diabetes-2424105__340Herbs and Supplements for Type II Diabetes

Type II diabetes used to be typically associated with adults, however, it is increasingly becoming more common in children. Type II diabetes occurs when your body either does not produce sufficient insulin or resists insulin thus causing your blood sugar levels to become unbalanced.

There is no known cure for diabetes, however, patients are still able to manage this condition and live normal lives by controlling their blood sugar levels with exercise and diet.

Alternatively, doctors also prescribe medications to manage blood sugar levels such as sulfonylurea, meglitinides, metformin, and insulin therapy.

Physical activity, a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight are all essential factors in diabetes treatment. When these do not prove sufficient, then a doctor will usually recommend which medications are best for you.

There are also herbs and supplements that are used to improve the diabetes condition by reducing resistance to insulin, controlling blood sugar levels and preventing diabetes-related complications. These include:


Cinnamon is a form of Chinese medicine that has been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Extracts of cinnamon have shown to help lower fasting blood glucose levels.

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 is also known as thiamine and many people who are suffering from diabetes are also found to be thiamine-deficient. A deficiency in thiamine can contribute to serious health complications such as blood vessel damage and heart disease.

Thiamine is water soluble which typically proves difficult to get into body cells. Benfotiamine, which is a supplemental form of thiamine is lipid soluble and easily penetrates cell membranes thus helping to reduce diabetes-related complications.

Green Tea

Green tea is a popular herbal drink that contains specific antioxidants known as polyphenols which have numerous health benefits such as:

  • Improved glucose control.
  • Better insulin activity.
  • Lower cardiovascular disease risk.
  • Prevention of type II diabetes.


Magnesium is an essential nutrient that helps regulate insulin sensitivity and blood pressure. Supplemental magnesium can improve insulin sensitivity in people suffering from diabetes.

There is a link between higher magnesium intake and a lower rate of insulin resistance and diabetes thus indicating that a high magnesium diet is favorable for diabetes patients. Foods that are high in magnesium include black beans, spinach, almonds, yogurt, chard and pumpkin seeds.


It is also important to note that there are some popular supplements that can result in negative interactions with diabetes medication and blood sugar. Zinc is an example of these supplements that can affect your blood glucose levels negatively.

If you are taking medications to manage your diabetes, always consult your doctor first before taking any supplements or herbs to ensure that there are no negative interactions with some of your medications.

In addition, be aware that some supplement formulations contain the addition of sugar which comes in a variety of names such as dextrin, maltodextrin, beet sugar, maple syrup, fruit juice, cane juice, sorghum syrup, corn syrup, buttered syrup, among others. These ‘hidden’ sugars can also result in increased blood sugar levels so you need to closely examine ingredient labels.