Take some time to go through this list. You will NOT find any of these mentioned on any medical or pharmaceutical website. In my experience, doctors will not comment on any of these since it none are "medical" products or pharmaceutical products. Check out the citations, many of the supplements I have listed here have research studies supporting their use. Keep in mind, however, that many of these research projects are limited: these are supplements that do not command the high profit margins that phamaceutical products command ... there simply is no financial gain to be had by any company to make these natural supplements as mainstream treatment programs.
Why take them then? My view on this is simple: they are natural supplements, not chemicals or chemically synthetized. There are no more risks in natural supplements than with prescription medications. There actually might be less risk -- have you seen the list of prescription medications withdrawn from the market in recent years?
Berberine Berberine has been the source of joint university research and found to be as effective as metformin with one exception - Berberine is more effective at controlling triglycerides. I have run my own tests with and without Berberine and found it to control blood-glucose levels better with than without. Berberine is not available in Canada yet, and prices fluctuate wildly in the USA. I order mine from a discount vitamin online site.
Chromium Piconolate In my research, I found many many articles that show Chromium is either missing or in very low levels in diabetics. It is the one consistent piece of information in many articles about diabetes. Chromium Picolinate is the best absorbed version of Chromium (there are various types). I have run my own tests with and without Chromium Picolinate and found it to have the most impact on lowering blood-glucose levels. This is one supplement that I will not do without.
Link to Amazon.ca
Bitter Melon Bitter melon is a well recognized fruit that lowers blood glucose levels. However, a word of caution: you need to monitor blood glucose levels regularly ... bitter melon can lower blood glucose levels to a point where the person becomes hypoglycemic. I have added this recently and found that it does lower blood glucose levels as much as Chromium Picolanate. It also has a side benefit of making one more "regular" and helping with weight loss. Note: there may be a tendency in your thinking process to "cheap" a little bit and take an extra bitter melon ... don’t, it will not offset the cheating.
Gymnema Sylvestre This is another supplement that originates in southern India where it is called "CHAKKARAKKOLLI". This supplement has been used for two millenia in India to help control both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. It is unique in that it is a blood-glucose "balancer". One of the desirable side-effects of Gymnema Sylvestre is that it dampens cravings for sugar.
Arnica Montana Arnica is a homeopathic remedy. You can buy it in liquid form or, more commonly, as round little pillules in their own dispenser. I stumbled into this remedy after reading about it on an Asian medical help site. The site operators are all either medical doctors, homeopathic doctors, or (in many cases), both medical and homeopathic doctors. One of the medical/homeopathic doctors with over 30 years experience was answering a question from a user regarding blood sugar control. The user was asking about homeopathic remedies that might help with what seemed to be out-of-control blood sugar readings. This medical/homeopathic doctor was joined by five other doctors in recommending Arnica. This answer was quite controversial with the other homepaths on the site. The answer generated some heated arguments between the homeopaths. Apparently, Arnica should have the opposite effect and raise blood sugar levels. Over a period of over one week, I read every post and did a ton of research on Arnica. It seemed that its main properties when used appropriately was to control inflammation. In addition to diabetes, I have Idiopathic Chronic Pancreatitis. My belief is that the pains from pancreatitis are caused by inflammation of the pancreas. If these six doctors were recommending Arnica as a means to regulate blood sugar levels, and it has the potential of also controlling inflammation of the pancreas, I thought it worth trying. My research showed that there were no risks in trying Arnica. The exact quote from the homeopaths that swayed me was to the effect that a child could take the entire bottle of Arnica and have no detrimental effects. I bought some the next day. Arnica remains one of the supplements that I will not give up. It immediately lowered by blood sugar levels to normal ranges. Anytime I have had any signs of pain flare-ups, I used to take a couple of ibuprofen tablets to ward off the oncoming pain - ibuprofen would act in about 20 minutes. Please note that ibuprofen, or any other NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) type pain relief medication, is NOT recommended for anyone with pancreatitis (or any other GI related issues). When I switched from ibuprofen to Arnica, the pain twinges would be gone in less than 2 minutes (often less than 20 seconds). I have recommended Arnica Montana to others suffering from diabetes, Colitis, and Chrohn Disease and all report lessened symptoms and no pain flare-ups. I will provide no citations for Arnica Montana. This is one remedy that you need to research on your own. Homeopathic remedies are not like traditional medicines, recommending or "prescribing" them needs an evaluation of an entire individual. The success of any homeopathy treatment is based on many aspects of an individual. Homepathic doctors and practioners will spend a considerable amount of time to determine which of many homepathic compounds could be of benefit to the individual. Homepathic treatments are not like traditional prescription meds or over-the-counter supplements and SHOULD NOT be self-medicated. Either do one of two things: consult with a homepathic doctor/practioner, or at the very least research properly. There is an excellent reference book that I have purchased titled "The Family Guide To Homeopathy" by Dr. Andrew Lockie. ISBN-10: 0-671-76771-2 / ISBN-13: 978-0-671-76771-6
NSAID’s are also anti-inflammatory, and many pharmacists, nurses, and some doctors will suggest this is a good strategy to relieve the inflammation of pancreatitis, it is not recommended by most GI specialists. NSAID’s work by blocking both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. COX-2 enzymes are related to inflammation. COX-1 enzymes are those protect again damage throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Blocking these enzymes leads to mucosal damage, ulceration and ulcer complications. To deal with the damaging effects of NSAID’s inhibiting COX-1 enzymes, new anti-inflammatory medicines targetting COX-2 enzymes were developed. Two of those have since been removed from the market, and only one remains. Apparently there is an increased risk of cardiovascular adverse events when COX-2 inhibitors are used. If you need to use OTC (Over-The-Counter) pain relief, the best choice is naproxen, shown in studies to cause the least damage to the pancreas (conclusions from the same report show that NSAIDs are a cause of acute pancreatitis - those of you considering an ERCP should also read this report). One example of a naproxen-based pain and anti-inflammatory is Aleve, available OTC in both Canada and the USA.
