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August 30, 2001

Alternative Therapies and Explanations

Question from Yoakum, Texas, USA:

My daughter has type�1 diabetes, is involved in many after-school activities, and wants to take Ginseng to increase her energy level, but I was told that this causes low blood sugars in people with diabetes. Is this a true side effect?

Answer:

Ginseng has been shown to improve glucose tolerance in type�2 diabetes. As far as I understand, it improves the shape of the glucose tolerance curve more than the actual numbers. So it does have effects on glucose tolerance and blood sugar.

How really clinically significant is this? I can’t really tell. If your daughter chooses to use Ginseng, you must be pay attention to possible effects. I think this is the best advice.

LD