Kate Cornell was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in June of 2005. Since then, she has controlled diabetes through dietary changes, exercise, and, more recently, metformin. She shares her experiences and lessons learned here and on her blog, kates-sweet-success.blogspot.com, which was named as one of the top diabetes blogs for 2015 by Healthline.com.
As people with diabetes, we’re used to seeing scads of advertisements from supplement manufacturers claiming to be able to help with the control of our blood glucose. It’s hard to know whether or not something will help, but when they claim to cure our diabetes, they are stepping over the line - and the Food and Drug Administration is taking notice.
This article in the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Forecast reports that the FDA has recently sent letters to 15 companies warning them that they are making bogus claims of diabetes cures, or making misleading claims, and they must stop or else!
Supplements Are Regulated Differently
It’s important to remember that the FDA does not oversee supplements like they do prescription medications and medical devices. However, they do pay attention when medical claims are made. For instance there are many substances, including cinnamon, which may help to improve blood glucose control. However, if a company labels their product as a diabetes medication, that’s illegal. A product isn’t allowed to claim it treats a disease such as diabetes or its complications unless it proves itself to the FDA through rigorous clinical research.
Another concern is that some supplements imported from other countries contain actual prescription medications. For instance, a supplement that ships from India, Diexi, was found to contain metformin. Another from Malaysia contained glyburide. The fear with these supplements is that people will be ingesting medications that should be monitored via prescriptions and their doctors will be unaware. Serious side effects can come from some of these medications, and if your doctor doesn’t know you’re taking them it will make it difficult to treat you properly.
Here is some good advice to follow when thinking about supplements:
· If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
· Beware of bogus online pharmacies.
· Tell your doctor everything.
· Don’t go “natural.” “Natural” remedies may contain unlisted drugs.
· No, they can’t replace your diabetes medications.