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February 22, 2003

Alternative Therapies and Explanations

Question from La Ceiba, Honduras:

I just received an e-mail from a friend about a website that is introducing a new medicine they are promoting, and it says "STOP the Ravages of Diabetes with GLUCOBETIC!" According to what our doctor told us, and general opinion seems to be these do not work with children who have type 1 diabetes. Our 13 year old daughter was diagnosed at age 10 has been controlling her diabetes with 30/70 insulin all these years, and her levels are quite normal, with her ups and downs. Does this medicine really help? Would it help her maintain her levels with less injected insulin?


Glucobetic is a nutritional supplement that contains Gymnema Sylvestre extract together with zinc, chromium and other supplements. Such a preparation has no place whatever in the management of type�1 diabetes.

Because your daughter has been apparently in good control on a rather simple insulin regimen and because of her Hispanic background it might be a good idea to ask her doctor whether she might have type�1B diabetes rather than type�1A (autoimmune) diabetes. The former is quite uncommon in Caucasian families but may comprise up to 50% of childhood diabetes in Hispanic families. The distinction is of some importance because quite a high proportion of people with type 1B may come to be in good control without the need for insulin and can be managed on oral medication although such evidence as there is suggests they are in fact insulin deficient and will ultimately need insulin.


[Editor’s comment: Also, see Herbs and other Supplements, at the Diabetes Monitor.


[Editor’s comment: See our section about Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Diabetes.