Friday, 31 May 2013


How do herbs and supplements interact with your prescription diabetes medications? Some interactions are positive. For example, certain medications can deplete your body of essential nutrients; taking supplements can not only keep you healthier but may also reduce drug side effects. Other times, an herb or a supplement might cause a drug to work less well or increase the risk of side effects.


Echinacea appears to be safe. Even when taken in very high doses, it has not been found to cause any toxic effects. Reported side effects are also uncommon and usually limited to minor gastro-intestinal symptoms, increased urination, and mild allergic reactions. However, severe allergic reactions have occurred occasionally, some of them life threatening.
Germany’s Commission E warns against using echinacea in cases of auto-immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as tuberculosis or leucocytosis. There are also rumours that echinacea should not be used by people with AIDS. These warnings are theoretical, based on fears that echinacea might actually activate immunity in the wrong way. But there is no evidence that echinacea use has actually harmed anyone with these diseases.

Blood-thinning drugs such as Coumadin (warfarin), heparin, aspirin, or Trental (pentoxifylline): Do not use garlic except on medical advice. Ginkgo or high-dose vitamin E: Taking garlic at the same time might conceivably cause a risk of bleeding problems.

Ginko Biloba
Blood-thinning drugs such as Coumadin (warfarin), heparin, aspirin, or Trental (pentoxifylline): Simultaneous use of ginkgo might cause bleeding problems. Natural substances with blood-thinning properties, such as garlic, phosphatidylserine, or high-dose vitamin E: It is possible that, again, simultaneous use of ginkgo might cause bleeding problems. Antidepressant drugs, especially in the SSRI family: Ginkgo might remedy sexual side effects such as impotence or inability to achieve orgasm. Antipsychotics: Ginkgo might help them work better with fewer side effects.

Green Tea
MAO inhibitors: (MAO inhibitors (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) were the first antidepressant drugs invented. While they are quite effective, they can be dangerous if combined with the wrong foods, drugs, or supplements. The substance tyramine, found in some cheeses, beer, fermented soy products, and other foods, is particularly dangerous to combine with these medications. Stimulant drugs such as pseudoephedrine can also cause problems.) The caffeine in green tea could cause serious problems. Coumadin (warfarin): Large doses of green tea could interfere with its effectiveness, because green tea contains vitamin K, which directly counteracts Coumadin’s blood-thinning action.

Antacids: You may need extra chromium. You should also separate your chromium supplement and your doses of these substances by at least 2 hours, because they may interfere with chromium’s absorption.
Corticosteroids: You may need extra chromium.
Oral diabetes medications or insulin: Seek medical supervision before taking chromium because you may need to reduce your dose of these medications.
Beta-blockers: Chromium supplementation may improve levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

If you would like to find out more about interactions between medication and supplements you are taking, please send us a complete list of  them and we will analyse it and send you a full report.

This information is bought to you as a free service from DNA Biopharm. The information herein is not intended to treat or diagnose any condition. Should you wish to try any herbal or natural remedy discussed in these pages, please consult with your healthcare practitioner. Should you require any information or advice on any topic related to diabetes, please leave a comment.

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