8 Supplements That May Help Diabetes
Of the 29.1 million Americans with diabetes, as many as 31 percent use complementary or alternative medicines, including supplements, to help manage their condition. In fact, the amount of money spent on dietary supplements could be staggering. "I think it's bigger than the pharmacy business, if you add it all up," says Jeffrey Tipton, DO, MPH, vice president and medical director at AppleCare Medical Management in Los Angeles. So is all that money going to good use? "There are some indications that some supplements may be helpful, but there's nothing definitive," says Julie T. Chen, MD, an internist and founder of Making Healthy EZ, an integrative health clinic in San Jose, California. While you shouldn't use supplements to replace your diabetes medication, research on some of them does suggest that they can help with type 2 diabetes management. Supplements for Type 2 Diabetes: A Closer Look If you're taking or considering taking a supplement, telling your doctor is a must because some supplements can interfere with diabetes or other drugs, such as blood thinners. Here's a look at nine dietary supplements that are commonly used by people with type 2 diabetes: Chromium A metal and an essential trace mineral, this is thought to help reduce blood sugar levels. It is naturally occurring in meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, spices, and whole-wheat and rye breads. As a supplement, it is sold as chromium picolinate, chromium chloride, and chromium nicotinate. "People were excited about chromium about 20 years ago," Dr. Tipton says. At low doses, its use appears safe for most people and may be of some help; but taken over long periods, chromium can cause side effects that include kidney issues — already a problem for some people with diabetes. Magnesium This metal is essential Continue reading >>
Vitamin Supplements For People With Diabetes
Vitamin Supplements for People with Diabetes Do people with diabetes need vitamin supplements? And if they do, which ones should they consider taking? Eating balanced meals and snacks is important for staying healthy and maintaining good glycemic control, emphasizes Nora Saul, M.S, R.D., L.D.N., C.D.E, a patient educator withthe Joslin Clinic. Choosing whole foods over supplements is advantageous since foods provide a myriad of different nutrients for health in one package, whereas single vitamin supplements are single purpose. For example, raspberries contain vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants, Saul points out.In fact, the use of supplements is usually not supported unless a deficiency state is suspected.Well controlled diabetes does not increase the need for supplementary vitamins and minerals. So who could benefit from a vitamin supplement? Those on low calorie diets, who do not eat a variety of foods Those whose medical conditions require a restricted diet, such as people with certain food allergies, kidney disease or diseases of the gastrointestinal tract that interfere with nutrient digestion or absorption. One vitamin that many people, including those with diabetes, may need supplementation of is vitamin D, Saul emphasizes.Although the current government recommendation is 400 IUs recent research has indicated that this may not be enough. In addition to being important for maintaining healthy bones, vitamin D may play an important role in blood glucose (sugar) control. We get vitamin D both from foods and the sun.Unfortunately, there are few dietary sources of vitamin D and for those of us in the Northern latitudes; the winter sun is not strong enough to allow our bodies to manufacture the amount we need.For many of us taking a supplement with 800 to 1000 IU per d Continue reading >>
Diabetes, Type 2
What is type 2 diabetes? Also called adult-onset diabetes, type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder resulting from the body’s inability to properly use or ultimately make enough insulin, the hormone that helps regulate sugar, starches and other foods the body uses for energy. It is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of all cases. Type 2 diabetes is nearing epidemic proportions in the United States as a result of a greater prevalence of obesity and sedentary lifestyles. The upswing is also due to the increasing number of older people in the population. What are the symptoms? Many symptoms of diabetes such as excessive thirst or irritability, can seem unimportant, which is one of the reasons why the disease often goes undiagnosed. However, early detection is very important because it can reduce the odds of developing the dangerous complications of diabetes. Common symptoms include: Frequent urination Excessive thirst Extreme hunger Unusual weight loss Increased fatigue Irritability Blurry vision If high blood sugar levels are not brought under control via treatment type 2 diabetes (and type 1 diabetes as well) can lead to a number of serious complications: Eye damage: People with diabetes have a 40 percent higher than normal risk of developing glaucoma, increased pressure within the eye that can lead to vision loss. They are also 60 percent more likely than normal to develop cataracts, which cloud the lens of the eye, blocking light and blurring vision. They are also at risk of diabetic retinopathy, damage to the retina that is the leading cause of impaired vision in the United States. High blood pressure: This disorder occurs at twice the normal rate among diabetics. Heart disease: Deaths from heart disease among diabetics are two to four Continue reading >>
Could Vitamin A Deficiency Be A Cause Of Type 2 Diabetes?
