diabetes natural treatments

Are There Natural Treatments for Diabetes?

Diabetes, Insulin Resistance + Blood Sugar Research

There are many natural treatment options for diabetes.  One of our naturopathic doctors can put together a well researched plan that is ideal for you.

Natural Medicine for Diabetes Research


Akhtar MS, Ramzan A, Ali A, Ahmad M. Effect of Amla fruit ( Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) on blood glucose
and lipid profile of normal subjects and type 2 diabetic patients. Int J Food Nutr . 2011;
● Amla fruit powder (1, 2, or 3 g) resulted significant decrease in fasting and 2-hour postprandial
blood glucose levels after 21 days in normal and diabetic patients compared to baseline
● Significant decrease in total cholesterol and TGs in normal and diabetic people receiving 3 g of
Amla powder
● Diabetic patients on 3 g of amla had significant decrease in total lipids on day 21
● Normal and diabetic receiving 2 or 3 g of powder had significantly improved HDL-c and lowered

Moringa Oleifera:

Anthanont P, Lumlerdkij N, Akarasereenont P, Vannasaeng S, Sriwljitkamol A. Moringa oleifera leaf
increases insulin secretion after single dose administration: a preliminary study in healthy
subjects. J Med Assoc Thai . 2016; 99(3): 308-13.
● This preliminary study found that in ten healthy volunteers (mean age 29), moringa oleifera leaf
oral dose after an overnight fast, where 4 g MO significantly increased insulin secretion in
healthy subjects, and therefore may be potential agent in treatment of type II diabetes.

Cognitive Performance:

Geijselaers SLC, Sep SJS, Claessens D, Schram MT, van Boxtel MPJ, Henry RMA, Verhey FRJ, Kroon AA,
Dagnelie PC, Schwalkwijk CG, van der Kallen CJH, Biessels GJ, Stehouwer CDA. The role of
hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, and blood pressure in diabetes-associated differences in
cognitive performance – The Maastricht Study. Diabetes Care . 2017; doi: 10.2337/dc17-0330.
● Individuals with type II diabetes performed worse in all cognitive domains (memory, processing
speed, executive function, and attention) compared to those with normal glucose metabolism.
Individuals with prediabetes did not perform worse. Results suggest that early glycemic and
blood pressure control at the prediabetic stage may be a promising therapeutic target for the
prevention of diabetes-associated decrements in cognitive performance.

Salba Seeds:

Ho H, Lee AS, Jovanovski E, Jenkins AL, Desouza R, Vuksan V. Effect of whole and ground Salba seeds
(Salvia hispanica L) on postprandial glycemia in healthy volunteers: a randomized controlled,
dose-response trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013; 67(7): 786-8.
● Test meals were 7, 15 or 24 g of whole or ground salba baked into white bread and three control
breads matched for energy and macronutrient profile; capillary blood samples collected at
fasting and over 2 hours post-consumption
● Significant effect of dose – but none of form – on attenuation of blood glucose levels


Keen H, Payan J, Allawi J, Walker J, Jamal GA, Weir AI, Henderson LM, Bissessar EA, Watkins PJ, Sampson
M, et al. Treatment of diabetic neuropathy with gamma-linoleic acid. The gamma-Linoleic Acid
Multicenter Trial Group. Diabetes Care . 1993; 16(1):8-15.
● GLA supplementation (480 mg/day for one year) had a significant beneficial effect on the course
of diabetic neuropathy – treatments were more effective in those who had well-controlled
diabetes compared to poorly-controlled.

Intestinal Microbiome:

Knip M, Honkanen J. Modulation of Type I Diabetes Risk by the Intestinal Microbiome. Curr Diab Rep .
2017; 17(11):105.

L-carnitine and B12:

Li S, Chen X, Li Q, Du J, Liu Z, Peng Y, Xu M, Li Q, Lei M, Wang C, Zheng S, Zhang X, Yu H, Shi J, Tao S, Feng
P, Tian H. Effects of acetyl-L-carnitine and methylcobalamin for diabetic peripheral neuropathy:
a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. J Diabetes Investig . 2016; 7(5):777-85.

