Posted July 25, 2013

Beware of Dietary Supplements With Claims To Treat Diabetes, FDA Warns

On July 23, 2013, the FDA issued a warning to consumers not to buy or use dietary supplements that are promoted to treat diabetes. Marketing a dietary supplement as a treatment for a disease is against federal regulations, and the agency cautioned that relying on such a product could cause consumers to delay seeking proper medical treatment for their diabetes.

The FDA also cautioned that some dietary supplements marketed for the treatment of diabetes or blood sugar control could contain undeclared drugs. Consumers taking a supplement containing an undeclared drug are at risk of experiencing adverse effects or drug interactions with other medications they may be taking.

The agency recently issued warning letters to 15 companies, including those selling dietary supplements, over-the-counter (OTC) and pharmaceutical drugs sold by online pharmacies without a prescription, as part of its ongoing effort to remove illegal diabetes products from the market.

Dietary supplements that were addressed in these recent warning letters include:

Glytain (Internal Remedies) contains Opuntia streptacantha, amino acids, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, selenium and calcium. It was promoted for the treatment of diabetes, with statements such as "Control your Diabetes Naturally," and "Glytain is an all natural treatment for diabetes that...can help to naturally reduce blood sugar levels.

(See ConsumerLab.com's Reviews of Vitamin A Supplements,B Vitamin Supplements,Vitamin C Supplements, Vitamin E Supplements,Potassium Supplements,Selenium Supplements, and Calcium Supplements for tests of products that contain these ingredients.)

Eradicator and Nature's Gold (Naturecast) Eradicator contains chromium, fenugreek seed, cinnamon bark and pysllium seed. It was promoted for the treatment of diabetes with statements like, "It eradicates the causes of uncontrolled blood sugar by packing your system with all natural, proven and biochemically powerful nutrients that regulate your blood sugar levels.

Nature's Gold contains grape seed extract, quercetin, beta glucan, red raspberry extract, and ellagic acid. It was promoted to treat inflammation associated with diabetes with statements such as, "Grape seed extract contains polyphenols which have been shown in clinical studies to exhibit anti-inflammatory activity.

Diabetes Daily Care (Nature's Health Supply) contains cinnamon extract, banaba leaf extract, alpha lipoic acid, momordica extract, fenugreek extract, Gymnema sylvestre, chromium picolinate and vanadium. It was promoted for the treatment of diabetes with statements such as "Although Diabetes Daily Care does not "cure" diabetes, it is very effective in managing and controlling diabetes; ...we consider it a treatment.

(See ConsumerLab.com's Reviews of Chromium Supplements and Alpha Lipoic Acid Supplements for tests of related products.)

Glucocil (Neuliven Health) contains cinnamon bark powder, fish oil and vitamin D. It was promoted to treat diabetes with statements such as "Glucocil helps stabilize your blood sugar all day, without adding a drug.

(See ConsumerLab.com's Reviews of Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements and Vitamin D Supplements for tests of related products.)

ProBeta (PharmaTerra) contains Gymnema sylvestre extract. It was promoted to treat diabetes with statements such as "Most patients were able to decrease their other hypoglycemic drugs while on ProBeta therapy.

Sugar Balancer (Health King Enterprise & Balanceuticals Group) contains Rhizoma Dioscoreae, Radix Ginseng rubra, Fructus Lycii, Radix Rehmanniae, Rhizoma Anemarrhenae, Radix Puerarine and Fructus Corni. It was promoted to treat diabetes with statements such as "Rhizoma Anemarrhenae polysaccharide...markedly lowers blood sugar.

(See ConsumerLab.com's Review of Ginseng Supplements for tests of related products.)

Consumers who have purchased these supplements should discontinue use immediately and contact their healthcare provider if they have experienced any adverse side effects. Consumers and healthcare providers are also encouraged to report any adverse reactions to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program.

To read the FDA's warning, use the link below.