A new study published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry claims to have identified a potential driver of type 2 diabetes: vitamin A deficiency. The researchers, from the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, NY, say their findings may lead to new treatments for the condition. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in the US, accounting for 90-95% of all diagnosed cases. The condition is characterized by insulin resistance, in which insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are unable to function effectively. According to senior author Dr. Lorraine Gudas - chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at Weill Cornell - and colleagues, vitamin A boosts beta cell activity, meaning lack of the vitamin may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. There are two types of vitamin A. Preformed vitamin A, referred to as retinol, is present in meat, poultry, fish and dairy products, while pro-vitamin A, or beta-carotene, is found in many fruits and vegetables. Vitamin A aids cell growth and contributes to a healthy immune system and vision. Past studies have shown that, during fetal development, vitamin A is key for beta cell production. But Dr. Gudas and colleagues say it was unclear as to whether vitamin A played such a role in adulthood. Removal of dietary vitamin A led to beta cell loss in adult mice To find out, the team analyzed the beta cell development among two groups of adult mice; one group of mice had been genetically modified to be unable to store dietary vitamin A, while the other group was able to store the vitamin from foods as normal. The researchers found that the mice unable to store vitamin A experienced beta cell death, meaning these mice were unable to produce insulin. What is more, when the researchers removed vitamin A from Continue reading >>
Is Vitamin D Deficiency Linked With Diabetes? | Everyday Health
Some research suggests avoiding vitamin D deficiency may help reduce your risk for heart disease, which people with diabetes are more likely to develop. Youve likely heard of the power of vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin. You can either get vitamin D through the suns rays, which signal your body to make vitamin D, or through certain foods or supplements. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble, rather than water-soluble, vitamin so when you get it through your diet, youll best absorb it alongside a fat-containing food, such as almonds, peanut butter, or avocado. The vitamin is important for your health: Research suggests that it may help with everything from athletic performance to heart disease, and may even help protect against type 2 diabetes . What Does Vitamin D Do for Our Bodies and Our Health? Vitamin D plays many important roles in the body, and helps you maintain healthy bones, joints, and teeth, as well as a well-functioning immune system. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium in the body to promote bone growth, notes Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE , author of The 2-Day Diabetes Diet: Just 2 Days a Week and Dodge Type 2 Diabetes , who is in private practice in Franklin, New Jersey. Some observational studies suggest vitamin D may also play a role in the prevention of certain diseases and disorders, such as diabetes. The sunshine vitamin may also help keep your ticker healthy: A review published in January 2014 in the journalCirculation Research suggested that vitamin D deficiency is detrimental for heart health. This is important to note because people with type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk for heart problems. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes people with diabetes are two times more likely to die from heart disease tha Continue reading >>
Herbs, Vitamins, And More For Diabetes
Alternative or complementary treatments spark the interest of many people with diabetes. The prospect of having better control over blood sugar levels or being less dependent on insulin injections by taking herbal supplements or vitamins is certainly attractive. But do any of the things often touted as alternative diabetes treatments really work? First, anyone interested in going down this road should consider the difference between the terms "alternative" and "complementary." When it comes to managing diabetes, the latter is the term experts prefer. "Alternative" implies that you ditch one treatment in favor of another. Rather, if you want to look into taking supplements, you should do so as a possible complement to the treatment program your doctor has prescribed. Many herbs and vitamins have shown some promise for diabetes, but the scientific evidence for their safety and efficacy is too uncertain for experts to make recommendations about most of them. That doesn't mean that doctors are closed-minded about the possibilities. "It's not as if we know everything we need to know," says Nathaniel Clark, MD, spokesman for the American Diabetes Association. "There's always a need for new therapies and new approaches." Testimonials to the medicinal powers of various herbs -- not only in advertising, but also in millennia-old traditions of Eastern medicine -- are as abundant as the flora themselves. But modern medicine demands proof, and as herbal medicine gains popularity, scientists are busy testing the possible benefits of herbs for treating many diseases. Diabetes is no exception. A recent study found that cinnamon can increase metabolism of blood glucose by triggering insulin release. In that study, as little as one-quarter teaspoon a day produced significant reductions Continue reading >>
Could Lack Of Vitamin A Be A Cause Of Diabetes?
