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From the Townsend Letter
April 2014

The Role of Nutritional and Botanical Agents in the Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
by Mona Morstein, ND
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Curcumin and retinal stress: Kowluru RA, Kanwar M. Effects of curcumin on retinal oxidative stress and inflammation in diabetes. Nutr Metab. 16 April 2007;4:8. Available at

Curcumin inhibits ROS species generation: Balasubramanyam M, Koteswari AA, Kumar RS, Monickaraj SF, Maheswari JU, Mohan V. Curcumin-induced inhibition of cellular reactive oxygen species generation: Novel therapeutic implications J Biosci. December 2003;28(6):715–721.

Lessens nephropathy: Tirkey N, Kaur G, Vij G, Chopra K. Curcumin, a diferuloylmethane, attenuates cyclosporine-induced renal dysfunction and oxidative stress in rat kidneys. BMC Pharmacol. 2005 Oct 15;5:15.

Reversal of inflammatory and metabolic derangements associated with diabetes and glycemic control: Endocrinology. April 2008.

Arun N, Nalini N. Efficacy of turmeric on blood sugar and polyol pathway in diabetic albino rats. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2002 Winter;57(1):41–52.

Rungseesantivanon S, Thenchaisri N, Ruangvejvorachai P, Patumraj S. Curcumin supplementation could improve diabetes-induced endothelial dysfunction associated with decreased vascular superoxide production and PKC inhibition. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010;10:57. Available at

Gingko Biloba
Protecting rat kidney from diabetic damage: Welt K, Weiss J, Martin R, Hermsdorf T, Drews S, Fitzl G. Ginkgo biloba extract protects rat kidney from diabetic and hypoxic damage. Phytomedicine. 2007 Feb;14(2–3):196–203. Epub 2006 Jun 16.

Prevents diabetic nephropathy: Lu Q, Yin XX, Wang JY, Gao YY, Pan YM. Effects of Ginkgo biloba on prevention of development of experimental diabetic nephropathy in rats. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2007 Jun;28(6):818–828.

Retina impairment: Droy-Lefaix MT, Cluzel J, Menerath JM, Bonhomme B, Doly M. Antioxidant effect of a Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) on the retina. Int J Tissue React. 1995;17(3):93–100.

Improved hemorrheological properties by gingko extract: Huang S-Y, Jeng C, Kao S-C, Yu J J-H, Liu D-Z. Improved haemorrheological properties by Ginkgo biloba extract (Egb 761) in type 2 diabetes mellitus complicated with retinopathy. Clin Nutr. August 2004;23(4):615–621.

Gingko and platelet aggregation: Kudolo GB, Dorsey S, Blodgett J. Effect of the ingestion of Ginkgo biloba extract on platelet aggregation and urinary prostanoid excretion in healthy and Type 2 diabetic subjects. Thromb Res. 1 November 2002. 108(2–3):151–160.

Odetti P, Pesce C, Traverso N, Menini S, Maineri EP. Comparative trial of N-acetyl-cysteine, taurine, and oxerutin on skin and kidney damage in long-term experimental diabetes. Diabetes. 2003 Feb;52(2):499–505.

Verzola D, Bertolotto MB. Taurine prevents apoptosis induced by high ambient glucose in human tubule renal cells. J Investig Med. 2002 Nov;50(6):443–451.

Nandhini TA, Anuradha CV. Inhibition of lipid peroxidation, protein glycation and elevation of membrane ion pump activity by taurine in RBC exposed to high glucose. Clin Chim Acta. 2003 Oct;336(1-2):129–135.

Very good lecture on benefits of taurine by physician: Chauncey K. Is there a role for taurine supplementation in the management of diabetes? [online document]. Office of Dietary Supplements.

Taurine supplementation and diabetes mellitus: Franconi F, Loizzo A, Ghirlanda G, Seghieri G. Taurine supplementation and diabetes mellitus. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006 Jan;9(1):32–36.

Normalizes T1 DM pathways (with R-ALA): D Du X, Edelstein D, Brownlee M. Oral benfotiamine plus alpha-lipoic acid normalises complication-causing pathways in type 1 diabetes. Diabetologia. 2008 Oct;51(10):1930–1932. doi:10.1007/s00125-008-1100-2. Epub 2008 Jul 29.

Prevention of incipient diabetic nephropathy: Babaei-Jadidi R, Karachalias N, Ahmed N, Battah S, Thornalley PJ. Prevention of incipient diabetic nephropathy by high-dose thiamine and benfotiamine.

Babaei-Jadidi R, Karachalias N, Ahmed N, Battah S, Thornalley PJ. Prevention of incipient diabetic nephropathy by high-dose thiamine and benfotiamine. Diabetes. August 2003;52:2110–2120.

Reduce glucose and insulin resistance: Takikawa M, Inoue S, Horio F, Tsuda T. Dietary anthocyanin-rich bilberry extract ameliorates hyperglycemia and insulin sensitivity via activation of AMP-activated protein kinase in diabetic mice. J Nutr. 2010 Mar;140(3):527–533. doi:10.3945/jn.109.118216. Epub 2010 Jan 20.

