Dietary Supplements for Type 2 Diabetes

February 5, 2024

Several dietary supplements are popular with people with type 2 diabetes, but are they really effective? Here’s what recent scientific studies found.
SOSCuisine: Meal Plans for Diabetes

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is produced by fermenting apples. It contains a variety of flavonoids and has potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, and antihyperlipidemic properties.

According to two recent meta-analyses including nine and twelve randomised controlled clinical studies, respectively, the consumption of apple cider vinegar is associated with a decrease in fasting blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), as well as total cholesterol after a period of 4 to 12 weeks. Most studies used an amount of 15 ml per day of vinegar, although a few studies used a larger dose.

In summary, the consumption of 15 ml of apple cider vinegar per day is safe and could be used as an adjuvant in the treatment of cardiometabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes and hyperlipidemia, but should not be used as a primary therapeutic agent.


Cinnamon is a spice made from the inner bark of certain trees. According to a recent meta-analysis conducted in 2023 and including 24 randomized controlled studies, the consumption of a cinnamon supplement is associated with a significant decrease in fasting blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in people with diabetes. The duration of the studies ranged from six to twelve weeks. The doses of cinnamon used varied between 1 g and 3 g per day and were administered in capsule form. Several previous meta-analyses have found variable results.

In short, a cinnamon supplement added to standard glucose-lowering medications and lifestyle modifications could help improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes.


Chromium is an essential trace element for health. It is found in many foods including meats, whole grains, some vegetables, egg yolks, and beer. It can potentially help improve blood sugar control by increasing insulin sensitivity.

According to a recent meta-analysis conducted in 2022 and including 10 randomised controlled clinical studies, taking a chromium supplement may help reduce fasting blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in people with diabetes. The studies lasted two to six months. The doses used ranged from 50 mcg to 1000 mcg of chromium per day. Another meta-analysis performed in 2020 which included 28 clinical studies concluded similar results.

Taking a chromium supplement can cause some side effects and is not recommended for people with kidney or liver problems. Chromium supplementation may also interact with taking certain medications. This supplement should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor.

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Kathryn Adel
Kathryn holds a Bachelor Degree in Nutrition as well as a Bachelor and a Master Degree in Kinesiology, all from Laval University. She is a Registered Dietitian and active member of the Ordre professionnel des Diététistes Nutritionnistes du Québec (ODNQ) and of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She holds the Monash University's certification for the FODMAP diet and IBS, and has considerable clinical experience in that area. She is also an accomplished athlete, having ran track and cross-country at a national level. Kathryn specializes in sports nutrition, weight loss, diabetes, as well as heart and gastrointestinal health.

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