Any success with Supplements, herbs and vitamins

By Robert_James Latest Reply 2012-09-01 02:11:49 -0500
Started 2010-08-24 10:24:35 -0500

I am interested in hearing from members who have had noticeable success in taking herbs, vitamins or supplements, especially the effect/stabilizing of sugar levels.
Although only an apprentice Type1 diabetic, diagnosed at 59 years young in November 2007, I have decided not to take any drugs for management of my condition and to rid my diet of as much processed foods as possible, including the artificial sweetners pushed so much by traditional medicine.

This is going against some diabetic advisors I was referred to following release from hospital and some intense research into the effects of various drugs.
Nature originally got it all right and provided some great natural and powerful (and cheap) medicines for us to use and understand.

Being a bit of a contrarian by nature and going more by some gut feeling (and contradicted advice given) and wise use of these "magical medicines" (water, exercise, positive thinking, proven herbs, supplements that work) has seen insulin requirements go down by 70% during the last two years. (Advice given was for a 6 - 12 month honeymoon period then an increase in insulin levels).
If you have any stories of non traditional diabetes thinking and management would love to hear as on thing that is starting to stand out to me is that no 2 diabetics are the same and there may be some wrong advice being given to folks by traditional medical thinking.

23 replies

monkeymama 2010-08-25 23:28:31 -0500 Report

Hello there Robert! I am currently taking cinnamon, Omega 3, and Chromium each day. I am doing AMAZING!!! My triglycerides are normal, cholesterol is WAY DOWN, BG numbers have been coming WAY DOWN (besides the insulin pump doing its job), I am losing weight, and I am feeling GREAT. I tried just the cinnamon years ago and did good but I stopped after having major surgery and everything went to scrap. The past 3-4 months now, I have been back on the cinnamon and added the others and "Seeing is believing…". The only thing is, I am also having to use a pump to help control mine. With insulin, vitamin/supplement cocktail, positive attitude, fitness, and diet changes. It has allowed me a wonderful road to success. I do agree though, there are no 2 diabetics that are the same. I am a nursing/medical student and I firmly believe in all options in controlling diabetes. I like keeping an open mind and doing what works the best for my body and for others. Just like my view on insulin is…our bosies make it naturally therefore it is just as natural by using the pump to help give my body more. The only difference, it is in a bottle and has to be injected. I believe orals are at times a joke. It just depends…

Kirla 2010-08-24 18:19:31 -0500 Report

I haven't found or taken any herbs, vitamins or supplements that have helped with blood sugar control. I have tried several several herbs and vitamins and found they have little or no effect on my blood sugar. I'm too cheap to buy supplements so haven't tried to many of them.

I found that drinking lots of water and eating lots of low carb vegetables and testing my blood sugar before and after each meal worked better than any drugs did. By testing I found that bread, pasta, potatoes, grains and most products made of them spike my blood sugar more than what I like so I quit eating them.

Robert_James 2010-08-24 21:14:35 -0500 Report

Hi Kirla, thank you for the reply,
you are on a good dietary regime there, water does seem something us diabetics can call a medicine!
I have tried many different types of bread and certainly some of the overly processed (white) types do have a notable spike effect on sugar levels, so I stick to a Multi-grain brand, 9 grain organic and without soy seed where possible and sweet potatoes, all in moderate doses though!

Diane987 2010-08-24 11:24:17 -0500 Report

Hi Robert,

I see you were diagnosed in November of 1987, but how long have you not been taking any medications? Please tell me you are checking your blood glucose levels regularly. I believe in non-traditional methods, but what you are doing as a type-1 diabetic scares the hell out of me. I have had type-2 diabetes for 25 years and just recently got taken off one of my medications because my blood work showed I really did not need it anymore. It dumbfounded my doctors but I know it is because of the Reliv nutritional supplements I take. They have been proven effective in lowering glucose levels through independent clinical trials. I know a lot of type-1 and type-2 diabetics who have seen great benefits from these supplements including many reversals of diabetic neuropathy. Many are completely off their medications, but they are all type-2. Are you sure you are really a type-1?

outrigger1945 2010-08-29 10:34:40 -0500 Report

What kind of supplement is Reliv? were do you get it and how long have you been taking it? I am having a lot of problems with my sugar besides other problems. I asked my Dr. to check my meds see if changing them would help. Everytime I go she gives me more. Now I am on 2 acidreflux meds. i feel like a guinea pig.

Robert_James 2010-08-24 12:12:19 -0500 Report

Hi Diane,
actually diagnosed November 2007, taking insulin can miss one or two doses of Nova on some days depending on excercise and eating regime (smaller snacks more often) with only marginal difference in average sugar levels . No drugs taken due to choice (and research to side effects).
Docs say it's definitely T1.
Upon leaving hospital almost three years ago it was eight units of Nova rapid x 3 daily and 16 units of lantus, my levels were over over the top, little and fine tuning and less insulin brought it down, now 3 x 3 Nova Rapid, 6 units of Lantus nightly sees very stable levels.
I have recently read a book by Richard Vaughn ( 64 year diabetic) , "Beating the Odds" and some great info there, one, which confirms my suspicion that no two diabetics are the same and something that works for one individual may not work for another.

