Vanadium

A recent study led further credence to the value of this micronutrient in diabetes

11 patients with type 2 diabetes received daily vanadyl sulfate for 6 weeks

over two weeks titrated up to 150 mg/d

dosed as 50mg thrice daily with meals


Multiple improvements were noted:

  • lowering of HbA1c and fructosamine
  • decreased FBS; evidence of improved insulin sensitivity
  • fall in total cholesterol and LDL


Vanadyl sulfate appears well tolerated and potentially useful in type 2 diabetes

gradually titrate dosage over 6 wk

target dosage of 150 mg/day

May be a useful short-term strategy

Concerns with long term use: vanadium accumulation and potential for side-effects

This concern has been underscored by the failure to demonstrate vanadium deficiency in patients with diabetes


IX. Chromium

Research has demonstrated that chromium has a variety of salutary effects in glucose metabolism.

These include:

  • increased number of insulin receptor
  • improved insulin binding to the receptors
  • enhanced insulin internalization
  • augmented beta cell sensitivity


All of this culminates in increases in insulin sensitivity.


An important study…

180 Chinese subjects with type 2 DM

Randomized to twice daily regimen of either placebo, 100, or 500 micrograms of chromium picolinate for 4 months.

At four months, HBA1c (average blood sugar indicator) compared to placebo group:

22% lower in 1000 mcg/d group

12% lower in 200 mcg/d group

Additionally, improvements in fasting and post meal insulin levels in both chromium groups

Lowered cholesterol in the 1000 mcg/d group


Chromium Summary

Appears to be a generally safe and reasonable supplement to improve glucose homeostasis

No compelling data supporting its use as a weight reduction aid

May have favorable effects on lipids

Dosage may be best guided by degree of glucose intolerance. Some suggest the following considerations:

200 mcg/day Cr if mildly glucose intolerant

More than 200 mcg/day in individuals with greater glucose intolerance and/or diabetes

Dosages in the range of 1000 mcg per day may be necessary in some individuals with diabetes


X. Niacinamide (nicotinamide)

An agent of promise in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes

May help preserve insulin-producing capacity in early type 1 diabetes


A provocative study in type 2 diabetes:

18 patients with type 2 diabetes enrolled in a 6 month single blind study:

All had failed to control their blood sugar with the maximum dosage of standard oral medications (sulphonylureas)

Some randomized to nicotinamide 500 mg TID

Results in those using nicotinamide:

Achieved metabolic control indistinguishable from patients treated with insulin.

increased C-peptide release (an evidence of increased insulin production by the pancreas)