Bao L, Yao XS, Tsi D, Yau CC, Chia CS, Nagai H, Kurihara H. Protective effects of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) extract on KBr03-induced kidney damage in mice. J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56(2):420–425.

Cignarella A, Nastasi M, Cavalli E, et al. Novel lipid-lowering properties of Vaccinium myrtillus L. leaves, a traditional antidiabetic treatment, in several models of rat dyslipidaemia: a comparison with ciprofibrate. Thromb Res. 1996;84(5):311–322.

Cataracts and retinopathy: Head KA. Natural therapies for ocular disorders, part two: cataracts and glaucoma. Altern Med Rev. 2001;6(2):141–166.

Dietary anthocyanidin-rich bilberry extract ameliorates hyperglycemia and insulin sensitivity via activation of amp-activated protein kinase in diabetic mice: Takikawa M, Inoue S, Horio F, Tsuda T. Dietary anthocyanin-rich bilberry extract ameliorates hyperglycemia and insulin sensitivity via activation of AMP-activated protein kinase in diabetic mice. J Nutr. March 2010;140(3)527–533.

Bilberry and ocular conditions: Microcirculation of the retina [Web page]. Mirtoselect.

Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry) [monograph online]. Altern Med Rev. 2001;6(5).

Green Tea
Fiorino P, Evangelista FS, Santos F, et al. The effects of green tea consumption on cardiometabolic alterations induced by experimental diabetes. Exp Diabetes Res. 2012;2012:309231. Epub 2012 Feb 29.

Yan J, Zhao Y, Suo S, Liu Y, Zhao B. Green tea catechins ameliorate adipose insulin resistance by improving oxidative stress. Free Radic Biol Med. 2012 May 1;52(9):1648–1657. Epub 2012 Feb 11.

Masterjohn C, Bruno RS. Therapeutic potential of green tea in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Nutr Rev. 2012 Jan;70(1):41–56. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00440.x.

Boschmann M, Thielecke F. The effects of epigallocatechin-3-gallate on thermogenesis and fat oxidation in obese men: a pilot study. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007;26(4):389S–395S.

Hsu CH, Liao YL, Lin SC, Tsai TH, Huang CJ, Chou P. Does supplementation with green tea extract improve insulin resistance in obese type 2 diabetics? A randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled clinical trial. Altern Med Rev. 2011 Jun;16(2):157–163.

Tsuneki H, Ishizuka M, Terasawa M, Wu J-B, Sasaoka T, Kimura I. Effect of green tea on blood glucose levels and serum proteomic patterns in diabetic (db/db) mice and on glucose metabolism in healthy humans. BMC Pharmacol. 2004;4:18.

Reduce diabetes risk with green tea ingestion: Iso H, Date C, Wakai K, et al.; JACC Study Group. The relationship between green tea and total caffeine intake and risk for self-reported type 2 diabetes among Japanese adults. Ann Int Med. 18 April 2006;144(8).

Decrease hepatic glucose production: Waltner-Law ME, Wang XL, Law BK, Hall RK, Nawano M, Granner DK. Epigallocatechin gallate, a constituent of green tea, represses hepatic glucose production. J Biol Chem. September 20, 2002.

Improves fat oxidation and thermogenesis: Dulloo AG, Duret C, Rohrer D. Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. December 1999;70(6)1040–1045.

Reduces growth factors: Cao Y, Cao R. Angiogenesis inhibited by drinking tea. Nature. 1 April 1999;398. Available at

Sakurai H. A new concept: the use of vanadium complexes in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Chem Rec. 2002;2(4):237–248.

Yeh GY, Kaptchuk TJ, Eidsenberg DM, Phillips RS. Systematic review of herbs and dietary supplements of glycemic control in diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003;26:1277 (review).

Cusi K, Cukier S, et al. Vanadyl sulfate improves hepatic and muscle insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Mar;86(3):1410–1417.

Rat studies and BMOV: Poucheret P, Verma S, Grynpas MD, McNeill JH. Vanadium and diabetes. Mol Cell Biochem. November 1998;188(1–2):73–80.

Vanadium salts as insulin substitutes: Sekar N, Li J, Shechter Y. Vanadium salts as insulin substitutes: mechanisms of action, a scientific and therapeutic tool in diabetes mellitus research. Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol.1996;31(5–6):339–359 doi:10.3109/10409239609108721.

Szkudelski T, Szkudelska K. Anti-diabetic effects of resveratrol. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2011 Jan;1215:34-9. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05844.x.

Resveratrol studies show significant diabetes benefits [blog post]. Natural Products Insider. September 25, 2013.


Dr Mona MorsteinDr. Mona Morstein is a naturopathic physician. She is chair of nutrition, gastroenterology professor, and clinical supervisor at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, Tempe, Arizona. Dr. Morstein has a generalized practice, seeing all ages, both genders, and acute and chronic disease, but she does focus on prediabetes and diabetes, gastroenterological conditions, and women's health. Dr. Morstein frequently lectures on diabetes and gastroenterological conditions in North America. She has created the Insulin Intensive Seminar, a two-day conference wherein medical professionals and students learn a comprehensive program of using insulin with all types of diabetic patients in all situations.

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