Are your favorite natural remedies effective, or even healthy, for diabetes treatment? Before you head to the vitamin aisle, review this guide to the best dietary supplements for a diabetic diet.
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1. Taking supplements for diabetes (variety of tablets, capsules, and pills):
From cinnamon and magnesium to herbal formulations that claim to smack down elevated blood sugar, “diabetes-friendly” supplements and vitamins are making waves among people with diabetes in organic food and drug stores. The crucial question is “should you take diabetes supplements?” People with diabetes may be searching for anything that appears less potent than a prescription or something that can address other health conditions outside blood sugar regulation, such as high cholesterol. But, for two major health reasons, physicians are hesitant to prescribe supplements to people with diabetes. First, there’s almost no long-term safety study. Second, no blood sugar supplements can be ensured as successfully as diabetes drugs.
There are no diabetes miracle therapies. If you have diabetes, the most key point to remember is that no supplement can take care of it. Diabetes is a disorder that, if necessary, can be well managed with a healthy lifestyle plus medication; a supplement cannot be a substitute. Science has changed the world of supplements. We have noticed that some famous pills – we are talking about chromium – are not living up to their reputations as diabetes supplements while checking the latest research as well as supplement experts for this study on the best-studied and most frequently used supplements. Others may be more promising, such as vitamin D or psyllium. Still, since false statements have been found, we should be discouraged. For example, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved short-term and long-term weight control drugs as adjuncts to diet, exercise, and behavioral therapy for people with type 2 diabetes, over-the-counter supplements that encourage weight loss appear to be a red flag. However, those supplements can help you improve your blood sugar regulation or reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease when used properly. So, you should consider adding diabetes supplements to your treatment plan.
2. Vitamin D
Tufts Medical Center researchers discovered in a report published in 2019 in The New England Journal of Medicine that taking vitamin D supplements in most people at high risk for diabetes does not prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. As for people who already have diabetes, “low vitamin D has been related to poor control in early studies, but we don’t yet know whether more support is needed,” according to Oluwaranti Akiyode, associate professor at Howard University. “There are always good reasons for having enough vitamin D, including avoiding brittle bones.”
The Institute of Medicine advises a daily supplement (600 to 800 IU of D vitamins per day). Since one in three Americans may have D deficiency, and it’s difficult to get enough food, it may be wise to start a supplement. But Akiyode recommends first having your vitamin D levels measured in your blood. You may need more than a drugstore tablet to top off your vitamin D. “Your doctor may prescribe a high-dose supplement for a while or simply recommend some D supplement. In a couple of months, then get the levels rechecked.”
For a long time, the good fats present in fish oil capsules and fish such as salmon, trout, herring, and sardines, have been touted as heart-healthy. For people with diabetes who are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, that’s significant. Omega-3s can decrease inflammation, heartbeats off-rhythm, and prevents artery-clogging. Taking fish oil supplements increases insulin sensitivity in people with metabolic disorders, such as diabetes in one study published in 2017 on Lipids Health Disease. Recent research in JAMA Cardiology, however, found little advantages in high-risk populations for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that two or more weekly servings of fish give most individuals their required omega-3s. If you do not like fish, consider taking around 2,200 mg of EPA and DHA (both forms of omega-3s) from supplements each week. People with heart disease, according to the AHA, should get 1,000 mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) daily from fish or a supplement.
4. Magnesium tablets
Magnesium can be low in one out of four people with type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar and diuretic medications could make the body excrete too much, so the potential to use insulin may be impaired by low magnesium level. There is no evidence that it has additional benefits to blood sugar to have more than the prescribed levels. Also, it can be toxic having too much magnesium. Before you start using a magnesium supplement, your doctor should check the levels. Don’t get any extra by yourself. “The magnesium levels can already be too high if you have kidney damage, which is fairly normal in diabetes,” Shane-Mc Whorter notes. “Low blood pressure and an irregular pulse can be caused by excess magnesium.” A multivitamin with around 100mg of magnesium, plus many servings of whole grains and green vegetables, will provide what you need. The suggested dietary allowances for magnesium are between 400 and 420mg per day for males and between 310 and 320mg for females.
Psyllium supplements, recognized for enhancing regularity and lowering cholesterol, contain soluble fiber that controls the natural increase in blood sugar after a meal, making it one of the better diabetes supplements. “If you don’t get enough fiber from your diet, then it might be useful to take psyllium,” Shane-Mc Whorter claims. Look for around 10 grams a day of the soluble fiber – equivalent to the volume of powdered psyllium in three teaspoons. According to a report published in 2016 in the Nutrition Journal, people with type 2 diabetes had lower after-meal blood sugar levels after eight weeks of psyllium supplementation. You can mix eight ounces of water with one teaspoon and drink for 20 to 30 minutes before each meal. Start with smaller dosages and gradually work your way up to prevent pain or gas in the digestive system.
Researchers aren’t certain whether cinnamon significantly lowers blood sugar in people with diabetes. A benefit from the spice has been shown by some studies. Maybe cinnamon is worth it. In capsule shape, aim for 500mg of cinnamon extract twice daily, or half to around one teaspoon of ground cinnamon daily. Cinnamon alone does not help you achieve a safe A1C target of less than 7%, but it may help with other medicines for diabetes, says Evan Sisson, professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. When you have liver damage, steer clear of cinnamon.
7. Alpha-lipoic acid
An antioxidant supplement called alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) can contribute to making nerves less sensitive to pain if you are dealing with pain in your fingers, toes, or feet due to diabetes-related nerve damage. High levels of cell-damaging free radicals that accompany high blood sugar can be neutralized by ALA. And one study published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology in 2015 indicates that ALA is contributing to prevent and treat diabetes. “Stabbing, burning pain, Shane-Mc Whorter suggests, can respond better than continued tingling.” And with early nerve damage, ALA can help more. “The dose used in studies was 600mg per day.” You can also get small quantities of spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, peas, Brussels sprouts, and rice bran from this compound.
Now, let’s have a look at three supplements that you should skip:
1. Fenugreek seeds
Several small studies, including one published in the journal Ayu in 2017, indicate that in individuals with type 2 diabetes, fenugreek, an ancient medicinal herb, lower blood glucose levels. If fenugreek helps, the benefits are minimal, and they may be outweighed by side effects, such as gas, diarrhea, and blood-thinning drug interactions. Shane-McWhorter states that “much of the advantage comes from the dietary fiber, “which you can get from foods such as whole grains, nuts, beans, and seeds or psyllium. Stick to using seeds in your diet as opposed to supplements. For use in tea or for mixing into baked goods, grind them.
Chromium is commonly used among people with type 2 diabetes thanks to 30 years of studies that demonstrated it may help regulate blood sugar. However, “Nearly all can get enough of whole grains, broccoli, green beans, mushrooms, and other items,” says registered dietitian Constance Brown-Riggs. Unless there is a documented deficiency, it is not regularly prescribed to use a chromium replacement. “High levels may damage the kidneys and liver and cause mood disturbances.” Medications, including antacids, beta-blockers, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, can also interact with chromium.
3. Bitter melon
The popular fruit, bitter melon, is also sold in capsules with claims to keep blood sugar levels stable. One study published in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2017 suggests that bitter melon can decrease high blood glucose in type 1 diabetes, but according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health of the National Institutes of Health, the evidence is otherwise limited for real blood sugar benefits in humans. “It’s worth eating bitter melon as a meal, but it has not given the intended benefits as a supplement and is potentially harmful,” advises Shane-McWhorter. “It can cause gastrointestinal pain or allergic reactions.”
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