I use Alpha Lipoic Acid Sustained Release 300 mg 2 tablets 3 x a day. I also take Evening Primrose Oil along with it to enhance it's insulin mimetic effect. I have found that it does reduce the amount of insulin that I need to use.
I also take ZMA, a version of magnesium at night. It helps sleep and also helps the body do recovery and repair work while you sleep.
I have heard good things about chromium picolinate, and gymnema sylvestre. I took chromium picolinate for a while, but didn't notice anything different when I took it. My doctor said it's something that you can have too much of, and recommended I let it go.
Here's a quote from Dr. Bernstein's book about the use of ALA.
In addition to the insulin sensitizers, there are some substances sold in the United States as dietary supplements that are effective for helping to control blood sugars. Many studies in Germany have demonstrated this effect from alpha lipoic acid, or ALA. A 2001 study showed it to work in muscle and fat cells by mobilizing and activating glucose transporters—in other words, it works like insulin, or is an insulin mimetic. German studies have also shown that its effectiveness in mimicking the effects of insulin is greatly enhanced when used with equivalent amounts of evening primrose oil, another dietary supplement. ALA and evening primrose oil are no substitute, however, for injected insulin—they are at best a fraction as potent. Still, their combined effectiveness is significant.
Additionally, ALA is perhaps the most potent antioxidant on the market and has certain cardiovascular benefits similar to those claimed for vitamin E, but more notable. Many of the cardiologists who were taking vitamin E ten years ago are now taking ALA. I’ve been taking it myself for about four years. When I began, I promptly found that I had to lower my insulin doses by about one-third. ALA and evening primrose oil do not appear to mimic one important property
of insulin—they don’t appear to facilitate fat storage. They are both available without prescription from health food stores and from some pharmacies. They have the potential to cause hypoglycemia in diabetics who inject insulin if they don’t adjust their insulin dosages accordingly. I have never seen them cause hypoglycemia, however, when they are not used with injected insulin.
Other German studies have shown dramatic improvements in diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) when alpha lipoic acid is administered intravenously in large doses over several weeks. Given its antioxidant and likely anti-inflammatory properties, this isn’t that surprising. But it falls under the category of “Don’t Try This at Home.” Alpha lipoic acid, like high-dose vitamin E and metformin, can impede glycosylation and glycation of proteins, both of which cause many diabetic complications when blood sugars are elevated. I prefer a brand of alpha lipoic acid called Alpha Lipoic Sustain 300. This is manufactured by Jarrow Formulas, phone (800) 726-0886, and is available from Trotta’s Pharmacy, (877) 987-6882, many health food stores, and over the Internet. This particular brand has two advantages— it is soluble in both water and lipids (fats), and it is timed release, so that it lasts many hours. I usually recommend two 300 mg tablets every 8 hours or so, with two 500 mg capsules of evening primrose oil at the same times. If an insulin-resistant patient is already taking insulin, I will start her on half this dose once daily and observe blood glucose profiles and lower insulin dose as I raise alpha lipoic acid and evening primrose oil. Again, it’s all trial and error.