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Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapies for Diabetes
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), defines complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as a "group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered to be part of conventional medicine." Complementary medicine is used with conventional medicine, whereas alternative medicine is used instead of conventional medicine.
Some people with diabetes use CAM therapies to treat diabetes. Although some of these therapies may be effective, others can be ineffective or even harmful. Patients who use CAM therapies should keep their health care providers informed.
Links to information about some CAM therapies are provided below. For more information, talk with your health care provider. For tips on talking with your health care provider about CAM, see NCCAM's Time to Talk campaign.
This fact sheet from NCCAM gives basic information about diabetes and dietary supplements.
Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Lipids: Glycemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome and on Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Renal Disease, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, and Osteoporosis
This report from the AHRQ focuses on omega-3 fatty acids.
This report from NCCAM summarizes the results of a study about the effects of vitamin E supplementation on adults with diabetes or vascular disease.
This fact sheet from NCCAM provides answers to frequently asked questions about choosing a CAM practitioner.
This webpage provides a list of CAM treatments and therapies with links to additional information.
This website links to information about NCCAM's clinical trials.
Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research. For information about current studies across the NIH, visit www.ClinicalTrials.gov.
Vitamin D studies show a link between people’s ability to maintain healthy blood glucose levels and having enough vitamin D in their blood. However, studies to determine the proper vitamin D levels for people with diabetes and for preventing diabetes are ongoing; no special recommendations have been made about vitamin D levels or supplements for people with diabetes. This webpage from MedlinePlus, service of National Library of Medicine, NIH.
The NCCAM Clearinghouse provides information about CAM and NCCAM, including publications and searches of federal databases of scientific and medical literature. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.
Page last updated: January 24, 2012