According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 30 million Americans struggle with type 2 diabetes. When it’s left untreated, the illness can result in nerve damage, heart disease, poor blood circulation, impaired immunity and loss of hearing and eyesight. In severe cases, restricted circulation and immune impairment may even necessitate amputation of toes, feet and legs due to necrosis or infection.
It is of utmost importance that people with diabetes take steps to control their condition. Although daily exercise and avoiding unhealthy foods are key parts of this, nutrition also plays a critical role. For this reason, there are several essential nutritional supplements that may benefit people with the condition.
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Chromium is a naturally occurring mineral found in trace amounts in many foods. In studies, this nutrient was found to dramatically improve glucose tolerance. In one such study, a patient exhibiting severe diabetes was given a chromium supplement, and within two weeks, the symptoms were markedly improved and the patient’s insulin requirements were reduced considerably.
Magnesium, an electrolyte mineral, plays numerous roles throughout the body. However, it’s estimated that roughly 74 percent of the population is deficient. More alarming, research shows that low magnesium is strongly associated with insulin resistance and poor glucose regulation. That said, supplementing with the mineral can help. In at least one study, it was discovered that people with a high intake of magnesium were 71 percent less likely to struggle with glucose metabolism issues.
Vitamins in the B complex are essential for everyone, but they may be of particular interest to people with diabetes. B vitamins, especially B12 (cobalamin) and B6 (pyridoxal phosphate), are vitally important for the health of the nervous system, which is compromised in diabetics. Vitamin B7 (biotin) is another B vitamin with potential for helping diabetics lead healthier lives. This nutrient is required for cellular development as well as proper metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and fat. In addition, biotin reduces fasting glucose level.
In a study performed at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, it was discovered that low levels of vitamin D were linked to poor diabetes control. Diabetics with serious vitamin D deficiency had much higher than average A1c levels compared to those with vitamin D within the normal range. Vitamin D is important for proper calcium metabolism, which is an important factor in glucose control.
Diabetes, especially if it’s poorly controlled, carries a significant risk of cardiovascular disease, largely due to oxidative stress. Indeed, research suggests that a staggering 40 percent of people with diabetes possess a genetic variant that makes them more susceptible to oxidative damage, which may triple their heart disease risk. However, a study performed in Israel found that diabetics possessing this genetic variant cut their risk of heart attack, stroke and coronary death in half by taking 400IU of vitamin E – a potent antioxidant – daily.
Diabetes is a common problem that is increasing at an alarming rate. However, due to research regarding the role of nutrients in diabetes control, patients now have more hope than ever. By including one or more of these supplements in your diet, you may reduce your risk of numerous serious diabetes-related complications.