Vitamin D:

Mirhosseini N, Vatanparast H, Mazidi M, Kimball SM. The effect of improved serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D
status on glycemic control in diabetic patients: a meta-analysis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab . 2017;
● Vitamin D supplementation at 100 micrograms per day (4000 IU/day) was associated with
significant reductions in glycemic responses and insulin resistance markers (serum fasting
plasma glucose, HbA1c, and homeostatic model of insulin resistance) in type II diabetic patients.


Panahi Y, Khalili N, Sahebi E, Namazi S, Reiner Z, Majeed M, Sahbekar A. Curcuminoids modify lipid
profile in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized controlled trial. Complement Ther Med . 2017;

● Curcuminoids (1000 mg qd) + piperine (10 mg qd) vs. placebo – measured TC, LDL-c, HDL-C, TG,
Lp(a), and non-HDL-c at baseline and end of trial
● Significant reductions in TC, non-HDL-c, Lp(a) and elevation in HDL-c in curcuminoids groups
compared to placebo group
● Serum TG and LDL-c changes were insignificant

Interval Training:

Sjoros TJ, Heiskanen MA, Motiani KK, Loyttyniemi E, Eskelinen JJ, Virtanen KA, SAvisto NJ, Solin O,
Hannukainen JC, Kalliokoski KK. Increased insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in both leg and arm
muscles after sprint interval and moderate-intensity training in subjects with type 2 diabetes or
prediabetes. Scand J Med Sci Sports . 2017; doi:10.1111/sms.12875.
● Sprint interval training (SIT) and moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) both led to 25%
increase in whole-body insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, significant in all thigh and upper arm
muscles; two weeks of this resulted in 138% and 93% respective increases in quadriceps femoris
glucose uptake.
● Both groups had increased fatty acid uptake in QF muscle
● Peak VO2 improved by 5% in SIT group


Veronese N, Watutantrige-Fernando S, Solmi M, Sartore G, Sergi G, Manzato E, Barbagallo M, Maggi S,
Stubbs B. Effect of magnesium supplementation on glucose metabolism in people with or at risk
of diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of double-blind randomized controlled trials.
Eur J Clin Nutr . 2016; 70(12):1354-1359.


Vuksan V, Stavro MP, Sievenpiper JL, Beljan-Zdravkovic U, Leiter LA, Josse RG, Xu Z. Similar postprandial
glycemic reductions with escalation of dose and administration time of American ginseng in type
2 diabetes. Diabetes Care . 2000; 23(9):1221-6.
● Study finds American ginseng reduced postprandial glycemia irrespective of dose and time of


Webster LR, Peppin JF, Murphy FT, Lu B, Tobias JK, Vanhove GF. Efficacy, safety, and tolerability of
NGX-4010, capsaicin 8% patch, in an open-label study of patients with peripheral neuropathic
pain. Diabetes Res Clin Pract . 2011; 93(2):187-97.
● Application of a patch containing capsaicin for 60-90 minutes following pretreatment with
lidocaine topical anesthetics significantly reduced pain for up to 12 weeks compared to placebo


Supplementation with CoQ10 and alpha-tocopherol for 8 weeks was found to reduce levels of glycated hemoglobin and pancreatic lipid peroxidation in those with type 2 diabetes. Source: Nutr Res, 2008; 28(2): 113-21.

In a rat model of insulin resistance/type 2 diabetes, treatment with coenzyme Q10 after a high fat/high fructose diet was found to oppose the effects of a high fat/high fructose diet. Source: PLoS One, 2014 Feb 20; 9(2): e89169.

Oral intake of ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10) was found to have a protective effect on the renal system and minimize type II diabetes. Source: Free Radic Biol Med, 2011 Nov 21.

