Diabetes is a problem with insulin levels. Glucose is a form of energy from foods that you eat. Insulin is needed to move glucose from the blood into cells for energy. If there isn’t enough insulin, glucose will build up in the blood. It can lead to short and long term health problems. Over time, regular high blood glucose can lead to problems with eyes, heart, kidneys, and nerves.
Medicine and healthy habits can help manage glucose levels. It is important to follow the care plan made with your medical care team. Natural treatments may help with blood glucose control. However, it should only be used with standard treatment.
These herbs and supplements may help you control your blood glucose levels:
May Be Effective
These herbs and supplements may help you control your blood glucose levels:
Unlikely to Be Effective
These herbs and supplements are unlikely to help lower your blood glucose levels:
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution
Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some may get in the way of treatment. They can also make illness worse or cause new problems. Examples include:
Herbs and Supplements
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C6. Cai H, Liu F, et al. Practical Application of Antidiabetic Efficacy of Lycium barbarum Polysaccharide in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Med Chem. 2015;11(4):383-390.
C7. Samani NM, Jokar A, et al. Efficacy of the hydroalcoholic extract of tribulus terrestris on the serum glucose and lipid profile of women with diabetes mellitus: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2016;21(4):NP91-97.
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C9. Shen XL, Zhao T, et al. Effect of Oat β-Glucan Intake on Glycaemic Control and Insulin Sensitivity of Diabetic Patients: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2016;8(1):E39.
C10. He LX, Zhao J, et al. The difference between oats and beta-glucan extract intake in the management of HbA1c, fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Food Funct. 2016 Mar;7(3):1413-1428.
C11. Vidal-Casariego A, Burgo-Peláez R, et al. Metabolic effects of L-carnitine on type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2013;121(4):234-238.
C12. Xu Y, Jiang W, et al. L-carnitine treatment of insulin resistance: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Adv Clin Exp Med. 2017 Mar-Apr;26(2):333-338.
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C14. Abdollahi M, Farshchi A, et al. Effect of chromium on glucose and lipid profiles in patients with type 2 diabetes; a meta-analysis review of randomized trials. J Pharm Pharm Sci. 2013;16(1):99-114.
C15. Suksomboon N, Poolsup N, et al. Systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy and safety of chromium supplementation in diabetes. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2014;39(3):292-306.
C16. Bailey CH. Improved meta-analytic methods show no effect of chromium supplements on fasting glucose. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2014 Jan;157(1):1-8.
C17. Yin RV, Phung OJ. Effect of chromium supplementation on glycated hemoglobin and fasting plasma glucose in patients with diabetes mellitus. Nutr J. 2015 Feb 13;14:14.
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C21. Stojanović M, Radenković M. A meta-analysis of randomized and placebo-controlled clinical trials suggests that coenzyme Q10 at low dose improves glucose and HbA1c levels. Nutr Res. 2017 Feb;38:1-12.
C22. Asadi A, Shidfar F, et al. Safety and efficacy of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) on ApoA-I, Apo B, lipid ratio and ICAM-1 in type 2 diabetes: A randomized, double-blinded clinical trial. Complement Ther Med. 2018;40:83-88.
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C24. Sudchada P, Saokaew S, et al. Effect of folic acid supplementation on plasma total homocysteine levels and glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2012;98(1):151-158.
C25. Zhao JV, Schooling CM, et al. The effects of folate supplementation on glucose metabolism and risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Ann Epidemiol. 2018 Apr;28(4):249-257.e1.
C26. Ashraf R, Khan RA, et al. Garlic (Allium sativum) supplementation with standard antidiabetic agent provides better diabetic control in type 2 diabetes patients. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2011;24(4):565-570.
C27. Hou LQ, Liu YH, et al. Garlic intake lowers fasting blood glucose: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2015;24(4):575-582.
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Last reviewed May 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board
Last Updated: 9/10/2019
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