Nutraceuticals in management of diabetes

One of the fastest growing chronic diseases and said to be the biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system, type 2 diabetes is said to be preventable in up to almost 60 per cent of cases by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

A healthy diet is paramount in diabetes management and now people are going as far as adding supplements in the hope of reducing risk of the disease.

In light of this and in conjunction with World Diabetes Day (November 14) the University of South Australia has released a new study looking at the effectiveness of the most commonly used supplements (‘nutraceuticals’) used to manage diabetes.

Published in Pharmaceutical Medicine the review, which also looked at the effect of selected nutraceuticals in the management of high cholesterol, found that the nutraceuticals resveratrol (a compound from grapes), curcumin (from turmeric) and cinnamon were all effective in regulating glucose, improving insulin resistance and reducing cholesterol.

UniSA researcher, Dr Evangeline Mantzioris explained: “Our research sought to establish the effectiveness of the most popular types of nutraceuticals…

“We found 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.”

Despite the promising results, Dr Mantzioris adds that this does not replace the importance of maintaining an overall healthy diet and active lifestyle.

“People should invest in a diet filled with whole foods… as recommended by the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating,” she said.

More research is needed in this space and anyone considering nutraceuticals to manage or prevent diabetes should first speak with their doctor.

To read the review study, click here.