Best Diabetes Supplements
Diabetes is a serious condition that affects millions of people worldwide. If you have diabetes, it's important to carefully monitor your blood sugar levels and take steps to keep them under control. One way to do this is by taking a diabetes supplement. But with so many supplements on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? Here are a few things to look for when choosing a diabetes supplement:
First, you need to make sure the supplement contains ingredients that have been shown to be effective in controlling blood sugar levels. This topic will be discussed further in this article. Next, it is important to make sure the supplement is FDA-approved. This ensures that it's been through rigorous testing and is safe for human consumption. It is preferable to choose a supplement that contains natural ingredients. This makes it more likely that your body will be able to use the nutrients.
It might not be the first thing you think of, but choose a supplement that is easy for you to take. You don't want something that you'll struggle to swallow or that you don’t like the taste of. You need a supplement that you will be able to stick with for the long term.
Affordability is the next consideration when choosing a supplement. Diabetes can be a costly condition to manage, so you'll want to find a supplement that won't break the bank. On this point, it is important to select a supplement that has a good reputation. Reading reviews from other customers can give you a sense of whether or not a particular product is likely to be effective. Remember that it's not just about getting the cheapest price. Value for money and efficiency is more important.
Finally, talk to your doctor about any supplements you're considering taking. They can help you determine if a particular supplement is right for you and whether it could interact with any medications you're currently taking. Taking a diabetes supplement can be a helpful way to control your blood sugar levels. Just be sure to do your research and choose a product that is right for you.
When you are first told that you have diabetes or prediabetes, you are likely to be told to eat well and exercise regularly. This is because type 2 diabetes is caused, in part, by a poor diet and a lack of exercise (1). With regard to supplements, it is a good idea to start with vitamins and minerals that play a part in the control of blood sugar. So what are these nutrients? Let’s dive in.
Chromium is an essential trace mineral that is found in red meat, egg yolks, poultry, whole grains, brewer’s yeast, green beans, and broccoli (7). Even though it is only needed in small amounts, it is very important for controlling blood sugar and how sugar is used in the body. When chromium levels are low, it can lead to high blood pressure, not enough 'good' cholesterol (8), and the body having a hard time processing sugar, which can lead to type 2 diabetes (9). Taking a chromium supplement has been shown to help control blood sugar, increase the insulin sensitivity of cells, and even play a part in the prevention of the development of pre-diabetes into diabetes (10).
Chromium is available as either a stand-alone supplement or as a multi-nutrient supplement. A very effective way of taking a chromium supplement is in combination with other trace element nutrients such as molybdenum, selenium, and manganese to boost all-around health (11). As chromium can come in different forms, you should do your research and make sure the supplement has chromium 3 and not chromium 4. The former supports human health, but the latter is toxic (12). It is also safe in the form of chromium picolinate (13).
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is found in a variety of foods, including pork, whole grains, sunflower seeds, and legumes, such as lentils (14). It's also available in supplement form, such as benfotiamine (15). Vitamin B1 is a very important part of many important body processes, like breaking down carbs and controlling how much glucose is in the blood (16). This means that getting enough vitamin B1 could help keep blood sugar levels in check and improve sugar metabolism in people with diabetes. A complication of chronic diabetes is nerve damage (17). Vitamin B1 is essential for the health of the nervous system. It helps protect nerve cells from damage and promotes proper nerve function, which is another reason to take this vital vitamin supplement.
Vitamin B1 deficiency can lead to a condition known as beriberi, which can cause fatigue and muscle weakness. As with diabetes, it can cause peripheral neuropathy, which makes the feet and hands less sensitive and less able to react reflexively. In extreme cases, it can be deadly (14). While most people get enough vitamin B1 from their diet, people with diabetes may be at risk for deficiency due to the increased demands placed on the body by the condition (18). Therefore, supplementation is recommended, on top of making sure you eat vitamin B1-rich foods, to make sure you are having adequate intake.
