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Best Dietary Supplements for Diabetes

 

Nutritional supplements for diabetics are essential for a couple of reasons. First of all, elevated glucose levels act like a diuretic and cause substantial loss of nutrients in the urine. Unless these are replaced, people with type 2 diabetes are likely to be deficient in important water-soluble vitamins and minerals.

Secondly, nutrients that support your body’s ability to use insulin can help keep your blood sugar at healthy levels. Anyone who has diabetes should AT LEAST take a high-quality vitamin and mineral supplement every day. Research has shown that taking a potent daily multivitamin dramatically reduces the incidence of infection and the number of sick days taken by patients with type 2 diabetes.

I’m personally not a fan of synthetic multiple vitamin-mineral supplements and prefer to get concentrated nutrients from herbs, super foods (like Chlorella) and micro-greens. With diabetes, though, you want to make certain you are getting vitamins C, E, D3 and B Complex, and the mineral Magnesium. If you prefer a multi, choose capsules over tablets (difficult to break down and absorb) and avoid One-a-Day and other cheap brands.

Cinnamon

  • Reduces total blood glucose and improves insulin-sensitivity
  • May improve digestion, colon function, and cholesterol levels
  • Good for colds and flu – 1 teaspoon in hot water or tea
  • Choose Ceylon cinnamon when using as either food or a supplement

Daily recommended dose: from 1,000 to 6,000 mg. If taking the powder, no more than 1 tsp/day

Gymnema Sylvestre

  • Decreases fasting blood sugar levels
  • Normalizes blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides)
  • Lowers insulin requirements
  • Enhances production of insulin by pancreatic cells

Daily recommended dose: 400 mg/day

Many individuals have been able to discontinue their use of oral diabetic medications taking this supplement alone. 

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

  • Can help reduce the kidney and nerve damage often seen in diabetes
  • May significantly reduce the need for insulin
  • Studies show ALA reduces the fasting levels of lactate and pyruvate, and increases insulin sensitivity and glucose effectiveness

Daily recommended dose: 600 mg taken twice daily

Berberine

  • Anti-Inflammatory and anti-diabetic
  • Improves Intestinal health and cholesterol levels
  • Decreases glucose production in the liver
  • Increases exercise performance
  • Decreases blood pressure

Daily recommended dose: 900 to 2,000 mg, taken in divided doses 2 to 3 times a day

Vitamin D

Vitamin D turns on genes that boost production of antimicrobial peptides called cathelicidins, which destroy viruses, bacteria and other germs. Because people with diabetes are more prone to infections due to diabetic ulcers and periodontal disease, making sure your body has optimal levels of this fat-soluble vitamin is important.

Daily recommended dose: At least 2,000 IU of supplemental vitamin D (as cholecalciferol or D3

B-Complex Vitamins

  • B6 and B12 support nerve health, which is critical for addressing conditions like diabetic neuropathy.
  • Biotin is involved in the manufacture and utilization of protein, fats and carbohydrates.
  • This is the only type of B complex I recommend because it contains folate, Methylcobalamin Vitamin B12, and Intrinsic Factor. It also contains only the S isomer of 5-MTHF and has been shown to be the only form of folate to be able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Studies indicate that methylcobalamin, a coenzyme form of B12, may be better utilized and better retained in the body. 

Vitamin C

  • Lowers levels of sorbitol, the sugar that can collect in and damage cells in the eyes, kidneys and nerves
  • Boosts the immune system, maintains healthy tissues and promotes the body’s ability to absorb iron
  • My favorite form of natural vitamin C is either non-gmo ascorbic acid or Camu Camu powder

Daily recommended dose: at least 1,000 mg/day. If more is taken, divide doses.

Vitamin E

  • Improves glucose control
  • Protects blood vessels and nerves from free radical damage, which is accelerated by the diabetes
  • May reverse damage to nerves caused by diabetes and protect against diabetic cataracts and atherosclerosis
  • When taking vitamin E, take only the natural form. The label will say alpha-tocopherol or d-alpha-tocopherol if natural – dl-alpha-tocopherol or dl-alpha tocopherol if synthetic.

Daily recommended dose: at least 200 IU

I prefer to get my vitamin E from the following foods as many of the supplements contain soybean oil and may be rancid:

  • Almonds, hazelnuts and pine nuts
  • Spinach and other green leafy vegetables
  • Sweet Potato
  • Avocado
  • Sunflower and pumpkin seeds (I buy sprouted and raw)
  • Butternut squash
  • Olive oil and olives

Vanadyl Sulfate

  • Mimics insulin in the body and helps maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Daily recommended dose: 100 mg daily

Magnesium

One of the most important nutrients with any disease. Most people are deficient in magnesium due to food grown in mineral depleted soil. Take 350-400 mg of the supplement in addition to the following foods: spinach, almonds, broccoli and lentils, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. This is the supplement I usually recommend, but magnesium glycinate has less of a laxative effect.

Dosage: 350-400 mg once or twice a day.

Chromium

This trace element plays a role in blood sugar regulation by working with insulin to help transport glucose into cells.  Helps with sugar cravings. Be sure you get the GTF type of chromium.

Suggested dose: Up to 1,000 micrograms daily

Information in this and other posts is for educational purposes only and not intended to replace medical diagnosis or care.  Always check with your health care practitioner before beginning any new dietary or supplement program. 


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