In this article:
- How supplements can influence blood glucose
- 3 dietary supplements for diabetics and how they help
- Diabetics - don't bother with these 5 supplements
Scientists are beginning to examine how daily supplementation of vitamins, minerals, and other substances may benefit those with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. High doses of certain diabetes medications can be tedious and come with their own set of side effects. That's why many people are exploring the possibility of taking nutritional supplements that are complementary to their medications, in the hope they will have a more holistic diabetes treatment or prevention plan.
It's important to set expectations in the beginning. Alternative medicines can be very impactful when it comes to preventing type 1 diabetes, if they are paired with healthy lifestyle changes. Regular exercise, social interaction, and hydration are key pillars to manage many of the symptoms of diabetes. With that said, many health care providers are reluctant to recommend supplements because they cannot provide the same level of diabetes control as prescription medications such as metformin, sulfonylureas, or meglitinides. While supplements should not be your main source of diabetes care, they may help to lower blood sugar when used in tandem with prescription medications and may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, one of the biggest life-threatening diabetes complications.
While the American Diabetes Association does not endorse supplements as a sole method of glucose control, they do provide guidelines to better manage your symptoms. In addition to prescription medicines (as directed by your doctor), making healthy lifestyle choices such as physical activity, hydration, and smart food choices are the 3 most powerful tools in your diabetes management tool kit. These supplements should be seen as accessories!
There have been many debates, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses made to determine the efficacy of the following supplements. However, with enough time and evaluation, the following five supplements ended up conflicting with their previously conceived health benefits.
As always, your doctor will be able to best determine your holistic diabetes management plan. Whether the goal is prevention and weight loss or if you're hoping to become less dependent on diabetes medications, consult your doctor and see what's best for your unique needs.