Can A Diabetes Patient Take Supplements
People with diabetes can take supplements, and in some circumstances, when recommended by your physician, should be taking supplements regularly. But, thatâs the most important part right there. People with diabetes should always consult their healthcare team before taking a supplement.
*This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services. This article and the links contained in it provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this article is not a substitute for medical care. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or registered dietitian.*
And, I do want to note that a supplement should not be used in place of a balanced and healthy diet. I would much rather you be getting your daily needs from food than from supplements. That being said, there are some occasions when a supplement may be needed.
Why Do Certain Drugs And Supplements Affect Blood Sugar
Its important to remember that these drugs and supplements are not targeting blood sugars, but are working to treat other ailments or deficiencies in the body, and blood sugars are sometimes the inevitable victim.
Blood sugar levels are extremely precarious, and taking a prescription drug that acts as a stimulant, for instance, can have significant effects on your blood sugar, but it doesnt necessarily mean that the drug is bad for you, per se.
As a person living with diabetes, you will inevitably need to take other prescription drugs throughout your life, and the goal is not to avoid other medications altogether because of their impact on blood sugars, but rather to manage the effects they may have.
Many of these drugs and supplements are either hormones that raise blood sugars naturally to prepare the body for fight or flight situations or work to inhibit liver functioning that produces higher blood sugars.
Certain stimulants, such as caffeine and Niacin, cause insulin resistance, which will raise ones blood sugars naturally.
Still more medications, such as common cold and cough suppressants, contain sugar that raises blood sugars when not carefully calibrated for.
On the other hand, aspirin has been shown to decrease diabetes-related inflammation, and thus actually decrease blood sugars.
Can Vitamins Make Your Blood Sugar Go Up
In addition to the niacin mentioned above, some vitamins and supplements do contain added sugar. This could be for a variety of reasons, but is most likely simply being used to improve taste and palatability. If the vitamin or supplement you are taking contains carbohydrates, make sure to consider that when dosing medication, and preferably take the supplement with a meal or snack that has fiber and protein.
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Supplements For Type 1 Diabetes
While there is not a set of supplements that people with type 1 diabetes should for sure take, there are certain nutrients that people with type 1 diabetes have a greater risk of being deficient in. These include Vitamin D, Iron, Vitamin B12, Zinc, other B vitamins and more. Yearly micronutrient blood draws at the direction of your doctor can scan for deficiencies in these and other nutrients.
Dosage Recommendations For Blood Sugar Regulation Supplements
Every supplement will have its own recommended dosages depending on which ingredients have been used to make that product. It is generally best practice to stick to the manufacturerâs recommended dosage on your supplement. Most brands suggest taking at least one or two pills daily to maintain healthy blood sugar.
Some ingredients work best when used at specific dosages. For example, most of the available research on chromium recommends a serving of at least 250mcg daily. Likewise, cinnamon extract is most effective at up to 5g daily, which is quite higher than what you will find in most supplements.
Amino acids like L-taurine should be typically consumed at about 2g daily. All these different doses are associated with significant improvements in both glucose metabolism and blood sugar.
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Diabetes Treatment: Can Cinnamon Lower Blood Sugar
Is it true that cinnamon can lower blood sugar in people who have diabetes? Answers from M. Regina Castro, M.D. Whether cinnamon can lower blood sugar is a topic of debate but some research suggests that cinnamon may be helpful as a supplement to regular diabetes treatment in people with type 2 diabetes. A 2012 review of several recent studies concluded that the use of cinnamon had a potentially beneficial effect on glycemic control. One study published in 2009 found that a 500 mg capsule of cinnamon taken twice a day for 90 days improved hemoglobin A1C levels a reflection of average blood sugar level for the past two to three months in people with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes . More research is needed to confirm these findings and determine how cinnamon supplementation could lead to these benefits. One theory is that cinnamon increases insulin action. If you have diabetes, remember that treatment is a lifelong commitment of blood sugar monitoring, healthy eating, regular exercise and, sometimes, diabetes medications or insulin therapy. Consult your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your diabetes treatment plan.Continue reading > >
What Are Dietary Supplements
Dietary supplements are vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional components such as herbs. You take them by mouth. Dietary supplements can sometimes provide extra nutrition to people with special health problems, including diabetes. But most people with diabetes will still have to take traditional prescription medicine to control their blood sugar levels.
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Do Effective Blood Sugar Supplements Really Exist
Some supplements may play a small role in helping your body use insulin more efficiently and/or helping balance blood sugars. But, no supplement is going to replace a medication. And, often many, if not most, of the supplements marketed as âblood sugar loweringâ are a waste of money.
Paying attention to the food you eat and your activity level is going to be a much more effective strategy at managing blood sugars than worrying about the best vitamins for diabetesâ¦
But, I do want to provide you with science-based information since I know many people are curious!