Could lack of vitamin A be a cause of diabetes? Researchers have found that blocking vitamin A receptors on the surface of pancreatic beta cells reduces insulin secretion. Researchers have found that vitamin A may be crucial to the insulin-secreting function of beta cells, a discovery that could open the door to new treatments for diabetes. Diabetes is estimated to affect more than 29 million people in the United States. Type 2 diabetes accounts for around 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases, and this arises when the beta cells of the pancreas fail to produce enough insulin - the hormone that regulates blood glucose - or when the body is no longer able to use insulin effectively. Type 1 diabetes , which accounts for the remaining 5 percent of cases, occurs when the immune system destroys beta cells, hampering insulin production. In a new study - recently reported in the Endocrine Journal - researchers from the United Kingdom and Sweden discovered that there are large quantities of vitamin A receptors on the surface of beta cells, called GPRC5C. "When we discovered that insulin cells have a cell surface expressed receptor for vitamin A, we thought it was important to find out why and what the purpose is of a cell surface receptor interacting with vitamin A mediating a rapid response to vitamin A," says study co-author Albert Salehi, of the University of Lund in Sweden. On partially blocking the vitamin A receptors in beta cells from mice - eliminating the ability of vitamin A to bind to these cells - the team found that their ability to secrete insulin was reduced in response to sugar. Vitamin A deficiency may destroy beta cells For their study, Salehi and colleagues also tested beta cells derived from humans with and without type 2 diabetes. Again, the researchers Continue reading >>
Is Vitamin A Good For Diabetics?
Emma Cale has been writing professionally since 2000. Her work has appeared in NOW Magazine, HOUR Magazine and the Globe and Mail. Cale holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Windsor and advanced writing certificates from the Canadian Film Centre and the National Theatre School of Canada. Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin A. Vitamin A occurs in high concentrations in fruits and vegetables such as carrots, kale, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, collard greens, spinach, apricots, broccoli and cantaloupe. These foods are classed as provitamin A carotenoids, and research suggests they may have some benefit for diabetics. Speak to your doctor or health-care provider about vitamin A rich carotenoids if you have diabetes or are at risk for developing the condition. Research demonstrates a significant association between vitamin A-rich carotenoids and diabetes status. According to a 2005 study conducted by University of Queensland researchers in Australia, higher blood glucose levels, as well as higher fasting levels of insulin, were observed in study participants with lower levels of carotenoids. Carotenoid levels also decreased as the severity of glucose intolerance increased. These findings suggest that vitamin A might help diabetics to manage their condition. Diabetic retinopathy is a common long-term complication of diabetes characterized by damage to the blood vessels that feed the retina; it may lead to retinal detachment and blindness. Vitamin A rich carotenoids may shrink a diabetics risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. According to a 2009 study conducted by Australian researchers and published in the British Journal of Nutrition, Type 2 diabetics who had lower levels of the carotenoids lycopene and lutein and zeaxanthin had corres Continue reading >>
Vitamin A: A Missing Link In Diabetes?
1Department of Pharmacology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY 10065, USA *Author for correspondence: Tel.: +1 212 746 6250; Fax: +1 212 746 8858; [email protected] The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at Diabetes Manag (Lond) See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Vitamin A has a critical role in embryonic development, immunity and the visual cycle. In recent years, evidence has demonstrated that vitamin A can also regulate metabolic pathways implicated in the pathogenesis of obesity and diabetes. This has increased interest in the possible antiobesity and antidiabetic properties of natural and synthetic vitamin A derivatives. However, whether vitamin A deficiency or aberrations in vitamin A metabolism contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetes is not known. This perspective article will review what is currently known and new data regarding the link between vitamin A and the clinical manifestations of common and atypical forms of diabetes. Keywords: cells, diabetes, dietary nutrient, glucose metabolism, insulin, islets, pancreas, retinoic acid, retinol, vitamin A Vitamin A refers to a family of compounds, also called retinoids, that exhibits structural and biochemical similarity to retinol, the form of dietary vitamin A absorbed from animal and plant sources[ 1 ]. For over 100 years studies have demonstrated a critical role for vitamin A in embryonic development, immunity, and the visual cycle[ 2 , 3 ]. In the past four decades synthetic analogs of vitamin A, known as retinoids, have been extensively developed and used for clinical treatment of dermatological disorders and a number of cancers[ 2 ]. In recent years, a growing body of evidence has demonstrated that vitamin A can also regulate metabolic pat Continue reading >>
Diabetes And B12: What You Need To Know
