The World Health Organization has predicted a 39% rise in the worldwide prevalence of diabetes by 2030. And an article in The Lancet indicates this might be an underestimation.

Since November is Diabetes Month, here’s a round-up of CAM options for people with diabetes from 2006 through March 2007.

No evidence that zinc can prevent type 2 diabetes

Vegan diet
Improve blood sugar and cholesterol control in patients with type 2 diabetes

Trans fats
Some substitutes actually raise blood sugar levels and lowers insulin in humans

Improved fasting blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A 1C (A1c) values

Improved A1c and fasting blood sugar levels

Milk thistle
Improved A1c and fasting blood sugar levels

Soy yogurt
Limited data that it improves blood sugar levels

A complementary option for treating diabetic ulcers

Chromium picolinate
Adding chromium picolinate to a sulfonylurea drug (glipizide) improved insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.

No change in A1c

Psychological support
Might be useful in certain patients with type 2 and type 1 diabetes

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone)
Lacks supporting data for the claims

Whole-grain cereals
Lower risk of death among men who ate at least one serving of whole-grain breakfast cereal per day vs those who rarely ate whole-grain cereal.

Preliminary positive evidence

Coffee drinking
You have to drink a lot of coffee for any preventive effect

Remember, these are complementary options. They do not replace diet, exercise and drug treatments prescribed by a physician. And fraudulent claims abound.

Illustration: Diabetes Toolbox

3/3/07 10:08 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.