Diane987 2010-08-24 15:15:41 -0500 Report

I have no doubt that you are right about no two diabetics being the same. Unfortunately, many medical professionals do like to treat us like rolled out cookie dough ready to be cut with the same diabetes cookie cutter maintenance plan. I'm glad that you are able to control your glucose levels with so little insulin. I understand about not wanting to take the other drugs to control diabetes. I am working hard to get my weight down so that I can come off of the other two that I take now. Best of luck to you, be safe and smart with your health. I am sure there are a lot of people who love you and want you to be around for many more years.

I don't know if you are aware but the guy who wrote that book is a member on this website. He is Richard157.

Robert_James 2010-08-24 21:26:51 -0500 Report

Hi Diane, keep up the good work, you will get there!
Yes have Richard's book and enjoyed very much, so much knowledge that he has acquired and used effectively in diabetes management over a long period, learnt much from his writings.

monkeymama 2010-08-25 23:32:35 -0500 Report

After I have up the oral medications, I was placed on 45u of Lantus at bedtime, sliding scale and I:C ratio with Novolin. I am now using Novolog for my insulin pump. richards book is proving to be quiet intersting. I am actually reading Jillian Michaels books and found her views and info to be right on as well.

MAYS 2010-08-24 11:18:47 -0500 Report

This discussion reminds me of one that I responded to, many months ago that created such a commotion, and I started to avoid this one, but I just couldn't bring myself to do so …

I am in total agreement with kdroberts.
If you are a diagnosed Type 1 diabetic, you are taking your life into your own hands, seriously.
The margin of error for a type one is very thin, a thin line that separates life from death, that thin line being insulin.

You cannot eliminate insulin injections out of your life as a Type 1 diabetic.

You do not have the flexibility that Type 2 diabetics have.
In my opinion, leave it alone, go on with your life as it is being prescribed for you.


Robert_James 2010-08-24 12:21:01 -0500 Report

Hi Mays, thank you for the reply, take insulin (no other drugs etc) however I am interested in seeing how low my insulin requirements are and still be able to remain as healthy as now, with no complications.
I have seen too many friends who are loaded up with prescription drugs (and being depleted of needed minerals and vitamins) and are not healthy and are physical and emotional wrecks and have medicos whom do not discuss any form of natural alternatives to them, surely an open mind is needed in diabetic management.

MAYS 2010-08-24 12:29:30 -0500 Report

I fully understand your point.
I just want say this, document your findings and please be very careful, yet stay in touch with your medical team concerning your health throughout this.
Keep us informed of both your findings, and your progress!


bettymachete 2010-08-24 10:55:05 -0500 Report

I will be able to back more of my claims up by my next A1c next month but I have been using an assortment of supplements and naturals and noticing some great results.
Cinnamon - I take daily
Unrefined Coconut oil - 1 tablespoon a day/ mixed into steel cut oats.
Resveratrol…or I eat loads of dark red or purple grapes
Freshly expressed Wheatgrass shots (2 ounces shot) - reduces my BG dramatically after I have had an unexpected spike.
I maintain low numbers between 70-107

kdroberts 2010-08-24 10:53:47 -0500 Report

You need to re-evaluate your position and quickly. If you are type 1 and don't take insulin, you will die. No ifs, no buts, it won't be a pleasant death and it won't take very long.

As for herbs and stuff helping, for type 1's they generally do very little. When they do work in type 2's it's usually down to a slight increase in insulin sensitivity but that is usually not a problem for type 1's, lack of insulin is. I've experimented with a lot of different herbs, minerals, vitamins, etc as well as some other alternative therapies and none have made any difference whatsoever. Some will make you feel better which in turn can lead to you taking better care of yourself but none have made a direct affect that can be measured.

Robert_James 2010-08-24 11:28:10 -0500 Report

Thank you kd for the reply and concern. I do not intend dying anytiime soon (too much living to do!) I'm afraid that I will have to disagree on the herbs not making a difference as I have (as with bettymachete) have had some measurable success and understanding of what some of natures superfoods can do for a diabetic.
These are things that traditional medicine does not want out in the public because of many vested interest in the huge repeat business of supplying diabetics with needed supplies.
Not saying here that I have all the answers and daily something new is learnt about living with and managing diabetes, good advice found on forums and discussions help also.
My health is great due to a few things (like not taking drugs, getting rid of any aspartame in the diet, ridding of processed foodstuffs, plenty of greens, fruit, some lean meats, chicken, seafoods, vitamin D supplement, and some others that have lowered my insulin requirements dramatically)
Sugar levels are very stable (checked twice daily or more if doubtful ) and now learning to predict what they may be at any given time through mood, alertness and body temperature.
I am not your traditional diabetic thinker, I do claim however to be a healthy diabetic if there is such a term, through good management, an open minded and positive attitude, continuous study, exercise ( I am not a good target for the diabetic money makers!)
Unconvential thinking on this subject has been motivated by my special forces training in a previous career where thinking outside of the square is fairly standard procedure and has helped tremendously in having no complications and remaining healthy.

kdroberts 2010-08-24 11:48:32 -0500 Report

Well, if you are not taking insulin and your blood sugars are stable then chances are you are not type 1. Without insulin a type 1 will have no insulin in their body and will die pretty quickly.