Ubiquinone (CoQ10) supplementation in type II diabetes patients improved neuropathy symptoms score, neuropathy impairment score, and reduced oxidative stress. Source: J Diabetes Complications. 2012 Jul; 26(4):352-8. Epub 2012 May 16.

Administration of CoQ10 was found to decrease pain hypersensitivity and long-term supplementation was found to prevent development of diabetic neuropathic pain in obese diabetic mice. Source: Neurobiol Dis, 2013 May 16.

Combined supplementation with coenzyme Q10, alpha-lipoic acid and vitamin E along with polarized light therapy, was found to be effective at controlling the complications of type 2 diabetes. Source: Bratisl Lek Listy, 2010; 111(4): 205-11.

Supplementation with 200 mg/d of coenzyme Q10 was found to reduce serum haemoglobin A1c and improve total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels after 2 weeks. Source: Minerva Gastroenterol Diabetol, 2013 June; 59(2): 231-6.


Consumption of either pomegranate juice or extract was found to benefit subjects with type 2 diabetes by improving paraoxonase 1, thereby slowing the development of atherosclerosis. Source: J Agric Food Chem, 2008; 56(18): 8704-13.

Sea Buckthorn:

Supplementation with sea buckthorn and blueberry was found ot be beneficial to children with type 1 diabetes. Source: Acta Physiol Hung, 2008; 95(4): 383-93.

Alpha-Lipoic acid:

Supplementation with alpha-lipoic acid was found to reduce symptoms of diabetic neuropathy in 99% of diabetic subjects involved in the study. Source: Bosn J Basic Med Sci, 2008; 8(4): 341-5.

Alpha lipoic acid was found to improve fasting blood glucose, HbA1c and lipid peroxide status in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Source: Metabolism, Volume 60, Issue 4, pages 480-485, April 2011.

Supplementation with alpha-lipoic acid reduced fasting blood glucose in type 2 diabetes patients. Markers of oxidative stress were also lower with supplementation. Source: Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2012

Supplementation with alpha-lipoic acid in addition to insulin treatment was found to reduce oxidative stress in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Source: Rev Diabet Stud, 2013 Spring; 10(1): 58-67.

Supplementation with alpha-lipoic acid was found to regulate adipokine and enhance the anti-inflammatory effects of insulin in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and polyneuropathy. Source: Lu Y, Shu-Fei Z, Mei-Qing S, Zhongguo Yi Xue Ke Xue Yuan Xue Bao, 2013 July; 35(3): 353-6.


The addition of 6 g of resistant maltodextrin (low-viscous soluble fiber) in drinks and foods was found to lower the response to starchy foods by 20% and 10% respectively. Source: Am J Clin Nutr, 2009; 89(1): 114-25.

Vitamin E:

Vitamin E supplementation in patients with glycogen storage disease type 1b phenotype was found to have a beneficial effect on neutrophil counts and reduce the risk of infections. Source: Eur J Pediatr, 2008 Dec 9;.

Supplementation with vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid and omega-3 fatty acids was found to significantly decrease hemoglobin A1c and fasting blood glucose after 90 days of treatment. Source: Ann Med Health Sci Res, 2013 July; 3(3): 442-446.

Cranberry :

Cranberry supplementation may improve lipid profiles in type 2 diabetes patients taking oral glucose-lowering medication. Source: Diabet Med, 2008; 25(12): 1473-7.


Supplementation with glutamine was found to increase circulating concentrations of glucagons-like peptide 1, which plays a role in meal-related insulin secretion. Source: Am J Clin Nutr, 2009; 89(1): 106-13.

Maize-based fibers:

Ingestion of maize-based fibers was found to significantly reduce postprandial glycemia in healthy adults. Source: J Am Coll Nutr, 2008; 27(6): 711-8.

Vitamin D3:

Plasma vitamin D concentrations were found to be inversely associated with fasting plasma glucose and insulin concentrations, and homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance. Source: J Nutr, 2009; 139(2): 329-34.

