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Antioxidants may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes

April 1, 2011

Increased intakes of antioxidants such as vitamins C and E as well as alpha-lipoic acid may be beneficial for type 2 diabetes prevention or treatment, suggest a new Canadian review.

In the review, scientific literature on advances in the treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes with nutritional supplements published in the past three years was analyzed (1). The study showed that there is increasing preclinical and clinical evidence that nutritional supplements may be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes, in conjunction with standard care. However, not all research provided positive results. The following essential micronutrients were identified as potentially beneficial: Antioxidants such vitamin E and coenzyme Q10 may play a role in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. Vitamin C seems to be ineffective in prevention but may be beneficial in the treatment of diabetes. Alpha-lipoic acid may play a role in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and diabetic neuropathy. The researchers noted when health practitioners choose to combine nutritional supplements with pharmaceutical treatment, they must be aware of potential drug interactions with the supplements.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 220 million people worldwide have diabetes; 90% of these people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The standard treatment of type 2 diabetes involves lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, and behavioral modification) and the use of pharmaceutical drugs to regulate blood glucose and prevent complications such as cardiovascular and nerve damage. In the past decade, there has been a trend of standard type 2 diabetes care being combined with complementary and alternative medicine therapies, including nutritional supplements.

References

  1. Lee T. and Dugoua J.-J. Nutritional supplements and their effect on glucose control. Curr Diab Rep. 2011; 11:142–148.