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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...

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.

Side effects and other risks
Garlic is safe for most adults. However, garlic appears to interact with various types of drugs. For example, when combined with certain medicines used to treat HIV/AIDS (NNRTIs and saquinavir), garlic may decrease their effectiveness. Garlic may also interact with and affect the action of birth control pills, cyclosporine, medications that are broken down by the liver, and blood thinners (including warfarin). Other possible side effects of garlic include an odor on the breath or skin, an allergic reaction, stomach disorders, diarrhea, and skin rash.

Magnesium
Magnesium is a mineral. Foods high in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and some whole grains. Various supplemental forms of magnesium are marketed as tablets, capsules, or liquids.

Magnesium has many important functions in the body, including in the heart, nerves, muscles, bones, handling glucose, and making proteins. Low levels of magnesium are commonly seen in people with diabetes. Scientists have studied the relationship between magnesium and diabetes for a long time, but it is not yet fully understood.

WebMD Public Information from the U.S. National Institutes of Health

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