Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapies for Diabetes

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), defines complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as a "group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered to be part of conventional medicine." Complementary medicine is used with conventional medicine, whereas alternative medicine is used instead of conventional medicine.

Some people with diabetes use CAM therapies to treat diabetes. Although some of these therapies may be effective, others can be ineffective or even harmful. Patients who use CAM therapies should keep their health care providers informed.

Links to information about some CAM therapies are provided below. For more information, talk with your health care provider. For tips on talking with your health care provider about CAM, see NCCAM's Time to Talk campaign.


NCCAM Clearinghouse

The NCCAM Clearinghouse provides information about CAM and NCCAM, including publications and searches of federal databases of scientific and medical literature. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.

Phone: 1-888-644-6226
TTY: 1-866-464-3615

The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse collects resource information about diabetes for the NIDDK Reference Collection. This database provides titles, abstracts, and availability information for health information and health education resources.

You may view the results of the automatic search on complementary and alternative medical therapies for diabetes. If you wish to perform your own search of the database, go toNIDDK Reference Collection.

This publication may contain information about medications. When prepared, this publication included the most current information available. For updates or for questions about any medications, contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration toll-free at 1-888-INFO-FDA (463-6332) or visit Consult your doctor for more information.

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

1 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892-3560
Phone: 1-800-860-8747


The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Established in 1978, the Clearinghouse provides information about diabetes to people with diabetes and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. The NDIC answers inquiries, develops and distributes publications, and works closely with professional and patient organizations and Government agencies to coordinate resources about diabetes.

Publications produced by the Clearinghouse are carefully reviewed by both NIDDK scientists and outside experts.

This publication is not copyrighted. The Clearinghouse encourages users of this publication to duplicate and distribute as many copies as desired.

NIH Publication No. 09-4552
February 2009

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Last Updated: 10 March 2016

Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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