This vitamin is available in a multi-nutrient supplement or can be taken on its own. As mentioned above, it is often in a manmade, synthetic form in supplements, so it is best to try and source supplements that use natural foods to manufacture their supplements. This means the body can absorb and utilise them more effectively (19).
Probiotics are live, "good" bacteria that are beneficial for overall physical and mental health. The microbiome is a community of many varieties of bacteria living in the gut. Having a microbiome that is healthy and has a lot of different kinds of bacteria has also been linked to preventing diabetes (20). Probiotics do this because they reduce inflammation, improve blood sugar levels, and prevent the destruction of cells in the pancreas that release insulin (20). Probiotics are safe, and they can be found in many fermented food sources, such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi. You can buy these at health food stores or, better yet, make your own at home. Probiotics are also available in supplement form as capsules containing billions of bacteria.
Diabetes can deplete the "good" bacteria in the gut. So it is important to take a probiotic supplement, especially if you have been diagnosed with this disease. This is because not having enough ‘good’ bacteria in the gut can allow disease-causing bacteria to infiltrate the gut (21). If you have been told by your doctor that you have pre-diabetes, taking probiotics can help prevent the onset of full-blown diabetes (21).
You might be surprised to learn that your spice cabinet can be a powerful tool in managing blood sugar levels. Certain herbs and spices have been shown to help regulate insulin levels and improve glucose metabolism. So, what do you have in your kitchen cabinets that can help you manage your blood sugar levels?
Cinnamon has been shown to mimic the effects of insulin, helping cells absorb sugar from the bloodstream (22). Because of this effect, cinnamon has a number of benefits for blood sugar control. These include improving the insulin sensitivity of cells, which then increases the amount of glucose taken in. This is illustrated by lower blood sugar levels, especially after meals. Therefore, cinnamon can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Whether you are at risk for type 2 diabetes or are already managing the disease, including cinnamon in your diet may help to improve your blood sugar control (23).
You can use cinnamon by adding it to all sorts of meals. Some ideas include sprinkling it in coffee or adding it to curries or porridge. If you are not keen on the flavour, you can buy it in tablet form as a supplement.
Apple Cider Vinegar.
You may have heard about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, which include weight loss. It does this by increasing the hormone glucagon, which encourages fat burning; reducing the amount of fat made from excess glucose by the liver, and preventing weight gain by changing fat-storage genes. However, the studies that reached these conclusions were carried out on rodents, not humans (24). With that being said, apple cider vinegar can help to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce fasting blood sugar levels (25). The acetic acid in vinegar is thought to be responsible for these effects.
Vinegar can also help to lower blood sugar levels after meals by slowing the rate at which food empties from the stomach (26). You can add apple cider vinegar to your diet by drinking one tablespoon full in half a pint of water each day, adding it to salads, or using it to make fermented foods, which help support the gut microbiome, as mentioned earlier.
An additional benefit to this food is that it contains vitamin B1 which we also learnt is necessary to support your health if you have diabetes. Vinegar is acidic, and some people may not like the sharp flavour, so the good news is that it is also available as a supplement from your local health food store or online.
Another supplement worth considering if you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes is vitamin D, which can reduce insulin resistance and support the health of the cells in the pancreas that release insulin (27).
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) is another supplement that can reduce blood sugar and also lessen the damage that high blood sugar causes in the body (28). ALA is available as a supplement or is also found in red meat, beetroot and green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach (29). Remember that eating plenty of fibrous vegetables is recommended to lower blood sugar, slow down how fast food is digested, and deliver vitamins and minerals. All of which support your health when fighting the effects of diabetes.
Green tea is delicious, but did you know that it can also help to improve blood sugar levels and reduce insulin sensitivity? Polyphenols are a type of plant-based compound with antioxidant benefits. These compounds, specifically catechins, are found in green tea and are the reason why they can increase insulin sensitivity and decrease blood sugar levels (30). This means green tea can play a small part in the prevention of the development of type 2 diabetes. You can drink green tea, or green tea extract is available as a supplement.
