While most people regulate diabetes through diet and exercise, supplements for diabetes will help your body to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. The word “supplement” is key here as it refers to a group of diabetes vitamins and herbal remedies that are taken in conjunction with the usual precautions around diabetes. They are not intended to be a cure-all and should definitely not take the place of any medication your doctor has prescribed.
Diabetes affects each person in a different way, and each sufferer will display different symptoms and will respond differently to medication and supplements. Each of the common supplements for diabetes may or may not help you to control your blood sugar levels. To find out which ones are the most effective for you, you will need to give the supplement at least a month to start making changes to your physiology. The most common pill supplements are:
- Alpha Lipoic Acid – This antioxidant works by increasing your metabolic rate to help your body to break down food and convert it into energy. It typically stops blood sugar levels from rising, but has also been linked to decreases in blood sugar, so you will need to monitor your levels more frequently if you are taking this supplement. Alpha lipoic acid can also be found naturally in dark green leafy vegetables, potatoes and any products that contain yeast.
- CoQ10 – This supplement can help your cells to produce more energy from the same amount of blood sugar, which reduces the need for your pancreas to produce more insulin. It is available over the counter without prescription, but some studies have shown it to have a solely placebo effect. However, CoQ10 also appears in some white meat and most seafood in small quantities.
- Glucosamine – This is one of the most controversial of all the supplements for diabetes. It is technically a kind of sugar but does not interfere with your blood sugar. However, some studies have shown it to increase blood sugar levels, which may make it suitable for hypoglycemia, but if using glucosamine diabetes patients must carefully monitor their sugar levels.
You can also go for a more natural approach and try taking more of the following mineral supplements for diabetes to help reduce your blood sugar:
- Chromium – Chromium forms part of most multi-vitamin pills. It can help to normalize blood sugar levels if taken immediately after eating. Chromium also has been linked to weight loss in people with diabetes, but these people have also had a chromium deficiency. You can also find it in beef, red wine and grape juice in trace quantities.
- Magnesium – Deficiency in magnesium has always been linked to high blood sugar levels and the inability to efficiently process insulin. Many diabetes sufferers are deficient in this mineral, which makes it one of the more effective supplements. The best sources of magnesium in the natural world are bananas and dark green leafy vegetables.
- Bitter melon – Bitter melon has a very short history for treating diabetes, but studies on different populations show that it decreases blood sugar levels by small but significant amounts. It does this by activating a chemical in the stomach that increases your metabolic rate. It is taken in raw form and is available over the counter without a prescription.
Frank Murray recommends nutritional supplements for people with diabetes to improve their health.
Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any alternative supplements for diabetes, as they may interact adversely with other medication you may already be taking. You should also remember that the supplements are intended to work alongside your existing exercise and dietary regime and that they do not represent a stand-alone fix for your illness.