Neuropathy A family member also has the symptoms of neuropathy. I helped do some research to help that family member and have included some links below that may help you as well. Note the link for a book titled "Ampalaya, Nature's Remedy for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes" by Frank Murray. I HIGHLY recommend finding a copy of this book. Ampalaya is another name for Bitter Melon (which is also known as bitter gourd, pavakka, mamordica, and ampalaya).
It would appear that taking St. John’s Wort and L-carnitine would be useful for anyone with neuropathy. Especially, L-carnitine has been shown in universiry studies to increase nerve fibers and improve sensations with decreased pain.
Researchers at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan, report that L-carnitine is an important nutrient for the mitochondria (the cell’s engine), since it is thought to enhance the fat-burning potential of the cells. Also, studies suggest that those with diabetic neuropathies (nerve damage) can experience improvement by taking 1000 mg of L-carnitine three times daily. People who did so noted decreased pain and improved vibratory sensation, which corresponded to an increase in the overall number of nerve fibers, along with improved nerve-fiber regeneration.(19) and, footnote 19 says: 19. Murray, F: 100 Super supplements for a Longer Life. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2000, 113.
Berberine is also know as:
Latin name: Berberis aristata
English name: Tree Turmeric, Indian Barberry, Ophthalmic Barberry
Indian name: Daru haldi, Rasuant
Sanskrit name: Daruharidra
Hindi: chitra, chotra, darhald, kash-mal, kashmal
Malayalam: kasturimanjal, maradarisina, maramanjal, maramannal
Kannada: bagisutra, doddamaradarsina, bagisutrum, gantarishina
Sanskrit: daru, daruharidra, kaliyaka, kastaranjani, pacampaca
Tamil: mullukala, maramanjal, kasturimanjal, usikkala, mullukkala, cailapitti, kottukkala, ucikkala
Telugu: daruharidra, kasturipaspu, kasthoori pushpa
Urdu: aarghis, rasaut, zarishk
Bitter Melon is also known as:
Momordica charantia often called bitter melon, bitter gourd or bitter squash
Goya from the indigenous language of Okinawa and karavella from Sanskrit are also used by English-language speakers.
India: bitter melon, bitter gourd, bitter squash, kugua
Chinese: pinyin: kugua
Javanese and Indonesian: pare or pare ayam
Malayalam:: pavayka, kayppayka, bubulu
Vietnamese: muop dang, kho qua
Trinidad and Tobago: caraille, carilley
Haiti: asorosi, assorosie
Jamaica/Caribbean: cerasee, cerasse
Portuguese/Spanish speaking regions: melão de São Caetano
Nepali: tite karela
Turkey: kudhreth narhy, kudret nari
Sri Lanka: karavila
Gymnemna Sylvestre is also known as:
Indian Name: Gurmar
Hindi: chhota-dudhilata, gudmar, gurmar, medhashingi
Marathi: kavali, bedaki, bedakuli, kalikardori, kaoli
Tamil: adigam, amudupushpam, ayagam, kogilam
Malayalam: chakkarakkolli, madhunasini
Kannada: kadhasige, sannagera, sannagerasehambu
Telugu: bodaparta, podapatra
Sanskrit: ajaballi, ajaghandini, karnika, kshinavartta, madhunasini
Urdu: gurmar, gurmar booti, gurmar patta
Just a quick note to acknowledge that I really value you website. The information and detail is exactly what one would be seeking but you also offer links to the actual research. That is priceless. I hope this message finds you well and hoping you have an awesome day.