A dietary supplement is a manufactured product taken orally as a pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid intended to supplement your diet and are not considered as food. Dietary supplements are an effective way of ensuring that you are getting the daily recommended intake of necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals. There are many dietary supplements that have been reported to have effects on blood sugar. However, in many of these evidence is very poor. Supplements do not cure diabetes and are not used as treatment of diabetes, but combined with other treatments they can provide relieve of symptoms and reduce complications.
Below are the best supplement that can be used as an add-on treatment for better control of you blood sugar levels.
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Several studies have shown that cinnamon through a cascade of events may activate insulin receptors in your body. Insulin is a hormone required for maintaining blood glucose levels in your body. This in-turn improves the body’s insulin sensitivity hence lowering blood glucose levels. Because insulin plays a role lipid metabolism, cinnamon may also lower your cholesterol levels. This will reduce complications associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Cinnamon has been shown to slow down gastric emptying after a meal, preventing blood sugar spikes and hence significantly reducing hyperglycemia after meals. Studies have shown daily intake of 1-6 grams to be a healthy dose for people living with diabetes. In addition to the above benefits, cinnamon has many other benefits to the body. It has been proven to relieve indigestion, has anti-inflammatory properties and may protect against certain types of cancers.
There are two main types of cinnamon, namely Cassia (regular cinnamon) and Ceylon (true cinnamon). True cinnamon is much healthier than regular cinnamon. As with any supplements, it is very important to talk to your doctor before trying it. Some people with certain diseases (e.g. liver disease) or on certain medication may need to avoid cinnamon. Cinnamon is generally safe to use in small amounts as a spice.
Magnesium plays a very important role in reducing cardiovascular risks and in improving insulin sensitivity. It may also delay onset of type 2 diabetes and reduce diabetic complications such as retinopathy and nephropathy. Low dietary intake of magnesium is correlated with insulin resistance in people without diabetes. Studies have shown that magnesium levels are lower in diabetic patients than in the general population. This could have a direct link with poor blood sugar control and risk of complications.
Supplementation of Magnesium results in improvement of insulin sensitivity and control of type-2 diabetes in diabetic patients with decreased magnesium levels in the blood. The recommended daily allowance is 400mg for men and 320mg for women. Certain foods are also a good source of magnesium and are diabetic friendly. These include dark leafy vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that occurs naturally in our bodies and is also found in many foods like spinach, yeast, potatoes, carrots, though in small amounts. It is also found in red meat. Alpha-lipoic acid breaks down carbohydrates in the body to make energy for organs of the body. It also acts as an antioxidant.
Several studies have found that alpha-lipoic acid improve the body’s insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It helps with diabetic related neuropathy (nerve damage associated with diabetes) thus reducing symptoms like pins and needles, and tingling sensation in the feet. It may protect the retina from damages associated with diabetes. Obese patient with impaired glucose tolerance have revealed improved insulin sensitivity and lipid profile when put on alpha-lipoic acid supplementation.
Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids may not have direct effect on blood glucose levels but these are of profound importance to diabetic and pre-diabetic patients. People with diabetes are known to be having increased risk of cardiovascular diseases like stroke and heart attack. This risk is directly linked to the high levels of the bad cholesterol and triglycerides often associated with diabetes. Diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of heart attacks, stroke and certain type of cancers. Most fish oils contain omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids can also be taken in the form of supplementation.
Vitamin E supplementation has been shown to decrease the chances of developing type-2 diabetes and to improve glucose tolerance in type-2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity. It prevents development of late diabetic complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy and cardiovascular complications. Vitamin E has many other positive effects on the body unrelated to diabetes. A few of those include protecting your eyesight, regulating your blood pressure and helps fight off infection.
Studies have shown that Vitamin D play and important role in improving your body’s sensitivity to insulin. This is of importance to type-2 diabetes as the main causative factor in this type of diabetes is insulin resistance. Some studies have shown that type 2 diabetic patients tend to have lower levels of Vitamin D than the people without the disease. Low levels of vitamin D in the blood have again been associated with increased risk of developing diabetes in people who do not already have the disease.
Some studies have also shown that normal levels of vitamin D in the blood is associated with weight loss and decreased risk of obesity in the long run. This is because it regulates certain hormones in the body associated with weight gain. Vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in people with low levels of vitamin D in the blood. A daily dose of 2000 IU is recommended.
Fiber in your diet helps slow the absorption of sugar, preventing spikes in blood sugar thus improving the blood sugar levels. It does reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Fiber prevents absorption of fat hence lowering blood triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Lowering the blood cholesterol levels reduces your risks of having disease like stroke and heart attack. It is also quiet beneficial in weight loss and maintaining healthy weight.
Do not use supplements to replace your standard diabetes management. They are not considered a complete treatment for diabetes. They are an add-on-to treatment for improved overall heath. Always talk to your doctor before using any form of supplements. Some may interact with other medications that you may be on, some many complicate certain diseases and some can damage certain organs in the body if right doses are not taken.