We have explored several foods, vitamins, and supplements that can support your health if you have diabetes. However, remember that a healthy diet including whole foods and plenty of fruit and vegetables, along with regular exercise, should be the basis on which you seek to improve your health outcomes. Supplements have a place but should not replace a healthy diet. Finally, do check that any supplements you want to try do not interfere with any medication your doctor has prescribed to manage your diabetic symptoms.
Effect of diet on type 2 diabetes mellitus: A review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426415/
Higher Magnesium Intake Reduces Risk of Impaired Glucose and Insulin Metabolism and Progression From Prediabetes to Diabetes in Middle-Aged Americans https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3898748/
Magnesium deficiency and increased inflammation: current perspectives https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5783146/
The Role of Inflammation in Diabetes: Current Concepts and Future Perspectives https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6523054/
Chromium Supplementation; Negotiation with Diabetes Mellitus, Hyperlipidemia and Depression https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7270423/
Impaired Glucose Tolerance and Impaired Fasting Glucose https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2004/0415/p1961.html
Systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy and safety of chromium supplementation in diabetes https://tahomaclinic.com/Private/Articles4/Chromium/Suksomboon%202014%20-%20efficacy%20and%20safety%20of%20chromium%20supplementation%20in%20diabetes.pdf
Nutrisorb® Trace Minerals 15ml https://www.biocare.co.uk/nutrisorbr-liquid-trace-minerals-15ml
The Double Face of Metals: The Intriguing Case of Chromium file:///C:/Users/WorcGP/Downloads/applsci-11-00638-v2.pdf
Diabetes and Chromium https://www.diabetes.co.uk/Diabetes-and-Chromium.html
Thiamine – Vitamin B1 https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-b1/
What Is Benfotiamine? https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/benfotiamine-overview
Effects of thiamine and benfotiamine on intracellular glucose metabolism and relevance in the prevention of diabetic complications https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18581039/
Peripheral neuropathy (Nerve damage) https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/complications/nerves_neuropathy
Evidence for altered thiamine metabolism in diabetes: Is there a potential to oppose gluco- and lipotoxicity by rational supplementation? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4058733/
Multivitamin and multimineral dietary supplements: definitions, characterization, bioavailability, and drug interactions https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/85/1/269S/4649453
Effect of probiotics on glucose metabolism in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1010660X15001147
Role of Probiotics in Diabetes: A Review of Their Rationale and Efficacy https://www.emjreviews.com/diabetes/article/role-of-probiotics-in-diabetes-a-review-of-their-rationale-and-efficacy/
A Hydroxychalcone Derived from Cinnamon Functions as a Mimetic for Insulin in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2001.10719053?journalCode=uacn20
The Effect of Different Amounts of Cinnamon Consumption on Blood Glucose in Healthy Adult Individuals https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijfs/2019/4138534/
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help You Lose Weight? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/apple-cider-vinegar-weight-losseverything from weight loss to improved digestion
Effect of apple cider vinegar on delayed gastric emptying in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a pilot study https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1471-230X-7-46
Therapeutic effect of apple cider vinegar on diabetes mellitus https://www.rmj.org.pk/fulltext/27-1533650798.pdf?1659790902
Effects of vitamin D and calcium supplementation on pancreatic β cell function, insulin sensitivity, and glycemia in adults at high risk of diabetes: the Calcium and Vitamin D for Diabetes Mellitus (CaDDM) randomized controlled trial https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3142723/
Glycemic and oxidative status of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus following oral administration of alphalipoic acid: a randomized double-blinded placebocontrolled study https://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/APJCN/21/1/12.pdf
Alpha-Lipoic Acid - Uses, Side Effects, and More https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-767/alpha-lipoic-acid
Effects of green tea consumption on glycemic control: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7350188/