Is It Safe To Take Supplements If You Have Diabetes?
You will find supplements for anything and everything these days. Even when you do not suffer from an ailment, supplements are suggested to keep you healthy and ailment-free. According to CDC, use of supplements is common among US adult population – over 50% adults used supplements during 2003-2006, with multivitamins/multiminerals being the most commonly used. So when you are a diabetic, especially if you have prediabetes and type-2 diabetes, you may find yourself confronting a large number of options for supplements that claim to support, reduce and even cure your diabetes. Diabetes is quite a frustrating disorder and you may find yourself tempted to try out these supplements one after another. But is it really safe to take supplements when you are a diabetic? Let us find out. But before that you need to understand what exactly supplements are. Defining Supplements As the name suggests, a supplement is anything that adds on to something. A dietary supplement is therefore something that one takes in addition to one’s diet to get proper nutrition. US Congress in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act defines dietary supplements as having the following characteristics: It is a product that is intended to supplement the diet; It contains one or more dietary ingredients (including vitamins, minerals, herbs and other botanicals, amino acids, and other substances) or their constituents; It is intended to be taken by mouth as a pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid; It is not represented for use as a conventional food or as sole item of a mean or a diet; and, It is labeled on the front panel as being a dietary supplement. Now let us look at some general benefits and risks of taking supplements. We will discuss these in context of diabetes later in the article. Benefit Continue reading >>
Seven Herbs And Supplements For Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is a widespread disorder affecting the blood sugar and insulin levels in the body. Managing the long-term consequences and complications of diabetes are as much of a challenge as the disease itself. There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is where the pancreas produces no insulin. Type 2 diabetes is more common. With type 2, the body either does not produce enough insulin or produces insulin that the body does not use properly. There are many treatment options for people with type 2 diabetes. Growing research suggests that some herbs and supplements may help with the condition. Useful herbs may be great to combine with more traditional methods to find relief from many type 2 diabetes symptoms. Seven herbs and supplements Here are seven herbs and supplements that may be of benefit to people with type 2 diabetes. Aloe vera Aloe vera is a common plant with many different uses. Most people are aware of the plant being used to coat the skin and protect it from damage caused by too much sun exposure. However, the plant has many lesser-known benefits as well. These range from helping digestive issues to possibly even relieving type 2 diabetes symptoms. One review analyzed many studies using aloe vera to treat symptoms of diabetes. Their results strongly suggested an antidiabetic potential for aloe. Subjects given aloe showed lower blood sugar levels and higher insulin levels. Further tests showed that aloe helps to increase how much insulin is produced by the pancreas. This could mean that aloe helps to restore bodies with type 2 diabetes or protect them from further damage. The researchers called for more studies to be done on aloe and its extracts to be certain of these effects. There are many ways to take aloe. Juiced pulp is sold in many markets and Continue reading >>
What Are The Best Supplements For A Diabetic?
My husband has adult-onset diabetes. He is 43, but was diagnosed about five years ago. His mother is diabetic as well. Both are very small-framed people who are not overweight nor very muscular. There is no doubt the disease is genetic for them. My husband takes Glucovance to help control his blood sugar. He also strives to stay physically active despite a sedentary desk job. What advice can you offer for type 2 diabetics who struggle to maintain their weight? Are there supplements that he would benefit from? He does his best to emphasize protein and fruits/veggies in his diet, but carbs are still a weakness. Seems like all advice is geared toward obese diabetics or insulin-dependent type 1. Hi Michelle. This is an excellent question, as maintaining weight is very important to controlling blood sugar and decreasing risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in diabetics. Staying physically active is critical, particularly with a sedentary desk job, and it is essential to incorporate aerobic exercise and resistance training. A study released last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that the combination of both types of exercise was the best way to lower hemoglobin A1c levels, a marker of long-term blood sugar control. In addition, combining aerobics and strength training helped reduce fat mass and waist circumference, a measure of harmful belly fat, which can increase risk of heart disease. Since you mention that your husband is not very muscular, adding in strength training is especially important for controlling blood sugar and maintaining weight, as muscle burns more calories than fat and helps improve blood sugar control and decrease insulin resistance. There are no supplements that would help significantly with weight control, but I 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 >>
