The Best and Worst Supplements for a Diabetic Diet

11 min read

Tuesday October 5th, 2021

Insulin resistance is a cause of Type-2 diabetes. It is the condition where the body doesn’t respond well to regulate glucose levels in the blood. The dis-balance can be regulated with different treatments and by taking medication. 

Well, people with diabetes are mostly looking for something that treats health issues beyond blood sugar. It can be high blood pressure or controlling high cholesterol. Several options, including vitamins for diabetes, are available in the market that claims to be effective for diabetes. But do all these supplements really help to control diabetes? 

Keep in mind that Diabetes is a condition that can be well-controlled with a healthy lifestyle and medication. There is not any miracle treatment or supplements for diabetes. Take a few minutes to read this blog until the end to learn what dietary supplements for diabetes are, and the best and worst ones for diabetics.

What are dietary supplements?

Before you know about the best and worst diabetes supplements, you must know what dietary supplements are. These are vitamins, herbs, and minerals, that help control blood sugar and help provide extra nutrition to people with certain health problems. Before you start taking diabetes supplements, you have to take a doctor’s prescription.

Best Supplements To Take in Diabetes

Here are a few of the best supplements to take in diabetes:

1. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is associated with controlling low diabetes. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, taking Vitamin D doesn’t prevent type-2 diabetes development in people at high risk. However, if the person has diabetes already, it might help to control blood sugar. It shows a little control over blood sugar in the initial stages, but still, it is highly recommended to take this vitamin. 

According to Tufts Medical report, taking around 500 IU of Vitamin D every day can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by around 13%. However, the results are not proved yet. But, still, there are good reasons to get Vitamin D as it helps brittle bones. 

Take this supplement: The Institute of Medicine recommended an intake of 600-800 IU. It is because most people cannot get enough Vitamin D from food. So, starting a Vitamin D could be a smart choice. Get your tests done to check your Vitamin D level. Your doctor may prescribe a high dose,  take and get it rechecked in a few months again. 

2. Magnesium 

According to a study, one out of 4 people with type-2 diabetes may have a magnesium deficiency. Diuretic drugs and high blood sugar can make your body excrete more. While at the same time, low levels can affect your insulin usage ability. So, it depicts that you can take the right amount of magnesium as the excess intake can be harmful to your health. 

Magnesium is a pretty helpful mineral that plays a vital role in handling insulin sensitivity. A magnesium deficiency can lead to less functional insulin and more contribution towards diabetes. You can take supplements, leafy vegetables, fruits, etc., to obtain natural magnesium. 

Take this supplement: Before starting this supplement, make sure to check the magnesium levels. Don’t start on your own. Instead, visit your doctor and ask for advice. Also, keep in mind that your magnesium level is already high if you face kidney issues. So, avoid it in that case as it may result in low blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. 

If you have a magnesium deficiency, you can use 100 mg of magnesium along with multivitamins to fulfill your magnesium need. Moreover, the recommended dose for women is 310 to 320 mg and 400 to 420 mg for men. 

3. Omega 3S

Omegas are healthy fats that are best for our health and to treat several medical conditions. You can increase the intake of Omega 3S if you have diabetes. For that, you can take fish oil capsules and eat fish (salmon, trout, sardines, and herring). Omega 3S is beneficial for diabetic patients who are also at high risk for cardiovascular disease. 

Omega-3S may also help to reduce inflammation, prevent artery-clogging, and eliminate off-rhythm heartbeats. According to Lipids health disease study, fish oil supplements can reduce metabolic disorders and improve insulin sensitivity.

Take this Supplement: Diabetic patients should take this supplement in the form of fish. The American Heart Association recommends two or more fish meals in a week. If you don’t like seafood, you can take 2200 mg of EPA and DHA supplements a week. For heart patients, it would be best to take 1000 mg of EPA and DHA. Moreover, consult with your doctor first before you start taking Omega 3S supplements. 

4. Psyllium

Psyllium is well known for improving and lowering cholesterol levels as it contains fiber that slows down the blood sugar rise after taking a meal. This characteristic makes it the best supplement for diabetic patients. 

According to Shane McWhorter, if you are not getting fiber from your food, you must start taking this supplement to control your health conditions like blood sugar and cholesterol. 

Take this supplement: You should aim for just 10 grams of soluble fiber in a single day, that is, three teaspoons of psyllium in powdered form. After two months, people with type-2 diabetes have low blood sugar levels after their meals. 

Mix one teaspoon in 8 oz of water to take psyllium and sip 30 minutes before every meal. If you face issues like digestive system discomfort or gas, start with the low doses and increase gradually to get the best results. Moreover, discuss with your doctor if you can take this supplement or not. 

5. Alpha-Lipoic Acid

This supplement is best for people who are coping with pain in the feet, toes, and fingers because of neuropathy damage caused by diabetes. It is the best antioxidant that might help with reducing pain by easing the nerves and make them less sensitive to pain. 

Another study published in the Canadian journal of physiology and pharmacology shows that this acid helps prevent and treat diabetes. Besides that, it might also be possible that ALA neutralizes elevated cell damage levels that result in high sugar levels. 