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How To Use American Ginseng
You can get ginseng as an extract or in capsule form. As with other supplements, herbal treatments like ginseng are highly unregulated and there is no standardized dosing to adhere to. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider about best ways to incorporate this herbal supplement into your diet or regimen.
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Natural Herbs And Vitamins That Lower Blood Sugar
You dont have to be a diabetic to benefit from having a lower blood sugar. When you have too much sugar in your blood, your body wont function as well as it could. The sugars interact with your nervous system and can cause pain. They can interact with your kidneys, increasing your risk of forming a disease. High sugar levels can even be a contributing factor to the development of urinary tract infections or thrush if left unchecked.
If you have been diagnosed with Type II diabetes, it can be a struggle to ensure your blood sugar levels stay in your targeted range. Your levels could be higher than they should be, but not high enough to take the medication you have to lower your blood sugar. That leaves you in an uncomfortable position, doesnt it?
Thankfully there are a number of natural herbs and vitamins that can help to lower your blood sugar by as many as 40 points. If you are a diabetic, youll want to discuss these options with your doctor so that you can be properly monitored. After all, having blood sugar that is too low can be problematic as well. When diagnosed as a diabetic, you show your blood sugar levels as a little outside of normal. However, you can lower your blood sugar in as little as 1 hour.
This is another supplement that contains berberine and cinnamon two ingredients that have been scientifically proven to help control blood sugar levels. It works by naturally improving your bodys insulin signals.
Supplements That Impact Blood Sugar
Supplements may cause unwelcomeor dangerousside effects, especially if they interact with your medications. While some ingredients could intensify the effects of your diabetes meds, causing hypoglycemia , others may have the opposite effect, leading to hyperglycemia .
Research on many supplements is inconclusive. Talk to your health care provider before you start taking chromium, vitamin E, St. Johns wort, or niacin.
Confused about what to take? Unless your health care provider recommends a specific vitamin or supplement, its probably not all that helpfulor economicalto add another pill to your regimen.
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How Can I Better Manage The Impact Of Drugs And Supplements On Blood Sugar
Work with your doctor to find a proper dose, if you have just been prescribed a drug that is known to cause issues with blood sugar. Make sure your doctor knows all medications youre currently taking.
Sometimes, as in the case of steroids, if your doctor knows you have diabetes, you can be prescribed a shorter duration of the medication, a lower dose, or a different medication altogether.
Every time you pick up a new prescription, read the information that comes along with it to learn of any negative possible side effects you may experience as a person with diabetes.
Better yet, speak with the pharmacist to find out if they know of any impacts the drug may have on diabetes and blood sugars.
A few more tips to better manage the impact of drugs and supplements on blood sugars include:
- Checking your blood sugar more often while youre taking the drug or supplement
- Sticking to your normal diabetes management routine, and taking all of your medications related to your diabetes
Top 10 Vitamins & Minerals For Lower Blood Sugar
You may take a vitamin supplement every day in an attempt to better your health, but do you know why those vitamins and minerals are so important? Some even help combat high blood sugar and can help improve not only overall health, but diabetes as well!
Chromium helps to regulate insulin production, thereby reducing and stabilizing blood sugar. Individuals with Type II diabetes naturally have lower levels of chromium in their bodies than those who do not have diabetes. You can increase the chromium in your body by eating more broccoli, garlic, and turkey.
Zinc is another important mineral for blood sugar control. It is critical for insulin management, and is an antioxidant. Zinc also helps improve A1C levels. Individuals with diabetes have reduced levels of zinc in their blood, so supplying the body with additional zinc is essential. Oysters are by far the best source of zinc, but beef contains a good amount, as well.
Selenium is an antioxidant that is well-known for gut and thyroid health, but studies have shown its also beneficial for blood sugar control. In one study, the control group was given insulin therapy only, while the other group was given insulin + selenium. The insulin + selenium treatment proved more effective at managing blood sugar than the insulin alone. Brazil nuts, salmon, mushrooms, and asparagus are all good sources of selenium.
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The Dangers Of High Glucose Levels
With high blood sugar, the cells in the body dont typically react to insulin. Therefore, the pancreas makes more insulin to attempt to get the cells to respond. Sometimes, the pancreas cannot sustain insulin production. The result could be hyperglycemia, a severe condition that can injure a persons nerves, blood vessels, and organs. Hyperglycemia leads to kidney disease, stroke, heart attack, and vision issues. This condition is also an indicator of diabetes.
Supplements That May Help Blood Glucose Levels
In our first installment of this series, we told you about plant-based supplements like aloe vera, bitter melon, ginseng, berberine, cinnamon, Nigella Sativa, and Gymnema Sylvestre.