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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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 >>
Diabetes And Dietary Supplements: In Depth
What’s the Bottom Line? How much do we know about dietary supplements for diabetes? Many studies have investigated dietary supplements, including vitamins, for preventing or treating type 2 diabetes (the focus of this fact sheet). What do we know about the effectiveness of dietary supplements for diabetes? Most of the supplements studied aren’t effective and some may worsen symptoms of diabetes. For example, using omega-3 supplements, such as fish oil, or cinnamon doesn’t appear to help with diabetes. A number of small studies have looked at whether magnesium or chromium supplements help with diabetes, but the results aren’t definitive. What do we know about the safety of dietary supplements for diabetes? Some dietary supplements have side effects, including interacting with diabetes treatments or increasing the risk of kidney problems. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to buy illegally marketed, potentially dangerous products claiming to prevent, treat, or cure diabetes. It’s very important not to replace proven conventional medical treatment for diabetes with an unproven health product or practice. About Diabetes Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. It can lead to serious health problems if it’s not managed well. Between 12 and 14 percent of U.S. adults have diabetes, but more than 25 percent of people with it are undiagnosed. Taking insulin or other diabetes medicine is often key to treating diabetes, along with making healthy food choices and being physically active. Your health care providers can show you how to control your diabetes and track your success. More About Diabetes Kidney disease has been linked to using some dietary supplements. This is of particu 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 >>
Herbs And Supplements For Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes, but is becoming more common in children. This form of diabetes is caused when your body either resists insulin or doesn’t produce enough. It causes your blood glucose levels to be unbalanced. There is no cure. However, many people are able to manage their blood glucose levels with diet and exercise. If not, a doctor can prescribe medications that can manage blood sugar levels. Some of these medications are: insulin therapy metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, others) sulfonylureas meglitinides A healthy diet, physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight are the first, and sometimes, most important part of diabetes treatment. However, when those are not enough to maintain your blood sugar levels, your doctor can decide which medications will work best for you. Along with these treatments, people with diabetes have tried numerous herbs and supplements to improve their diabetes. These alternative treatments are supposed to help control blood sugar levels, reduce resistance to insulin, and prevent diabetes-related complications. Some supplements have shown promise in animal studies. However, there is currently only limited evidence that they have the above mentioned benefits in humans. It is always best to let the foods you eat provide your vitamins and minerals. However, more and more people are turning to alternative medicines and supplements. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics are more likely to use supplements than those without the disease. Supplements should not be used to replace standard diabetes treatment. Doing so can put your health at risk. It is important to talk to your doctor before using any supplements. Some of these products can interfere with other Continue reading >>
Which Supplements Can Help Lower Or Control My Blood Sugar?
Question: Answer: Many different supplements may help lower or control blood sugar in people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes who experience hyperglycemia (when blood glucose rises higher than normal). These supplements are discussed below. More details about each, including dosage, drug interactions, potential side effects, and ConsumerLab.com's reviews of products on the market, can be found by clicking on the links. Due to the seriousness of hyperglycemia, it is important to consult with your physician regarding use of these supplements. Cinnamon supplements may modestly improve blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes whose blood sugar is not well controlled with medication. In addition, one small study found that a branded cinnamon extract reduced fasting blood sugar by an average of about 10 mg/dL in prediabetic men and women with metabolic syndrome. Keep in mind, however, that only certain varieties of cinnamon have been shown to have this effect, and long-term safety studies have not been conducted. Curcumin (from turmeric) may improve blood sugar levels, according to preliminary studies, and one study found curcumin to dramatically lower the chances of prediabetes in middle-aged, slightly overweight men and women with somewhat higher than normal blood sugar levels. Alpha lipoic acid may improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes, although it may only slightly reduce levels of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c). Chromium picolinate may help some people with type 2 diabetes decrease fasting blood glucose levels as well as levels of insulin and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c). However, be aware that high doses may worsen insulin sensitivity in healthy people who are not obese or diabetic. Having adequate blood levels of vi Continue reading >>
