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Type 2 Diabetes: Supplements Overview

5. What is known about the safety and effectiveness of these six dietary supplements as CAM treatments for diabetes? continued...

Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10, often referred to as CoQ10 (sometimes written as CoQ10; other names include ubiquinone and ubiquinol) is a vitamin-like substance. CoQ10 helps cells make energy and acts as an antioxidant. Meats and seafood contain small amounts of CoQ10. Supplements are marketed as tablets and capsules.

Summary of the research findings
There have been few studies on CoQ10 and type 2 diabetes so far. The evidence is not sufficient to evaluate CoQ10's effectiveness as a CAM therapy in diabetes. CoQ10 has not been shown to affect blood glucose control. In theory, it might have use against heart disease in people with diabetes, but well-designed studies looking at heart disease outcomes are needed to answer this question.

Side effects and other risks
CoQ10 appears to be safe for most of the adult population. However, it may interact with and affect the action of some medicines, including warfarin (a blood thinner) and medicines used for high blood pressure or cancer chemotherapy. Other possible side effects of CoQ10 include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and heartburn.

Garlic
Garlic (Allium sativum) is an herb used to flavor food. Garlic can also be processed and made into dietary supplements. In some cultures, garlic is used for medicinal purposes. The chemical in garlic of most interest for health purposes is allicin, which gives garlic its strong taste and odor. One of the claims for garlic is that the rates of certain diseases are lower in countries where lots of garlic is consumed. However, it has not been proven that garlic (and not some other factor such as lifestyle) is the reason.

Summary of the research findings
Few rigorous studies have been conducted on garlic, allicin, or both, for type 2 diabetes. In the studies that have been done, findings have been mixed. There are some intriguing basic science studies that suggest that garlic has some biological activities that are relevant to the treatment of diabetes. However, the evidence so far does not support that there is any benefit from garlic for type 2 diabetes.

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