Author: Mandy Vemulapalli
With the increasing popularity of alternative medicine in the West, many people now use herbal supplements as a way to treat chronic health conditions. But Diabetes is a complex condition that causes a wide array of health issues. Many diabetics take insulin along with or instead of prescribed oral medications to stabilize blood sugar levels. So the question is: are herbal supplements useful or harmful to take for people with Diabetes?
A Congressional Law passed in 1994 defined dietary supplements as products that contain vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and/or other ingredients intended to supplement the diet. Herbs are defined as a subset of plant botanicals which are used to improve or maintain health.
An important factor to consider when choosing herbal supplements is whether or not the product was made in an FDA-approved facility. It's also useful to find out if the manufacturing facility is NSF Certified and GMP compliant. Each of these certifications state that the factory and products have been evaluated and found not to contain contaminants, pollutants and/or other harmful chemicals.
Most herbal supplements for people with Diabetes use popular natural ingredients like fenugreek, vanadium, cinnamon and alpha lipoic acid, which all help lower blood sugar levels. This is certainly an important factor to keep in mind, but it does not add anything to the already prescribed medication regiment for diabetics, which are prescribed to control blood sugar levels. In this case, herbal supplements that only focus on stabilizing blood sugar levels won't add much benefit to existing treatments.
Current statistics published by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) state that two out of three diabetics die from heart disease or stroke. These serious conditions are a direct result of vascular damage. Therefore, herbal supplements for people with Diabetes that use ingredients intended to protect and repair the vascular system can be very beneficial for people with Diabetes.
An insightful study published in The Diabetes Journal, "The Pathobiology of Diabetic Complications," by Michael Brownlee, details how superoxides, or catalytic antioxidants, are instrumental in repairing the microvascular and macrovascular systems of people with Diabetes. A specific superoxide mentioned in this paper is SOD. SOD/Gliadin is a powerful yet rare ingredient in herbal supplements for diabetics; it helps fight and reverse the vascular damage associated with heart disease.
Other important risk factors for diabetics not addressed by prescribed medication are cellular regeneration and immune system function. Cellular regeneration is important because Diabetes, when not under control, can cause damage to every cell and tissue in the body. Cellular regeneration is also crucial when it relates to wound healing. Infections are highly dangerous for people with Diabetes. Because of elevated blood sugar levels over time, it takes longer for diabetics' wounds to heal. This raises the risk of serious infections and can lead to a dangerous cycle of high blood sugar levels, chronic infections, and the risk of amputation.
Certain herbal supplements that contain the clinically proven immune-boosting ingredient called Colostrum can effectively help boost immune function in people with Diabetes, and also help them fight infections and increase cellular regeneration. Bovine Colostrum has been proven in countless studies to contain more immune-boosting factors than regular Colostrum, and is an extremely useful ingredient in herbal supplements for people with Diabetes.
Without question, the most useful herbal supplements for people with Diabetes are supplements that combine blood sugar stabilizing ingredients with vascular, cellular, tissue and immune support ingredients as well. When properly taken in conjunction with prescribed medication, exercise and a proper diet, herbal supplements can be a very useful tool in managing Diabetes and preventing its most dangerous complications.
Mandy Vemulapalli is a writer who has been published in Woman's World Magazine, The Arizona Republic and on various websites. She is also a Type 1 Diabetic and recommends INSUL-OPT Complete herbal supplements: http://wwwinsul-opt.com. For news and info about Diabetes, visit http://www.samdrc.org