Researchers have found that type 2 diabetes patients who received naturopathic care had lower blood sugar levels, better diet and exercise habits, improved mood and a stronger sense of control over their health than patients only receiving conventional care. These findings emerged from a new joint study between Group Health Research Institute and Bastyr University Research Institute suggesting that complimentary and alternative medicine may provide benefit for people with type 2 diabetes.
“Patients involved in the study cited the benefits of trying different approaches to find the best ways to minimize the effects of type 2 diabetes,” said Ryan Bradley, ND, MPH, director of the Center for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Wellness at Bastyr University and its clinic, the Bastyr Center for Natural Health. “The news is encouraging for those fighting the disease.”
Forty participants received naturopathic care including counseling on diet, exercise, and glucose monitoring in addition to conventional diabetes care from their medical doctors, including prescription medications. Some of the study participants received stress-management care and dietary supplements. Researchers compared these 40 participants with 329 patients who received only conventional diabetes care.
Over the course of six months and about four visits with a naturopathic doctor, the participants demonstrated improved self-care, more consistent monitoring of glucose and overall improved mood. Hemoglobin A1c rates (a measure of blood-sugar control) were nearly a full percentage point lower for patients receiving naturopathic care, compared to only 0.5 percent over the same period of time for the 329 patients who received conventional diabetes care alone.
The finding has been published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.