Prevention and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes: Current Role of Lifestyle, Natural Product, and Pharmacological Interventions

Pharmacol Ther. 2008 May;118(2):181-91. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2008.02.003. Epub 2008 Mar 2.


Common complications of type 2 diabetes (T2D) are eye, kidney and nerve diseases, as well as an increased risk for the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The overwhelming influence of these conditions contributes to a decreased quality of life and life span, as well as significant economic consequences. Although obesity once served as a surrogate marker for the risk of T2D, we know now that excess adipose tissue secretes inflammatory cytokines that left unchecked, accelerate the progression to insulin resistance and T2D. In addition, excess alcohol consumption may also increase the risk of T2D. From a therapeutic standpoint, lifestyle interventions such as dietary modification and/or exercise training have been shown to improve glucose homeostasis but may not normalize the disease process unless weight loss is achieved and increased physical activity patterns are established. Furthermore, utilization of natural products may serve as a significant adjunct in the fight against insulin resistance but further research is needed to ascertain their validity. Since it is clear that pharmaceutical therapy plays a significant role in the treatment of insulin resistance, this review will also discuss some of the newly developed pharmaceutical therapies that may work in conjunction with lifestyle interventions, and lessen the burden of behavioral change as the only strategy against the development of T2D.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Life Style*
  • Weight Loss / physiology


  • Biological Products
  • Hypoglycemic Agents