Is there a natural way to lower my HbA1c using dietary supplements? I’d really appreciate your guidance.
A: Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) is a measure doctors use to assess average blood sugar over the prior three months. At under 5.6, your previous result was normal; your current level of 6 puts you in the prediabetic range.
Luckily, there is a good deal that you can do to get your blood sugar back under control naturally. Coffee, cinnamon, dark chocolate, stevia, vitamin D, exercise and a low-carb diet all can be helpful. To learn more about the details of these and many other nondrug approaches to blood sugar control, we offer our book “Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy” (online at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com).
Metformin, an older drug that lowers blood sugar, also may reduce the risk of common cancers. Some newer drugs such as Byetta, Januvia, Onglyza, Tradjenta and Victoza have been linked to pancreatitis, but the risk remains controversial.
Q: When the prescription label says take before meals, what does that mean?
A: Such instructions are meaningless. You need to know if your medicine works best when taken on an empty stomach (at least an hour before eating or two hours after a meal) or with food. Ask your prescriber or pharmacist to provide detailed instructions for this specific drug.
Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them via their website: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com. Their newest book is “Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them.”