Alternative treatments for diabetes

Alternative treatments for diabetes
It’s no news that Chennai is considered the diabetes capital of India. With the number of diabetics increasing every year, this condition has started affecting children as well.

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder in the endocrine system. This dreadful disease is found in all parts of the world and is becoming a serious threat to mankind.

There are lots of chemical agents available to control and to treat diabetic patients, but total recovery from diabetes has not been reported till now. In addition to adverse effects, drug treatments are not always satisfactory in maintaining euglycemia and avoiding late stage diabetic complications. That is why, this World Diabetes Day, Chennai Times brings you a few alternative treatments for this disease…

Natural remedies

“Several medicinal plants have been investigated for their beneficial effect in different type of diabetes,” says Dr Rajat K, who is currently studying different ways of treating the condition. Bitter gourd juice, fenugreek seeds, etc. have been knows to us for a long time. He adds, “As per ancient literature, more than 800 plants are reported to have anti-diabetic properties.”

The indigenous diet may not be useful in lowering the blood sugar to the same extent as insulin and other hypoglycemic agent do, but it has some other influences, which may be useful for the management of the disease and its complications.

Dietary supplements

Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients that our body requires in small quantities for specific function. According to Dr Rajat, “They most commonly function as essential co-enzyme and co-factor for metabolic reaction and thus help support basic cellular reactions. Micronutrients have been investigated as potential preventive and treatment agents for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and for common complication of diabetes.” Minerals like chromium, vanadium, magnesium, nicotinamide and vitamin E are essential for optimum health and low levels of these minerals and vitamins are associated with higher incidence of diabetes. Consulting a specialist about which minerals and vitamins to take, and its quantities, can help a diabetic patient.


Hydrotherapy is the treatment of illness and injury through the use of water, both hot and cold. Hydrotherapy helps the body to get rid of toxins and relax muscle. It also relaxes body, both mentally and physically. Since hot-tub therapy can increase blood flow to skeletal muscle, it has been recommended for patients with type 2 diabetes who are unable to exercise.

According to Dr Kanika Selva, a hydrotherapist, “It has been proven through various studies and experiments that in hot water, a patient’s weight, mean plasma glucose level and his mean Glycosylated hemoglobin decreases.” She stresses, “Hot-tub therapy should be further evaluated as a therapy for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The benefit could result from increased blood flow to skeletal muscle.


Yoga is an old, traditional, Indian psychological, physical and spiritual exercise regimen that has been studied for several decades for its role in the management of several chronic disease, including hypertension, asthma, obesity, and psychiatric illness.

Additionally, yoga has been studied for controlling both the symptom and complication associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Shanthi M, a yoga instructor says, “The results from these studies suggest a statistically significant role of yoga in diabetes. Yoga practice showed a significant improvement for those diabetic patients with pre-existing complication.”

Shanthi further adds, “Yoga practices have a role even in prevention of diabetes. Yoga helps to regulate the body function and psychic processes, improve well-being. There are several hypotheses for the biological mechanism that link the benefits of yoga to diabetes management. One hypothesis points to role of stress and relaxation while others suggest that the non-invasive nature of yoga provides excellent support and few side effects to patient already taking medication for diabetes.”


Acupuncture therapy is a common approach to treating diabetes in China. It is best known in the United States as an alternative therapy for chronic pain. However, it has been used for the treatment of diabetes and related complication during the past several decades. Acupuncture may be effective in treating not only diabetes, but also in preventing and managing complication of the disease. However, acupuncture has shown some effect in treating diabetes, its mechanism of action is still obscure.