10 Supplements for Diabetics to Support Health and Wellness
Diabetes is a serious life-long condition that affects over 34 million people across the United States. If you're looking to better manage this condition, for you or a loved one, here are supplements for diabetics to consider including in their supplement regimen.
Diabetes falls into the top 10 leading causes of death in America -- this means that it's a condition that requires constant monitoring. And the fact of the matter is, diabetes is 100 percent manageable, but it takes commitment and a well-balanced diet and lifestyle.
What's really shocking about this is that one in five people don't even know they have diabetes.
Getting To Grips With Diabetes
Despite the statistics, a diabetes diagnosis is not a death sentence. You can still live a full and happy life whether you have type 1 or 2 diabetes. But the reality is that your health needs to be your first priority.
So, what exactly is diabetes?
It's a chronic condition that impacts the blood sugar and insulin levels in the body. Depending on the type of diabetes you have, the body cannot produce insulin or does so poorly. The body also fails to use insulin properly, as it would in a person without diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
This form of the condition is far rarer than type 2 diabetes -- only 5-10 percent of people with diabetes have type 1. The condition is usually diagnosed in childhood or adolescence but can be diagnosed later in life.
With type 1, the immune system derails the function of insulin in the body by attacking pancreatic beta cells. This renders the cells useless and they can no longer produce insulin. But why is insulin so important?
Basically, insulin helps the body to absorb glucose from the blood. Glucose is what the body needs for energy in order to function, and it's also converted to fat when needed to protect our organs. Insulin is also responsible for how fat and protein are processed in the body.
Type 1 diabetes is a condition that's often hereditary.
Type 2 Diabetes
This is the most common form of diabetes, affecting up to 90 percent of diabetics. It's also more likely to develop later in life, rather than at childhood. However, children are not exempt from developing type 2, either.
With this form of diabetes, the body and its cells do not respond to insulin, and eventually, the pancreas can stop producing it. As a result, this leads to an excessive amount of glucose in the blood, i.e. very high blood sugar levels.
This leads to a host of health issues, including the onset of cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, vision loss, damaged organs, and blood vessels, as well as neurological impairment.
The Best Supplements for Diabetics: Type 2 Management
There is absolutely no substitute for living a healthy lifestyle when you have diabetes. In short, this is the best way to manage and live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. To add to this, it's always best to rely on the foods you eat to provide you with the vitamins and minerals you need.
But in the case of type 2 diabetes management, alternative therapies and supplementation could be beneficial. Here are the top supplements to consider:
This is a trace mineral and a form of metal that helps to reduce or keep blood sugar levels at a steady state. While this mineral occurs naturally in many foods such as fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, whole wheat products, and even spices, it's worth supplementing, too.
If you're looking for this as a supplement, you'll generally find it marketed as chromium nicotinate, chromium picolinate, or chromium chloride.
How is chromium beneficial? It's said to enhance the effects of insulin in the body and support activity of the pancreatic cells that make insulin.
This is also a form of metal and trace mineral that is beneficial in the body for a myriad of reasons. Most importantly, magnesium helps to maintain healthy bones, muscle function, steady blood pressure, and healthy heart function.
On a general consensus, most diabetics are low in magnesium due to insulin insensitivity. This is why supplementing with magnesium is a good idea. The reason for this is that it helps to regulate normal insulin secretion as well as insulin function in the tissue of the body.
It's best to supplement with 250-350 mcg per day.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
You can find omega-3 fatty acids in many food sources, such as fish, vegetables, canola, and soybean oil, as well as nuts, and wheat. If you suffer from diabetes, an additional supplement of omega-3 fatty acid could help to manage the condition.
While this supplement may not have a direct impact on blood sugar levels, it's beneficial in lowering triglycerides in the blood and increasing HDL cholesterol levels (the good cholesterol!). Seeing as many type 2 diabetics are prone to developing heart disease, this supplement is worth adding to your regimen.
4. Vitamin B-1
This vitamin is also called thiamine -- it's rated as beneficial to diabetics because many of them display low levels of this vitamin. Low levels of vitamin B-1 are thought to contribute to many of the health issues diabetics experience, such as the onset of heart disease and the damage of blood vessels.
However, it's important to bear in mind that thiamine is a water-soluble vitamin. So when supplementing, you want to opt for benfotiamine, which is a fat-soluble alternative to this vitamin. This way it's better absorbed by the body.
This does not fall under a category of mineral or vitamin, but rather a herb that's traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine. Studies on the consumption of this herb by those with type 2 diabetes show a 29 percent decrease in blood sugar levels.
It's said that the herb helps to reduce the absorption of sugar in the gut, while promoting the uptake of sugar from your cells, instead. This herb is also beneficial for type 1 diabetics as it supports insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
6. Aloe Vera
This is yet another plant that could be beneficial in the management of blood sugar and diabetes. Today, you can find a plethora of supplements in the form of gels, capsules, and drinks.
How does it work? Aloe helps to stimulate the production of insulin in the pancreas as well as a number of other functions. Just be sure to check with your doctor before taking aloe vera as it can interact with some medications.
7. Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)
Similar to a vitamin, but not quite, ALA is actually an antioxidant for the body and helps to protect cells against damage from free radicals.
ALA is good for diabetic supplementation because it encourages the proper use of insulin in the body while preventing and treating certain diabetic neuropathy disorders.
Cinnamon is a spice most people have sitting in their kitchen pantry at home. While it's always beneficial to add to your smoothies, morning porridge, or chai latte, it's most beneficial in supplement form.
This spice is thought to encourage the body's response to insulin in those with type 2 diabetes. In other words, it helps with glucose absorption into the cells, therefore lowering your overall blood sugar levels.
Probiotics are a supplement you should be taking whether you have diabetes or not. But in the case of diabetics, damage to your gut bacteria or an imbalance within the gut can only add to your health woes.
An improved balance of bacteria can assist the body in processing carbohydrates and the absorption of glucose -- which is essential for diabetics. To add to this, probiotics may assist in helping to decrease inflammation throughout the body, which has a good effect on blood sugar levels, too.
A reduction in inflammation can also help to protect pancreatic cell function. If you want to add a probiotic to your daily routine, opt for a combination of L. acidophilus, B. bifidum, and L. rhamnosus.
10. Vitamin D
Most people in America are deficient in vitamin D, even if you live in a sunny state. This is because vitamin D is not naturally produced by the body (except when exposed to sunlight) and must be ingested through your diet or with supplements.
Low vitamin D levels are especially risky for diabetics. This is because vitamin D is vital for healthy immune and cell function. Supplementing with vitamin D has a great benefit on the pancreatic cells, helping them produce insulin and improve the body's response to insulin absorption.
Support Your Health with SupplementRelief.com
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Explore our NuMedica product catalog for a wide range of recommended supplements for optimal health.
Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of SupplementRelief.com in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle, after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges, including auto-immune diseases, and being overweight, that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.
Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.
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