Diabetes Control And Over The Counter Supplements

I have been a pharmacist for 21 years and certified in diabetes management and I will tell you the issue of supplementation is very controversial and can be misleading to patients. I have encountered diabetics in deep trouble where their fasting blood sugar shot up to 300 and above because they dropped their medications because ” they wanted to take natural products like cinnamon and others because they don’t have side effects….” or for other reasons.

First let me start by saying that almost all over the counter products are not FDA approved meaning they are not controlled for quality, safety and effectiveness. People are at the mercy of the manufacturer and believe me that the litteratture is full of documentations of products and manufacturers caught with having inadequate amounts of active ingredients or none at all.

By law any manufacturer of over the counter products and supplements can claim anything they want on the package short of saying that this product
“Prevents, Cures or diagnoses a disease”. Next time you are at a store pick up any supplement and watch for terminology and I will bet you that you will not see these 3 terms used. They may say “This product “helps memory” or “this product is an aid for sugar metabolism” or “helps promote sugar metabolism…” or Reversirol similar statements. These statements professionally speaking mean nothing but patients cling on to these terms, self diagnose and self treat their conditions and this is dangerous practice that has affected and is affecting a lot of people. Because you are in the media, you have a responsibility to relay the facts and alert people for correct practices.

On the other hand all FDA approved prescription products have undergone a grewling 10 year approval process before they are released into the market and approved for various indications including diabetes. There are quality control procedures that are enforced on manufactures to submit data on quality control manufacturing practises on brand and generic brand names alike, safety and efficacy even after the product is released into the market.

When a drug company claims for example that Actos “is indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in patients with type diabetes” then you can take that to the bank because it has been proven by large scale reliable studies that have been reviewed by experts at the FDA and other professional health organizations and that’s what we professionals go by. Annecdotes on the internet do not mean technically much.

Now I stay up to date with profeesional informations especially with topics of my interest mentioned on the bottom page. Here is my opinion on supplements that is based on the latest information released in professional pharmacy journals and drug information systems regarding the supplements in question:

Vitamin D plays a vital role in calcium absorption and it’s deficency causes a whole host of problems. About 10 minutes exposure to the sun daily helps the body produce enough amounts. People should get about 400 to 800 units a day. Many foods are rich in vitamin D such as fish, eggs and fortified milk. Women should supplement with one pill of 600 mg of calcium plus vitamin D. Evidence about It’s use in Diabetes is definitely inconclusive.

Chromium Picolinate: Has been studied in sprint athletes and has shown to improve sugar uptake to the muscles but has not been shown to be of any advantage in diabetes.

Cinnamon: There has been a lot of talk about Cinnamon and recent data I reviewed in a professional pharmacy journal just last week states that Cinammon has not been shown to have any advantage in managing diabetes.

Coccina.. follows the same path. No conclusive evidence.

Magnesium: Is an essential mineral for a whole host of body processes including muscle function, relieving PMS, Energy breakdown and utilization, preventing migraines etc.. but no specific and credible information regarding additional supplementation to control diabetes. I recommend a multivitamin which includes enough magnesium. For Additional supplementation, even if magnesium is OTC, I would consult with a doctor for specific conditions.

There will not be a substitute for diabetes control other than what the health organizations and US Hospitals and universities, such as ADA and The World Health Organization. I outlined all these steps CLEARLY in my book “Lifestyle Makeover for Diabetics” where I based my data from these respectable resources. It is written in very simple language for the average individual.

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