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 it’s 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.
Magnesium is quite the versatile mineral. It is required by the human body for everything from the production of protein and DNA, to breaking down fat for fuel. Most commonly used as a supplement to help alleviate constipation or anxiety, it is also beneficial for healthy blood sugar.
In patients with type 2 diabetes, one study found that magnesium supplements significantly reduced insulin resistance and improved blood sugar control. Look for magnesium in almonds, avocado, bananas, and spinach.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is an antioxidant that helps convert glucose into energy. Studies have shown that taking 200 mg of ALA daily can help reduce risk of kidney damage associated with diabetes. It also reduces symptoms of diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage due to prolonged high blood sugar.) After one month of treatment, ALA also increased insulin sensitivity and improved glucose levels. Broccoli, tomatoes, and carrots all contain ALA.
One study of Type II diabetics who consumed ginseng showed a significant improvement in hemoglobin A1C after 12 weeks. Other studies have shown a slight improvement in insulin sensitivity, lower fasting blood glucose, and reduced blood sugar after meals.
- B-Complex Vitamins
There are several types of Vitamin B and three of them in particular can benefit diabetics. Vitamin B1 can help improve how your cells use glucose. This can lead to better blood sugar levels. Vitamin B6 deficiency is closely related to glucose intolerance and reduced insulin production, so it’s important to increase your Vitamin B6 intake. High-dose injections of Vitamin B12 have been shown to relieve pain related to diabetic nerve damage. Seafood, leafy green vegetables, and eggs are good sources of B vitamins.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It is an immune booster and promotes wound healing. Vitamin C also lowers levels of sorbitol, (a form of sugar that can build up in the body and damage cells in your nerves, eyes, and kidneys.) One study also showed that Vitamin C is rapidly lost in the bodies of those with diabetes.
This means diabetics need more Vitamin C than the average person in order to reap the benefits. Everyone knows that oranges contain Vitamin C, but strawberries, kiwi, bell pepper, even chili peppers are all great sources of Vitamin C, too.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D stimulates your pancreas and encourages insulin production. Vitamin D also lowers blood pressure, which reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. Along with strengthening bones and inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Fish, eggs, and of course, milk all contain Vitamin D.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E improves glucose control and helps to protect blood vessels and nerves from free-radical damage. Some studies have also shown that high doses of vitamin E may even reverse diabetic nerve damage, along with reducing risk for diabetes related cataracts and arteriosclerosis. Vitamin E can be found in nuts, nut butters, and oils like olive and sunflower.
These vitamins and minerals can all benefit diabetics in many ways. Be sure to speak with your healthcare team before starting any new supplements, just to ensure there are no potential interactions with other medications or health conditions.