It's also not really unconventional thinking, it's quite common really. There is a massive amount of research going into herbs, minerals and vitamins as well. The national institutes of health even has a pretty large research arm called the National Center for Alternative and Complimentary Medicine ( who runs studies on all sorts of therapies.

It's also funny you mention that traditional medicine gets huge repeat business supplying the more traditional sorts of things. I'm pretty sure all the suppliers of alternative therapies, supplements, vitamins, herbs, etc don't give them away for free. It's a HUGE business and a lot of people are trying to (and are) make money from it. One big difference is that for all the downsides to drug companies, suppliers, doctors etc, a good chunk of their money goes back into researching new treatments, new understanding of diseases, etc. With the alternative side of things, most of the money goes into somebodies pocket and into marketing materials "proving" their stuff works and why you should buy it. Very little goes towards furthering understanding of things.

Like I say, I've tried a lot of the alternative therapies and am no stranger to them. My mothers side family have been big proponents and users of alternative medicine for generations and I have grown up with it, probably more than I grew up with traditional medicine. There is a lot out there that can help, but there is also much more that wont, will cause problems and usually clung to with the hope that it might do something and a certain medical condition really isn't as bad as it really is.

kdroberts 2010-08-24 11:52:10 -0500 Report

I will also add that the real proof of something working is to eliminate it for a month or so and see if there are any changes. If there are no changes then something else, maybe diet, maybe exercise, whatever, is what's really helping. If there are negative changes then the alternative stuff was helping. Most people skip this step when considering if something works or does not work. I don't know the reasons why they do but it's an essential test.

GabbyPA 2010-08-24 20:16:53 -0500 Report

I have to agree with KD. You sound like a type 2 diabetic. Type 1 is insulin dependent because the body doesn't produce it any longer. That is why a type 1 cannot survive long without insulin. I say that mostly to caution any type 1's who might be reading your post and think they can stop the insulin.

Your diet and food choices are great and helpful, and your thinking is not really that unconventional except to those who are from the old school. That is what I love of this site, there are very few "old school" in the box thinkers here.

Robert_James 2010-08-24 22:02:35 -0500 Report

Thank you Gabby, come from the school of hard knocks (believe half of what one hears and some of what one sees!)
I certainly would not advise anyone to stop insulin and if folks are happy with their chosen management of diabetes that is fine.

My issue with allopathic medicine goes back around two years ago following a total change in diet and exercise, I began to feel very healthy . An appointment with a recommended diabetes medico produced a prescription for Lipitor saying that my cholesterol level was too high. Had one tablet (followed by nausea, lethargy, and generally feeling unenthusiastic) and threw the rest down the gurgler (apologies to the greenies as there are probably some fish in the food chain with some liver/kidney problems floating around!)

I obtained a copy of the comprehensive blood tests that this prescription was based upon and find out what the strange numbers, names and characters meant and surprise, most of the figures were in the middle of the tolerance ranges, cholesterol was 1 point below the max, have found that organic unfiltered vinegar can lower levels without the need for drugs.

There needs to be a new breed of medical practitioners available who study both traditional and alternate methods of diagnosis and cures and advise choices ,not related to how much profit each diabetic produce. This will probably not happen any time soon

kdroberts 2010-08-25 12:37:38 -0500 Report

Believe it or not, most doctors do study traditional, modern and alternative medicine and will freely discuss it with you when questioned. Most people don't care so they treat every patient based on the law of averages. Also most doctors don't profit from diabetics any more than any other patient. Unless they are self employed they get a salary and are expected to treat whoever comes through the door. There are always patients waiting in line to be seen so telling somebody to come back in a week and giving them pills doesn't get them any more money than telling somebody to go away for a year, exercise 3 times a week, change their diet and call them if their blood sugar still is high. Technically speaking, the more patients they see the less money per patient they get.

Statins and cholesterol are a topic all to themselves. I don't buy into most of the cholesterol thinking about how it relates to the cardiovascular system and low fat diets being good for cholesterol. However, it's never a good idea to put meds into the water system since the filtration plants generally don't filter them out so those statins you flushed are potentially out there in thousands of peoples drinks.

monkeymama 2010-08-25 23:38:20 -0500 Report

There is also a new form of diabetes that is beginning to take shape as well. Type 1.5 is where you have aspects of type 1 but have other evidence of type 2. Some doctors are beginning to use this as a diagnoses and there are some waiting to see where ADA falls with this. From what I am hearing from my doctor, it is not widely accepted YET but he said it is fastly coming. With all the new research and developments occurring each year, there are new things happening all the time.

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