In a new study, researchers found that common supplements people use in daily life could help manage diabetes.
They found that cinnamon can reduce fasting blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes; curcumin can improve insulin resistance in pre-diabetic and type 2 diabetes, and resveratrol can reduce glucose levels and improve insulin resistance.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of South Australia.
Diabetes is a chronic condition marked by high levels of glucose in the blood.
While type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, type 2 diabetes is most common and preventable in up to nearly 60%of cases by maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active and following a healthy eating plan.
The World Health Organization estimates that 422 million people (or one in 11) have diabetes, costing $986 billion in global health expenditure each year.
Every five minutes, someone in Australia is diagnosed with diabetes.
It’s Australia’s fastest-growing chronic condition, but as its prevalence grows more people are adding dietary supplements to their diets in the hope of reducing their risk of the disease.
In the new study, the researchers examined the efficacy of some of the most commonly used supplements (‘nutraceuticals’) to manage diabetes and its risk factors.
The review found that the nutraceuticals resveratrol (a compound from grapes), curcumin (from turmeric) and cinnamon were all effective in combatting various elements of diabetes, including regulating glucose, improving insulin resistance and reducing cholesterol.
The team says that more than 40% of Australian adults regularly use dietary supplements to enhance and improve their diets.
They’re easily available, accessible and affordable, and unlike pharmaceuticals, they don’t need a prescription, making them extraordinarily popular.
“The challenge is, however, knowing which nutraceuticals will deliver on their promises.
The study shows that for diabetes, nutraceuticals that used the active ingredients cinnamon, curcumin or resveratrol were all effective, but in different ways.
They also tested the efficacy of nutraceuticals on obesity, a key risk factor for diabetes, and, despite all the hype, none had any significant impact on weight loss.
The team says while nutraceuticals have their place, a healthy diet and lifestyle is the most important factor influencing health.
People should invest in a diet filled with whole foods – vegetables and fruits, cereals, lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds, as well as dairy foods – as recommended by the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.
This should provide them with enough of the nutrients essential for good health.
The lead author of the study is UniSA researcher, Dr. Evangeline Mantzioris.
World Diabetes Day is 14 November 2019.
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