Top 10 Supplements For Blood Sugar Control
We all know the sugar rush feeling after a particularly indulgent meal or beverage—a brief sensation of hyperactivity quickly followed by a sugar crash, that bone-weary exhaustion that makes you just want to crawl in bed. If this sounds familiar, you’ve had a glimpse into the roller coaster effect that sugar can have on our energy levels and how hard our body must work to keep it all in balance. You see, we quite literally run on sugar—every cell and organ in our body requires glucose. The food we eat gets broken down into glucose for ready absorption into our bloodstream and insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, helps our body take glucose out of the bloodstream and put it into our cells to be converted into energy or stored for later use. If we eat too much sugar or high-glycemic carbohydrates (think cakes, crackers, bread, and cookies), we experience a rapid influx of blood sugar. Our body must rush in to compensate with a spike of insulin to take care of the sudden overabundance of glucose, leaving us tired and irritable from the yo-yo effect. Keeping your blood sugar levels balanced is one of the most important steps you can take for overall health and vitality. Besides eating a wholesome diet rich in low-glycemic whole fruits, vegetables, protein, and complex carbohydrates, you can optimize your blood sugar levels by including supplements that promote glucose balance. Here are our picks for the top 10 supplements you can take to support healthy blood sugar levels. Alpha-Lipoic Acid This fat- and water-soluble antioxidant attacks free radicals in the body, protecting our organs and tissues. To balance blood sugar, alpha-lipoic acid helps convert glucose into energy in our body’s cells and can increase insulin sensitivity after just four weeks of supp Continue reading >>
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 >>
14 Amazing Herbs That Lower Blood Sugar
We live in a world where prescription medicine is getting more and more expensive as well as controversial. Alternative medicine is gaining momentum and with good reason! The same is true for treatments for diabetes type 2. You have therapies that can reverse diabetes through lifestyle and diet changes, natural supplements that can help stabilize blood sugar levels, and also herbs that lower blood sugar. Not only are these alternative therapies safer, but they are also easier on your pocket, on your body and mind. Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is necessary for the body’s overall health. Erratic blood sugar levels can affect the body’s ability to function normally and even lead to complications if left unchecked. Some herbs and spices found in nature do a tremendous job of naturally lowering blood sugar levels, making them a boon for diabetics and pre-diabetics. What’s more, being nature’s multi-taskers, herbs and spices also produce overall health benefits beyond just helping balance blood sugar. We want to clarify one thing right away – not everything on our list can be classified as ‘herbs’. However, they are all from natural sources. Herbs come from the leafy and green part of the plant. Spices are parts of the plant other than the leafy bit, such as the root, stem, bulb, bark or seeds. RELATED: Decoding The Dawn Phenomenon (High Morning Blood Sugar) With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best herbs that lower blood sugar, along with a few spices thrown in, to give you a more comprehensive list. Please note that while we normally do not use animal studies to support any dietary supplement, several herbs like garlic and ginger are considered ‘food’ and so, are used traditionally by cultures across the world in their daily diet Continue reading >>
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 >>
Best Supplements For People With Diabetes
Are you looking to add some supplements to your overall diabetes wellness plan or are you concerned about a deficiency? There are a few things you should know. First of all, it is wise to talk to your healthcare provider about what you’re planning on taking and how much. This is because some supplements are known to affect your kidneys or cause other side effects and some may interfere with a medication you take. So safety and “do no harm” is your first concern. There are some supplements that may be helpful for people with diabetes that you might like to consider and talk to your healthcare provider about. Also, if possible, try to choose your diet so that you get what you need from food. Best Supplements for People with Diabetes Psyllium Husk Fiber This is found as a powder or capsules. It provides a hefty dose of soluble fiber to help your bowels move along. Staying regular helps your overall sense of wellness and supports good colon health, too. Beware that psyllium husk fiber can interfere with some medications and can cause constipation in those who don’t drink enough water. You can get soluble fiber from foods by getting enough vegetables, lentils, and foods like coconut, avocado, berries, and whole grains. Vitamin B Complex Water soluble vitamins like B vitamins and vitamin C can become depleted in some people with diabetes. This might be the case in a person with chronic high blood sugar who is urinating more often–this means they are urinating out more of these water soluble vitamins and can stand to supplement with them. Improving diabetes management is ideal. B vitamins are found in different foods like nuts, yogurt, pork, dark leafy greens, chicken, seafood, legumes, beef, eggs, and avocado. Vitamin C The antioxidant vitamin C has been shown to lo Continue reading >>