Type 2 diabetes affects nearly 26 million Americans, and currently stands as one of the top ten causes of death nationwide. In the face of such statistics, researchers are hard at work studying alternative diabetes treatments in an attempt to reduce patient risk; and now, according to a recent report from
options shows promising results that may help diabetes patients lower blood sugar levels, achieve emotional balance and improve overall well-being.
The study, originally published in
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
, reveals that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), when combined with conventional medical techniques and practices, can bring a variety of benefits to diabetes patients. Over the course of the study, which was conducted jointly by the Group Health Research Institute and Bastyr University Research Institute, diabetes patients were divided up into two test groups. One group of 40 patients received diet and exercise counseling, stress-management care, dietary supplements and glucose monitoring under the care of naturopathic physicians, in addition to standard care and prescription medication from their primary care doctors. A second group of 329 patients received only conventional diabetes care from medical doctors.
When researchers compared the groups after a six month period, they found that the patients in the integrated treatment group – that is, patients receiving both standard and naturopathic medical care – showed improvement in mood, self-care and consistent glucose monitoring habits. In addition, these patients’ hemoglobin A 1c rates were almost a full percentage point lower than they had been at the beginning of the study.
In contrast, the patients in the conventional care group who did not receive any naturopathic treatments showed only a 0.5% drop in hemoglobin A1c rates, and no similar self-care or mood-stabilization benefits.
Ryan Bradley, ND, MPH, of the Bastyr Center for Natural Health, tells Medical News Today that, while encouraging, the study’s results are not conclusive and must be repeated with a larger number of participants in a randomized trial. However, given the exorbitant cost of diabetes care in the U.S. – currently estimated at $178 billion each year – the success of alternative diabetes treatments spells hope for a more affordable, accessible and effective range of therapies in the years to come.
Integrating treatments, achieving balance: optimize your health with alternative medicine
As this study shows, the right balance between conventional Western medicine and alternative therapy can achieve optimal health for diabetes patients – and for that matter, anyone struggling to improve his or her mental, physical or emotional state. At
, we help our patients bring this balance into their own lives, encouraging them to take an active role in their own care and integrate standard medicine and natural modalities to suit their individual needs. To learn more about naturopathic diabetes treatments or other services at our