The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), defines complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as a "group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered to be part of conventional medicine." Complementary medicine is used with conventional medicine, whereas alternative medicine is used instead of conventional medicine.
Some people with diabetes use CAM therapies to treat diabetes. Although some of these therapies may be effective, others can be ineffective or even harmful. Patients who use CAM therapies should keep their health care providers informed.
Links to information about some CAM therapies are provided below. For more information, talk with your health care provider. For tips on talking with your health care provider about CAM, see NCCIH's Time to Talk campaign.
CAM and Diabetes: A Focus on Dietary Supplements
This fact sheet from NCCIH gives basic information about diabetes and dietary supplements.
Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Lipids: Glycemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome and on Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Renal Disease, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, and Osteoporosis
This report from the AHRQ focuses on omega-3 fatty acids.
Consumer Advisory: Vitamin E Supplements
This report from NCCIH summarizes the results of a study about the effects of vitamin E supplementation on adults with diabetes or vascular disease.
CAM Basics: Selecting a CAM Practitioner
This fact sheet from NCCIH provides answers to frequently asked questions about choosing a CAM practitioner.
NCCIH's A to Z List of Treatments and Therapies
This webpage provides a list of CAM treatments and therapies with links to additional information.
NCCIH's Clinical Trials
This website links to information about NCCIH's clinical trials.
Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research. For information about current studies across the NIH, visit www.ClinicalTrials.gov.
Vitamin D and Diabetes
Vitamin D studies show a link between people’s ability to maintain healthy blood glucose levels and having enough vitamin D in their blood. However, studies to determine the proper vitamin D levels for people with diabetes and for preventing diabetes are ongoing; no special recommendations have been made about vitamin D levels or supplements for people with diabetes. This webpage from MedlinePlus, service of National Library of Medicine, NIH.
The NCCIH Clearinghouse provides information about CAM and NCCIH, including publications and searches of federal databases of scientific and medical literature. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.
This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.
The NIDDK would like to thank:
David A. Piccoli, M.D., The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Binita M. Kamath, MBBChir., the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario
This information is not copyrighted. The NIDDK encourages people to share this content freely.