Herbs, Supplements and Alternative Medicines

Herbal Supplements

It is best to get vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. In fact, research has not been able to prove that dietary or herbal supplements (including omega-3 supplements, cinnamon, and other herbs) help to manage diabetes.  

Still, more and more people use dietary supplements. And studies show that people with diabetes are more likely to use supplements than people without diabetes.

The National Health Interview Survey found that 22 percent of people with diabetes used some type of herbal therapy, while another study found that 31 percent used dietary supplements.

Certain ethnic groups, such as Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians, and African Americans are also more likely to use dietary supplements.

Using Supplements Safely

If you’re one of the many people taking dietary supplements, you’re probably concerned about doing the right thing for your body.

However, finding reliable information about the benefits and safety of these products is difficult. There are hundreds of dietary supplements—each purporting their own health benefits.

Unfortunately, the US does not have a system for testing the effectiveness of supplements.

Next: Types of Dietary Supplements


This material is adapted from The American Diabetes Association Guide to Herbs & Nutritional Supplements, written by Laura Shane-McWhorter, PharmD, BCPS, FASCP, BC-ADM, CDE, and published by the American Diabetes Association, ©2009.

  • Last Reviewed: February 20, 2014
  • Last Edited: February 20, 2014

Articles from Diabetes Forecast® magazine:

Diabetes Forecast