ALA is also well-known for protecting cell damage that is caused by free radicals. You can increase the intake of spinach, broccoli, liver, and potatoes to get the natural ALA. 

Take this supplement: Type-2 diabetic patients can take these supplements as it helps their bodies to use insulin more effectively. Also, it is recommended for people suffering from stabbing and burning pain as ALA may help control nerve damage with more advanced problems. 

You can take a 600 mg ALA dose daily. Also, use tomatoes, peas, rice bran, broccoli, and spinach to intake Alpha-lipoic acid naturally. Again, don’t forget to consult with your doctor before starting using it.  

Worst Supplements To Avoid in Diabetes

Here are a few of the worst supplements to avoid in diabetes: 

1. Chromium

Chromium is an essential trace mineral that is helpful to reduce blood sugar levels. It naturally occurs in several foods like fish, meat, vegetables, whole-wheat, and rye bread. You may find it by the name of picolinate, chromium chloride, and chromium nicotinate. Chromium is safe if given in low doses, but it might cause side effects like kidney issues, and more if taken regularly. 

Skip this Supplement: Chromium seems beneficial for diabetic patients, but we are adding it to the worst list because you can get it naturally. There is no need to spend your money on this supplement. The doctor doesn’t suggest it as well unless the patient has a severe deficiency. 

So, consult your doctor and only go for chromium supplements if you have a severe deficiency. Otherwise, you may end up facing kidney and liver issues along with mood disturbance. Moreover, it is also quite a controversial supplement to treat type-2 diabetes. 

2. Bitter melon

It is one of the most bitter fruits sold in capsules form and claims to maintain a healthy sugar level. According to a study published in 2017, bitter melon can only be helpful against type-1 diabetes. Although, the evidence is just limited to real blood sugar benefits in diabetic people, according to the National Institute of natural health.

Despite its name, bitter melon is a vegetable, and its supplements are also a bit controversial to treat diabetes. 

Skip this supplement: You can eat bitter melon as a fruit/vegetable. However, taking it as a diabetes supplement is not a good idea. It is because it hasn’t delivered the expected results and has potential damages. It may cause gas and allergic reactions after taking it. 

3. FenuGreek

According to the studies published in the Journal Ayu, fenugreek may help to reduce blood glucose levels in type-2 diabetic patients. It is an ancient herb that has certain health benefits if used properly. 

Skip this supplement: This supplement might come up with small benefits to control high blood sugar. But, the side effects are huge, like diarrhea, blood thinning, gas, etc.  Most of the benefits of FenuGreek come from natural food, so you don’t have to invest in its supplements. 

Use nuts, beans, whole grains, and psyllium. Moreover, you can use its seeds in your diet instead of supplements if you want to take it anyway. Again, please consult with your doctor before trying it. 

FAQs

1. Is it healthy to take supplements for diabetes?

Well, it is healthy to use supplements in diabetes but to some extent. There are no harmful effects of using multivitamin and mineral supplements. Diabetic patients are observed to use more supplements than non-diabetic ones as per the research of the American Diabetes Association. 

However, there is a thing that you should keep in mind while using diabetes supplements. That is, never use supplements as an alternative to medication. Replacing your diabetes treatment with supplements can put you at more health risk than benefits. 

2. Are diabetes pills hazardous for people with diabetes?

Many people take diabetes pills daily to keep their blood glucose levels normal. Despite having benefits, there are some hazardous effects of taking diabetes pills on your health. For instance, taking a dose of metformin also causes temporary and mild effects on your health. 

While your health is on the verge of long-term problems like nausea and weight gain by using incretins and insulin daily. In few cases, such pills drop blood sugar levels too low to make you faint. Even a few complex situations lead to coma, showing that large doses of diabetics pills are harmful. 

3. What will happen if a diabetic does not take diabetes medication?

There are many severe effects of avoiding diabetes medication for a long time. Skipping medication leads to lifetime negative health impacts like internal function damages. One of the major effects on diabetics is kidney damage and blindness. Having these complex disorders will also affect your nervous system due to the constant need for dialysis. 

Moreover, improper diabetic medication increases the chances of cardiovascular diseases as well. If you are bored of using diabetes pills, think about the case when your blood glucose level is drastically low. It depicts that you should never skip your diabetes medicines. 

4. Can a diabetic improve its immunity with immune boosters?

Yes, diabetics can improve their immunity by using immunity booster supplements and dietary fibers. Especially, the need for strong immunity has increased in the prevailing condition of covid-19. To keep yourself potential enough to fight this disease, you should use immunity boosters like garlic and green tea. 

Along with these immunity booster foods, increase the intake of natural antioxidants, i.e., vitamin C. These immunity boosters make you strong enough to fight diseases and maintain sugar levels in the blood. Eating a vitamin C-rich diet like kale, spinach, orange, lemon, and grapefruits increases your immunity.

Final thoughts

That’s it for now. We hope that our post on the best and worst supplements will be useful to you. We suggest that you don’t start taking supplements by yourself. Consult with your physician, address your questions, and then go for it. Besides that, start a healthy diet that includes minerals (magnesium) and vitamins (B-12, D, E, etc.) to control your diabetes.

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