Natural Health Products

Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee

Richard Nahas MD, CCFP Jeannette Goguen MD, MEd, FRCPC

  • Key Messages
  • Recommendations
  • Figures
  • Highlights
  • Full Text
  • References

Key Messages

  • Seventy-eight percent of patients with diabetes reported taking a natural health product (NHP) for various indications.
  • Some NHPs have shown a lowering of A1C by ≥0.5% in trials lasting ≥3 months in adults with type 2 diabetes, but most are single small trials so it would be premature to recommend their widespread use.
  • Healthcare providers should always ask about the use of NHPs since some may result in side effects or drug interactions.

Highlights of Revisions

  • This chapter echoes and supports the 2008 guidelines, which state that natural health products are not recommended for glycemic control in individuals with diabetes as there is not sufficient evidence regarding their safety and efficacy.
  • The chapter title has been changed from "Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the Management of Diabetes" to "Natural Health Products" as "natural health products" is he current terminology being used to describe such therapies.


  1. 1.Natural health products are not recommended for glycemic control for individuals with diabetes as there is insufficient evidence, at this time, regarding efficacy and safety [Grade D, Consensus].
  2. 2.Healthcare providers should ask about the use of natural health products [Grade D, Consensus].


Reproduced with permission from Canadian Journal of Diabetes © 2013 Canadian Diabetes Association. To cite this article, please refer to For citation.

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