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Table of Contents > Articles > Promising News for People with Type 2 ...
Promising News for People with Type 2 Diabetes

Research may soon uncover another treatment option for people who have type 2 diabetes. A recent study reinforced evidence that people with type 2 diabetes respond better to insulin if they are administered the amino acid L-carnitine intravenously. The researchers hope further studies will show it to be equally effective if taken orally.

Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin to properly regulate sugar levels in the blood; the goal of a treatment program is to stabilize these blood sugar levels. Usually lifestyle changes are incorporated first. These include losing weight, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and eating low-fat, high-fiber foods. If these measures do not work, insulin injections are added. Insulin injections sometimes require oral hypoglycemic medicines to aid the absorption process. Unfortunately, there is evidence that two standard hypoglycemic medicines, troglitazone (brand name Rezulin) and metformin (Glucophage), may have serious side effects, such as liver damage. This is what inspired the authors of the study to research L-carnitine. If additional research shows that the amino acid is effective when taken orally, people with diabetes may be able to combine insulin therapy with oral L-carnitine and have a better option for staying healthy.


Hypoglycemic: Abnormal decrease of sugar in the blood; hypoglycemic medicine works to counteract this event.

Insulin: A hormone in the body used to regular blood sugar levels.

Intravenously: Administering drug therapy directly into the veins through a needle.

Suggested Resources

Cryer, Philip E. American Diabetes Association Complete Guide to Diabetes: The Ultimate Home Diabetes Reference. Alexandria, VA : American Diabetes Association; 1996.

Schade, David, Boyle, Patrick, and Burge, Mark. 101 Tips for Staying Healthy with Diabetes (& Avoiding Complications): A Project of the American Diabetes Association. Alexandria, VA : American Diabetes Association; 1996.

Drum, David E. and Zierenberg, Terry. The Type II Diabetes Sourcebook. Terry Zierenberg. Los Angeles: Lowell House ; Chicago : Contemporary Books; 1997.


Mingrone G, Greco AV, Capristo E, et al. L-Carnitine improves glucose disposal in type II diabetic patients. J Am Coll Nutr. 1999;18(1):77-82

Integrative Medicine Access, Diabetes Mellitus (professional and patient education sections). for suggested readings

Review Date: September 1999
Reviewed By: Integrative Medicine editorial

Copyright © 2004 A.D.A.M., Inc

The publisher does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of the information or the consequences arising from the application, use, or misuse of any of the information contained herein, including any injury and/or damage to any person or property as a matter of product liability, negligence, or otherwise. No warranty, expressed or implied, is made in regard to the contents of this material. No claims or endorsements are made for any drugs or compounds currently marketed or in investigative use. This material is not intended as a guide to self-medication. The reader is advised to discuss the information provided here with a doctor, pharmacist, nurse, or other authorized healthcare practitioner and to check product information (including package inserts) regarding dosage, precautions, warnings, interactions, and contraindications before administering any drug, herb, or supplement discussed herein.

Diabetes Mellitus
Carnitine (L-Carnitine)
Insulin Preparations

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