300,000 IU vitamin D3 given intramuscularly was found to be associated with beneficial changes in type 2 diabetes patients. Source: Swiss Med Wkly, 2014 March 20; 144; w13942.

Vitamin D deficiency is diabetic hemodialysis patients may be associated with increased risk of sudden cardiac death, cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality. Source: Eur Heart J, 2010 Aug 5.

Vitamin D insufficiency in HIV-positive male patients was found to be associated with impaired insulin sensitivity and a decrease in pancreatic beta cell function. Source: HIV Med; 2013 May 8.

Vitamin D deficiency was found to be associated with an 85% greater risk of type II diabetes mellitus in HIV patients. Source: AIDS, 2010 Dec 20.

Supplementation with vitamin D in early childhood may protect against type 1 diabetes development. Source: Arch Dis Child. 2008 Jun;93(6):512-7.

Vitamin D deficiency in those with diabetes increases the risk of developing peripheral neuropathy. Source: Diabetic Medicine, Volume 29, Issue 1, pages 50–55, January 2012

Vitamin D supplementation may improve glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Source: Kostoglou-Athanassiou I, et al, Ther Adv Endocrinol Metab, 2013 Aug; 4(4): 122-8.

Low serum levels of vitamin D are linked with a high risk of diabetes mellitus in Korean adults. Source: J Nutr, 2011 August; 141(8): 1524-8.


Supplementation with L-carnitine along with sibutramine was found to be significantly more effective at improving lipid profile and insulin resistance, glycemic control and body weight compared to sibutramine alone. Source: Intern Med, 2010; 49(16): 1717-25.


Benfotiamine, a synthetic derivative of thiamine (vitamin B1) used in the treatment of diabetic complications, was found to have anti-inflammatory properties and regulate arachidonic acid metabolites. Source: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, Volume 52, Issue 1, pages 182-190, January 2012.


The red pigment astaxanthin, found in some marine animals like shrimp and crustaceans, was found to decrease C-reactive protein levels in some animal models of diabetes. Source: Journal of Food Science, February 2012.

Flax Seed:

Flax seed reduces fasting blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin, total cholesterol, triglycerides and more, making it beneficial to diabetics. Source: J Diet Suppl, 2011 Sep; 8(3): 257-65.


A higher intake of anthocyanin-rich foods (blue-purple coloured vegetables and fruits like blueberries and red cabbage) is associated with a lower risk of type II diabetes. Source: Am J Clin Nutr, 2012 Apr; 95(4):925-33.


Short term intake of cinnamon may lower glycemic index in type II diabetes mellitus patients. Source: Clin Nutr, 2012 May 12.

Cinnamon extract was found to improve blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Source: Complementary Prescriptions Journal, Vol.26, Issue 12, Dec. 2012

Addition of 6g of ground cinnamon to instant farina cereal was found to significantly increase blood glucose after 120 minutes. Source: Do J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012 Nov;112(11):1806-9.


A link was found between total zinc intake and fasting glucose in people carrying the glucose-raising A allele. Source: Diabetes, 2011 Aug 1.

Zinc supplementation was found to be associated with a reduction in fasting glucose and a trend towards reducing glycated haemoglobin. Source: Ruz M, Carrasco F, et al, Food Nutr Bull, 2013 June; 34(2): 215-21.


Dietary heme intake in prepregnant women was found to have a positive and considerable relationship with gestational diabetes mellitus risk. Source: Diabetes Care, 2011 July; 34(7): 1557-63.

Offspring of type 2 diabetes patients were found to have altered expression of genes related to mitochondrial activity, iron status, and oxidative stress markers. Source: Complementary Prescriptions Journal, Vol.26, Issue 12, Dec. 2012

Green Tea:

Both green tea and grape seed extract were found to be associated with glycemic control and may be used in blood sugar management. Source: J. Agric. Food Chem., June 15, 2012

The green tea polyphenol (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate was found to reduce postprandial blood glucose levels by inhibiting carbohydrate-digesting amylase enzymes. Source: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 56:11(1647–1654) Nov 2012.


Supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids was found to improve markers of insulin resistance. Source: European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, 2011.

Consumption of fish, shellfish, and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids was found to be associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in women. Source: Am J Clin Nutr, 2011 June 15.

Omega-3 fatty acid intake was found to be associated with a reduced risk of islet autoimmunity in children with an increased genetic risk for type 1 diabetes. Source: JAMA. 2007 Sep 26;298(12):1420-8.

Omega-3 fatty acid intake was found to be associated with a reduced risk of islet autoimmunity in children with high genetic risk for type 1 diabetes. Source: JAMA. 2007 Sep 26;298(12):1420-8.

Daily omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients significantly reduced serum IL-2 and TNF- α levels. Source: Singapore Med J. 2012 Sep;53(9):615-9.

Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids may reduce diabetes risk in Native American groups. Source: Public Health Nutr, 2013 March 21: 1-5

Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA were found to prevent an increase of oxidative stress levels without changing markers of inflammation in type 2 diabetes patients. Source: Int J Prev Med, 2013 Aug; 4(8): 922-8.


Supplementation with selenium may reduce the risk of type II diabetes. Source: Diabetes Care, 2012 Jul; 35(7): 1544-51.


Supplementation with curcumin for 9 months reduced the risk of developing type II diabetes mellitus in prediabetic patients. Source: Diabetes Care, 2012 Jul 6.

After 9 months of curcumin supplementation in pre-diabetic patients, none were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, showing that curcumin could be used in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Source: Diabetes Care. 2012 Nov; 35(11):2121-7.

Curcumin was found to relieve diabetic hyperalgesia, probably by inhibiting action on TNF-alpha and the TNF-alpha receptor 1. Source: Int J Med Sci, 2013; 10(4): 377-81.


A study found chromium imbalances in pediatric patients with type I diabetes. Source: Pediatr Int, 2012 Jul 11.

Chromium possesses insulin-potentiating effects and was found to improve glycemic control when administered along with an antidiabetic medication. Source: Complementary Prescriptions Journal, Vol.26, Issue 12, Dec. 2012


Diaphragmatic breathing was found to reduce body mass index, waist-hip ratio, and fasting and postprandial plasma glucose in type 2 diabetes patients. Source: Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2012 Aug; 18(3):151-3.


Supplementation with resveratrol for 3 months significantly improved systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol and total protein in type 2 diabetes patients. Source: Nutr Res. 2012 Jul; 32(7):537-41. Epub 2012 Jul 27.

MTHFR Genetic Mutation:

Type 2 diabetics who are carriers of a mutation in the MTHFR gene have an increased risk of kidney and eye disease compared to diabetics without the mutation. Source: Journal of the Renin-Angiotensin Aldosterone System, May 2012.

Vitamin K:

Higher intakes of vitamin K in elderly individuals with high risk of cardiovascular disease were found to significantly lower risk of type II diabetes. Source: Am J Clin Nutr November 2012.

Stem cells:

Researchers have identified and isolated stem cells from the adult pancreas and discovered a way to make them produce insulin. This could potentially be a cure for type 1 diabetes in the future. Source: Type 1 Diabetes, Pathology, Issue 652, 15 November, 2012.

Tai Chi:

Diabetic patients with neuropathy were assigned to Tai Chi for 12 weeks and saw a significant improvement in total symptoms scores, glucose control, balance, and quality of life. Source: J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Dec;18(12):1172-8. Epub 2012 Sep 17.


Lifestyle interventions such as weight reduction, dietary modification and increased exercise led to a 39% decrease in the risk of developing type2 diabetes. Source: Complementary Prescriptions Journal, Vol.27, Issue 3, Feb 2013.

Regular activity breaks during prolonged sitting decreased postprandial glycemia and insulinemia in healthy, normal-weight adults. Source: Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Aug;98(2):358-66.