Vitamin B12 is necessary for a healthy nervous system and healthy blood cells. The best way to get vitamin B12 is through your diet. This important vitamin is found in meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products. If you don’t eat enough of these foods, it could leave you with a deficiency. Consuming enough vitamin B12 isn’t the only problem. Your body also needs to be able to absorb it efficiently. Some medications like Pepcid AC, Prevacid, Prilosec, and Zantac, as well as others used to treat acid reflux, peptic ulcer disease, and infection, may make it harder for your body to absorb B12. Another medication that may interfere with B12 absorption is metformin, a common type 2 diabetes treatment. Simply having diabetes may make you more prone to B12 deficiency. A 2009 study found that 22 percent of people with type 2 diabetes were low in B12. Read on to learn the symptoms of B12 deficiency, what it could mean for your overall health, and what you can do about it. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency may be mild at first, and not always obvious. If you’re slightly low on B12, you may not have any symptoms at all. Some of the more common early symptoms are: tiredness weakness loss of appetite weight loss constipation It may be easy to dismiss these as minor complaints, but over time, insufficient B12 can lead to bigger problems. Very low levels of B12 can result in serious complications. One of these is called pernicious anemia. Anemia means you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells. This deprives your cells of much-needed oxygen. According to a study in the Journal of Oral Pathology Medicine, less than 20 percent of those with a B12 deficiency experience pernicious anemia. Symptoms of anemia include: fatigue pale skin chest pain dizziness headache You may even lose Continue reading >>
Best Vitamins For Diabetics
Eating a varied diet rich in natural sources of vitamins is a good idea for diabetics. Nutritional support is critical for diabetics because diabetes tends to drain nutrients. When levels of glucose are high in the blood, the body tries to ‘wash’ the excess sugar out. This is why diabetics need to use the washroom frequently. Unfortunately, diabetics also lose nutrients via their urine. Research studies show that diabetics are repeatedly found to be deficient in important water-soluble vitamins and minerals. What’s more, the loss of these vitamins worsens the body’s ability to manage blood sugar, creating a vicious cycle. Combining a healthy diabetes diet plan and a daily exercise routine with the best vitamin supplements for diabetics goes a long way in achieving stable blood sugar levels. What Vitamins Are Diabetics Deficient In? The term vitamin is short for “Vital Amino Acid”. This means that these are vital for the proper functioning of hundreds of chemical processes in the body which the body cannot manage by itself. Proper blood sugar control is one such function for which vitamins are critical. There are 13 essential vitamins that the human body requires and they must be obtained from an external source — through food and/or supplements. Diabetics need two kinds of vitamins: Water Soluble – Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, Biotin, and Folate are water-soluble and cannot be stored in the body for longer periods of time. Diabetics are often deficient in these vitamins since they pass greater amounts of urine daily. As their body tries to get rid of extra sugar, diabetics lose more water-soluble vitamins than most others. That’s why diabetics need to to get these vitamins daily in doses larger than what normal people need. Luckily, you can get all Continue reading >>
Vitamin E Supplements Not Recommended For Those With Diabetes
Vitamin E Supplements Not Recommended for Those with Diabetes May 7, 2010 Dear Mayo Clinic: I have heard that vitamin E can be harmful to diabetics with heart problems. Can you tell me more about this? Answer: The scientific evidence has been mixed regarding vitamin E's effect on a person's risk of heart disease. Early studies seemed to indicate that vitamin E could help prevent heart disease. Results of follow-up studies have been less promising, however. The vitamin E you consume as part of a healthy diet isn't a concern. But, based on the research information available now, I do not recommend that people with diabetes take vitamin E supplements. Vitamin E is found in a variety of foods, including vegetable oils (corn, cottonseed, soybean, safflower), wheat germ, whole-grain cereals and green leafy vegetables. One of vitamin E's functions is to prevent a chemical reaction called oxidation, which can sometimes result in harmful effects in your body. Because of this, vitamin E is called an "antioxidant." Substantial evidence from basic science and laboratory research has suggested that antioxidants such as vitamin E may reduce heart disease risk by several mechanisms. One is preventing low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol from producing plaques that can narrow the heart's arteries (atherosclerosis). Diabetes dramatically increases a person's risk of cardiovascular problems — including coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. Thus, it seemed appropriate, based on these initial studies, to recommend vitamin E supplements to people with diabetes. Several subsequent studies have indicated otherwise. To follow up on initial observational studies that suggested possible benefits, researchers conducted a variety of Continue reading >>
Vitamins And Minerals
