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J Altern Complement Med. 2007 Jan-Feb;13(1):159-75.

Algorithm for complementary and alternative medicine practice and research in type 2 diabetes.

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  • 1Bastyr University, Kenmore, WA 98028, USA.



To develop a model to direct the prescription of nutritional and botanical medicines in the treatment of type 2 diabetes for both clinical and research purposes.


Available literature on nutritional and botanical medicines was reviewed and categorized as follows: antioxidant/anti-inflammatory; insulin sensitizer; and beta-cell protectant/insulin secretagogue. Literature describing laboratory assessment for glycemic control, insulin resistance, and beta-cell reserve was also reviewed and a clinical decision tree was developed.


Clinical algorithms were created to guide the use of nutritional and botanic medicines using validated laboratory measures of glycemic control, insulin sensitivity, and beta-cell reserve. Nutrient and botanic medicines with clinical trial research support include coenzyme Q10, carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, N-acetylcysteine, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, chromium, vanadium, omega-3 fatty acids, cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia), fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), and gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre).


Clinical algorithms can direct supplementation in clinical practice and provide research models for clinical investigation. Algorithms also provide a framework for integration of future evidence as it becomes available. Research funding to investigate potentially beneficial practices in complementary medicine is critically important for optimal patient care and safety.

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