Daily supplementation with ginger was found to significantly lower levels of insulin, LDL cholesterol, Triglycerides, and the HOMA index, and increase the QUICKI index. Source: Int J Food Sci Nutr, 2013 March 18

Daily supplementation with ginger (2 g per day) was found to improve insulin sensitivity and some fractions of lipid profile. Source: Int J Food Sci Nutr, 2013 March 18


A 500 mg per day increase in total flavonoids was found to be associated with a 5% reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Source: Clinical Nutrition, 2013; [Epub ahead of print].

Olive leaf:

Olive leaf extract supplementation led to a 15% improvement in insulin sensitivity and a 28% improvement in pancreatic beta-cell responsiveness compared to placebo. Source: PLoS One, 2013; 8(3): e57622.

Acupuncture :

Treatment with acupuncture over 15 days was found to significantly reduce numbness and alterations in temperature perception in the lower extremities. Source: J Acupunct Meridian Stud, 2010; 3(2): 95-103.


Antioxidants, which help with inflammation and oxidative stress, have been proven to shorten healing time and improve wound closure of diabetic lesions and ulcerations. Source: Nutrition & Metabolism 2011, 8:80, 17 November 2011

Vitamin C:

Individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus that supplemented with either vitamin C, vitamin E or a combination of the two experienced significant improvements in blood pressure, plasma fasting blood glucose and HbA1c. Source: Glob J Health Sci, 2013 March 20; 5(3): 183-7.


Inulin supplementation in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients was found to significantly decrease fasting plasma glucose, glycosylated haemoglobin, and malondialdehyde levels, as well as increase total antioxidant capacity and superoxide dimustase activity. Source: Diabetes Metab J, 2013 April; 37(2): 140-8.


A high protein diet was found to lower blood glucose postprandially in persons with type 2 diabetes and improve overall glucose control. Source: Am J Clin Nutr October 2003 vol. 78 no. 4 734-741

Acacia Arabica:

Oral treatment with Acacia Arabica extract for 21 days was found to decrease serum glucose, insulin resistance, total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL-cholesterol, malondiadehyde and increase HDL-cholesterol and CoQ10 levels in diabetic rats. Source: Hegazy GA, Alnoury AM, et al, Saudi Med J, 2012 July; 34(7): 727-33.

Vitamin B12:

Vitamin B12 and calcium supplementation may alleviate metformin-associated cognitive performance decline in type 2 diabetes patients taking metformin. Source: Diabetes Care, 2013; [Epub ahead of print, Sept 5, 2013].


The highest quartile of seaweed (algae) consumption showed a 34% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in Korean men. Source: Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo), 2010; 56(1): 13-18.


Naringin, a flavonoid responsible for grapefruit’s bitter taste, was found to improve glucose tolerance and liver mitochondrial dysfunction without decreasing total body weight. Source: Nutrients, 2013 Feb 27; 5(3): 637-50.

Olive oil:

Consumption of olive oil as opposed to sunflower oil was found to be associated with a lower risk of obesity, impaired glucose metabolism, hypertriglyceridemia, and low HDL cholesterol. Source: Soriguer F, Rojo-Martinez, et al, Eur J Clin Nutr, 2013 July 17.

Grape Seed Extract:

Grape seed extract was found to be associated with glycemic control and may be used in blood sugar management. Source: J. Agric. Food Chem., June 15, 2012


Calcium and vitamin D intake were independently associated with insulin sensitivity in African American women but not European American women. Source: Nutr Metab (Lond), 2010; 7: 28.


Dietary supplementation with bioactives from blueberries may improve insulin sensitivity obese, non-diabetic, insulin-resistant individuals. Source: J Nutr, 2010 Aug 19.


Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a steroid hormone in the human body, was found to improve insulin resistance and inflammatory markers in the elderly. Source: Aging (Albany NY). 2011 May; 3(5): 533–542.