Tweet Depending on the type of treatment regimen you use to control your diabetes, there are some vitamins and minerals that may be beneficial for your condition. Before adding any vitamins or adding dietary supplements to your daily diet, discuss these changes with your healthcare team and doctor to ensure they are safe alongside any prescribed medication you're on. ALA and GLA ALA (alpha-lipoic acid) is a versatile and potent antioxidant, and may function to help diabetic neuropathy and reduce pain from free-radical damage. Also, some studies link ALA to decreased insulin resistance and thus the control of blood sugar. GLA (gamma-lipoic acid) is another naturally occurring antioxidant that is present in evening primrose oil, borage oil and blackcurrant seed oil. GLA may improve the function of nerves damaged by diabetic neuropathy. Biotin Biotin works in synergy with insulin in the body, and independently increases the activity of the enzyme glucokinase. Glucokinase is responsible for the first step of glucose utilisation, and is therefore an essential component of normal bodily functioning. Glucokinase occurs only in the liver, and in sufferers from diabetes its concentration may be extremely low. Supplements of biotin may have a significant effect on glucose levels for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. Carnitine (L-Carnitine, Acetyl L-Carnitine) Carnitine is required by the body in order to correctly use body fat in the production of energy. It is naturally occurring and derives from hydrophilic amino acids. Diabetics who try carnitine generally respond well, and high levels of fat in the bloodstream (cholesterol and triglycerides) may fall fast. Carnitine helps to break down fatty acids in the body and binds acyl residues. For these reasons, it may be useful to pre Continue reading >>
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6 Of The Best Dietary Supplements For A Diabetic Diet—and 3 You Should Avoid
Should I take supplements? From cinnamon and magnesium to herbal formulas claiming to smack down high blood sugar, “diabetes-friendly” supplements are popping up in health food stores and drugstores and in the medicine cabinets of more and more people with diabetes. More than 50 percent of people with diabetes say they’ve used dietary supplements, according to one 2011 study—and at least one in four has given herbal remedies a try. The big question: Should you? “People with diabetes may be looking for something that seems less potent than a medication or something that will treat other health issues beyond blood sugar control, such as high cholesterol,” notes Laura Shane-McWhorter, PharmD, a University of Utah professor of pharmacotherapy and author of The American Diabetes Association Guide to Herbs & Nutritional Supplements: What You Need to Know from Aloe to Zinc. But experts are reluctant to recommend supplements to people with diabetes for two important health reasons. First, there’s virtually no research on long-term safety. Second, no supplement controls blood sugar as effectively as diabetes drugs (in combination with a healthy lifestyle). “There are no miracle treatments for diabetes,” Shane-McWhorter says. “The most important thing to know if you have diabetes is that no supplement will take care of it for you. Diabetes is a condition that can be well-controlled with a healthy lifestyle plus medication if needed. A supplement can’t replace those.” And new science is changing the supplement landscape. In consulting the latest research as well as supplement experts for this report on the best-studied and most widely used supplements, we found that some popular pills—chromium, we’re talking about you—aren’t living up to their reput Continue reading >>
Type 2 Diabetes: Supplements Overview
Key Points There is limited scientific evidence on the effectiveness of dietary supplements as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for type 2 diabetes. The evidence that is available is not sufficiently strong to prove that any of the six supplements discussed in this report have benefits for type 2 diabetes or its complications. A possible exception may be the use of omega-3 fatty acids to lower triglyceridea levels. It is very important not to replace conventional medical therapy for diabetes with an unproven CAM therapy. To ensure a safe and coordinated course of care, people should inform their health care providers about any CAM therapy that they are currently using or considering. The six dietary supplements reviewed in this report appear to be generally safe at low-to-moderate doses. However, each can interact with various prescription medications, affecting the action of the medications. People with type 2 diabetes need to know about these risks and discuss them with their health care provider. Prescribed medicines may need to be adjusted if a person is also using a CAM therapy. aTerms that are underlined are defined in the dictionary at the end of this report. 1. What is diabetes? Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body cannot properly convert food into energy. Most food that a person eats is eventually broken down into blood glucose (also called blood sugar), which cells need for energy and growth. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose enter cells. In people with diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin, or it does not respond to insulin properly. This causes glucose to build up in the blood instead of moving into the cells. The most common type of diabetes is type 2 diabetes (formerly called adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin-depen Continue reading >>