Diabetes Mellitus spares no one although it mostly affects adults above the age of 45 years (more women are diagnosed with the disease than men) especially if they are overweight and physically inactive. Amongst ethnic groups it affects Native Americans the most.
Let's evaluate how diabetes mellitus is conventionally treated, so that later on in this article we can evaluate the non-conventional or alternative therapies used to treat diabetes. There are 2 types of diabetes mellitus namely type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1diabetes: It usually starts in childhood when the pancreas totally stops making insulin, and is also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes.
Treatment - People with type 1 diabetes need insulin injections 2 to several times a day, depending upon their diet, physical activity and other ailments. Often they have to use a glucose meter which measures the level of glucose in the blood that is obtained by pin-pricking the fingertips. Then after knowing the glucose level in the blood the required amount of insulin is injected. Usually the patient does all this by himself.
Type 2 diabetes: It usually starts in adults but in some cases in youngsters as well. The problem is the body although it does make some insulin, this is just not enough or the body is unable to utilize whatever insulin is produced.
Treatment - People with type 2 diabetes may perhaps be able to control their illness with a diet plan that controls blood sugar levels and combine it with proper exercise and weight reduction regimen. In some cases this may not be enough and medication would be needed.
Now let's evaluate the non-conventional or alternative therapies for treating diabetes mellitus which are effective despite the lack of elaborate scientific studies.
Chromium is an important element needed for glucose metabolism in the body. Taking chromium supplements ostensibly improves the effectiveness of insulin. Therefore chromium is considered beneficial to treat diabetes type 2. Although chromium supplements are available in several forms, supplements containing chromium picolinate not only has superior absorption but is better at controlling blood sugar levels and also has the added advantage of normalizing lipid levels as well.
Alternative therapy using magnesium not only delays the onset of type-2 diabetes but has an important role in averting serious complications in diabetes like heart disease, retinopathy and nephropathy. Studies have indicated a correlation between magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance and so treatment with oral magnesium is probably good for type 2 diabetes. Moreover magnesium to a certain extent regulates insulin secretion from the pancreas and that's how it helps regulate blood glucose levels. A diet rich in magnesium could delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Studies have shown that Vanadium could improve sensitivity to insulin in diabetes mellitus type 1 as well as type 2, while other research has shown that Vanadium could mimic the role played by insulin. Moreover recent research at McGill University has shown a new derivative peroxovanadium could normalize blood sugar without much toxicity although it is very far away from reaching the marketplace. Nevertheless, interest in trace elements for treating diabetes continues.
Accupuncture and Biofeedback
Accupuncture has been found to be useful in treating diabetes neuropathy a painful condition that arises due to diabetes induced nerve damage. The alternative therapy of biofeedback is basically a relaxation and stress reduction technique wherein a patient is shown guided imagery appropriately positive to their illness so that their overall condition can be eased.