Q. Several years ago my HbA1c test was 5.39. A recent test indicated it has ticked up to 6.0. My medical provider wants to retest it in 6 months. If the retest does not show a reduction, he is suggesting diabetes medication.

I am averse to taking prescription medications that have the potential to cause pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer. I understand that might be a risk with some of the newer diabetes drugs.

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 can all be helpful. To learn more about the details of these and many other non-drug 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, may also 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.

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  1. Sheila
    Reply

    My A1C last checked at 6.7. Dr put me on 850 mg (tablet) of Metformin 2xs a day with meals. Seems each time I take this med my blood sugar shoots up to almost 200. Then after a few hrs with snacks in between it goes down. I feel like I am snacking all the time. Is this necessary. Just curious as to what and how other people deal with this. I don’t like eating all the time.

  2. PattiC
    Reply

    My hubby had low hdl and higher than normal glucose for years. Looking at copies of lab tests the lowest was 27 for hdl and 115 glucose, but over the years we’ve slowly brought hdl up and glucose down 61 for hdl and 97 for glucose in a recent lab test.
    I agree with other posters about cutting down or out on bread/wheat before insulin, diabetes were told you can’t eat bread anymore. You never hear that anymore.
    I have been wanting to share this, recently a study came out that hdl helped keep glucose in line. Well, vitamin d may raise hdl!! We’ve slowly been ramping up over the years on that particular so called vitamin. It’s really a hormone after our body processes it. You need to be tested for 25ohd and it may be best to just pay for it yourself because a lot of insurances won’t pay and it can be high dollar, my daughter found out the hard way $300.
    I am pretty sure my hubby’s hdl rose because of dark chocolate, almonds and VITAMIN D, just thinking aloud…
    p.s. Dr William Davies thinks D raises 25OHD it may take some time, months or a year or so. My hdl went from mid 50’s to 95

  3. Careful eater
    Reply

    I try not to eat any white food (rice, flour, potatoes, white bread, pasta, etc.) except cauliflower.

  4. Abigail
    Reply

    Recently my A1C came in at 6.6 My doc said this is “too good” for someone who is 80 years old. Info seems to be changing on this. She prefers I be closer to 7 – 7.2 for someone my age. Previously a doctor put me back on metformin because my A1C came in at 7.3. I feel much better with reduced metformin and have fewer craving problems. What to believe?

  5. SteveL
    Reply

    Also stop eating wheat. Modern wheat really jacks up the blood sugars. I’ve had to stop eating it.

  6. DS
    Reply

    I’d like to hear more.

  7. MR
    Reply

    There’s a vitally important dietary guideline that always seems to fall through the cracks, and that is to not eat between meals. When food is eaten (or juice, sweetened tea, beer, etc. is drunk) insulin is released to take the resulting blood sugar to the liver and muscles for storage. With an average meal this might take 3 to 3 and 1/2 hours, after which the insulin level will drop.
    If snacks are eaten, insulin must be pumped back into the blood. Constant snacking would lead to constantly high insulin, which would eventually lead to insulin resistance.
    Whoever started the recommendation that it can be beneficial to eat something every couple of hours did a great disservice. Hard-working people have thrived on three meals a day without snacks for a very long time. If anyone thinks they cannot handle feeling hunger for a few hours, I would suggest remembering those who would be overjoyed to have even one good meal per day.

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