In this article, weâre covering vitamins like vitamin D, minerals like magnesium, and other types of natural dietary supplements that may help with glucose control. Read on to find out more about how each one affects blood sugar levels and what other health benefits they may have.
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What Supplements Are Bad For Blood Sugar Balance Or Diabetes
Even if you think theyâre the best vitamins for diabetes, any supplement that could possibly interact with medications you currently take should be avoided. Speaking with your doctor is vitally important before starting a supplement. I know at this point, I sound like a broken record, but I see it way too often. People either forget or intentionally hide supplements from their doctor, and end up experiencing some dangerous side effects.
Additionally, excessive amounts of chromium, vitamin E, and/or St. Johnâs Wort may interact with certain medications that people with diabetes are more likely to be taking. Again, speak with your doctor.
Large amounts of niacin may also raise fasting blood sugar levels for people with diabetes.
Supplements For Diabetes: Whats Safe And What Works
Think back to the last time you were at a drugstore. It might have been pre-pandemic! Can you visualize standing in front of shelves and shelves of supplements all promising to make you healthier? Youre seeing just one tiny piece of the $40 billion dietary supplement industry in the US. While we have nearly 40 medications that have been proven to treat diabetes, supplements continue to spark interest. To some people, they seem more natural or healthy than medications. So how effective are these supplements and can they replace medications?
Supplements versus Medications
Supplements and medications have very different levels of oversight in the US. Supplements are regulated more like food than medications. Supplement makers dont have to test their supplements to ensure they work or to ensure they are safe. If a supplement is found to be unsafe, the Food & Drug Administration is responsible for removing it from the market, but thats only after it has caused harm.
Medications have much stricter regulations. They are first assessed in a laboratory and then they go through several phases of research trials in people. The trials are used to determine how the medication is processed in the body, whether it actually works, what dose provides the most benefit with the least side effects, and how the medication compares to others on the market.
Challenges with Supplements
Do Supplements Work for Diabetes?
The Bottom Line
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Top 3 Vitamins For Improving Blood Glucose
1. Vitamin D: For women concerned about insulin resistance, getting enough vitamin D is a must. Vitamin D concentrations are directly correlated with insulin sensitivity and pancreatic function. Unfortunately, drinking fortified milk or orange juice isnt going to do the job. Consider supplementing with 2-4000 IU daily , particularly if you live in the northern half of the U.S., are indoors most of the time, or always use sunscreen outdoors.
2. Vitamin K: Its well known that vitamin K is essential for blood clotting, and its role in bone health is increasingly recognized. But it also plays an important, if little-known, role in maintaining insulin sensitivity.While one of its key forms is available in leafy greens, the other is most often found in fermented foods, which arent commonly part of the usual American diet. It is the vitamin K2 form that supports insulin sensitivity and pancreatic beta-cell function. If youre not a fan of kimchee or sauerkraut, you may consider taking a supplement that provides mg amounts of vitamin K2.
Top Vitamin/minerals People Take For Diabetes
The following vitamins and supplements are often touted as the best vitamins for diabetesâ¦ but are they? Is there evidence to support they could actually improve health status or help manage diabetes?
So, youve spoken with your doctor and been advised to start one or more of the above supplements, now what? I recommend going through a reputable source like Fullscript. Nicole Fennell MS, RDN, LD, CLT, owner of Chews Food Wisely has provided her favorite forms and brands for some of the above listed supplements.
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What Makes A Blood Sugar Supplement Effective
Based on our research, were confident that blood sugar supplements are key to improving control over your glucose levels. The secret lies in using top-quality ingredients in clinically-researched amounts in the most effective combinations. For example, not only will an effective blood sugar supplement contain Berberine and Mulberry, but it will have 250mg of each, the exact quantities proven to be effective in clinical trials. It wont only have Chromium Picolinate, but it will also contain Vitamin B12 and Magnesium to help with replenishing deficiencies that are associated with blood sugar conditions. It will provide Cinnamon to help reduce fasting blood sugar levels, and additionally, there will be herbs like Banaba Leaf and Gymnema to help block sugar absorption, improve sensitivity to insulin, and increase antioxidant levels. Last but not least, it will contain a bioavailability enhancer, such as Piperine , to enhance nutrient absorption and deliver quicker results.
How Dietary Supplements Can Hinder Diabetes Control
If you arenât cautious, diabetes and dietary supplements can be a dangerous mix. Here’s why:
- Supplements arenât regulated the same way as food and drug products. Some supplements have been found to be contaminated with substances other than those stated on the label.
- Some supplements may interact with medication or other supplements, such as herbs, increasing or decreasing their effects. St. Johnâs wort, for example, is known to have many drug interactions and should be avoided with many other medications.
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