Treating Diabetes Naturally: Increase Exercise, Adopt Low Carb Diet & Take Nutritional Supplements

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The American Diabetes Association and the National Diabetes Education Program both recommend making certain lifestyle changes to prevent or treat diabetes. These include making dietary changes and getting more cardiovascular exercise.

Both of these recommendations are also at the core of treating diabetes naturally – but it’s important to remember that results can be varied when it comes to treating your own individual case. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. If you decide to try and treat your diabetes naturally, it’s important to stay in regular contact with your doctor, to ensure your blood sugar levels are under control.


Many recent studies have shown that adopting a low-carbohydrate diet can be hugely beneficial for people with diabetes, particularly if they are overweight. Reducing carbohydrates to a very low level reduces blood sugar levels markedly in a relatively short amount of time, eventually improves insulin sensitivity, and can aid in weight loss.

The following nutritional changes may also be helpful in treating diabetes naturally, by providing your body with essential vitamins and minerals that are important in controlling blood sugar.

  • Vitamin E supplements may help stabilize blood sugar and improve circulation, and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke (Circulation, 2000; 102: 191-6, Diabetes, 1982; 31: 947-51; Diabetes, 1984; 33: 239-43; Metabolism, 1992; 41: 613-21; Am J Clin Nutr, 1993; 57: 650-6).

  • Onion and garlic both help reduce blood sugar when eaten regularly (Ind J Med Res, 1977; 65: 422-9; Quart J Crude Drug Res, 1979; 17: 139-96).

  • Fenugreek seeds have been shown to reduce blood sugar (Eur J Clin Nutr, 1988; 42: 51-4; Eur J Clin Nutr, 1990; 44: 301-6).

  • Ginseng supplement, taken before meals, can reduce post-meal blood sugar (Arch Intern Med, 2000; 160: 1009- 13).

  • The equivalent of a teaspoonful of cinnamon per day can help improve your body’s blood sugar control (J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008 Jan 22;51(3):249-55).


Regular aerobic exercise (the ADA recommends thirty minutes five times a week) improves your cardiovascular fitness and helps reduce blood sugar levels. Muscle tissue uses more blood sugar than fatty tissue does, so increasing your lean muscle mass with strength training is also helpful. Any amount of exercise will help, but a regular regimen will show the best results.

Working with your Doctor

These methods of natural treatment can also be used in conjunction with more traditional methods. Always check with your doctor first before trying any treatment methods.

References and Further Reading

The National Diabetes Education Program on Diabetes Prevention (PDF)

The American Diabetes Association