Diabetics may be able to manage their health better by taking dietary supplements, says a new study conducted by the Lewin Group, a national health care and human services consulting firm.

A handful of specific supplements may be especially beneficial to diabetics, the scientific literature showed. Magnesium may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acids show promise in lowering blood glucose levels. And alpha-lipoic acid can improve associated neuropathic (or nerve-related) symptoms, such as pain, burning, and numbness.

Diabetic supplement users (about 34 percent) are more likely to exhibit protective health behaviors, such as healthy eating habits and light or moderate alcohol intake, the study found. And among diabetics who take multivitamins, nearly 54 percent say they are in good to excellent health. On the other hand, diabetics who don't take multis typically rate their general health as fair or poor.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 20.8 million Americans have diabetes and an additional 41 million have prediabetes, or conditions that will lead to diabetes if not addressed.

The report, commissioned by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance, is based on reviews of research literature and data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.