Are there any supplements that may help regulate my blood sugar?

Scientific studies have examined the potential role that certain dietary supplements may play in regulating blood sugar. Among the supplements that have been studied are chromium, alpha lipoic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, polyphenols, garlic, magnesium and ginseng. Although research continues, so far there is no solid scientific evidence that dietary supplements offer substantial benefits for diabetes or managing blood sugar. Furthermore, experts stress that no one should substitute dietary supplements for proven medical therapies for diabetes. You should always discuss supplements or any alternative therapies with your doctor before trying them.
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In addition to a high-potency multivitamin and mineral supplement, there are two additional supplements in particular that may help regulate blood sugar. Of course, the following is not intended as medical advice. Always check with your physician before altering your supplement regimen, and be sure to monitor your blood sugar levels frequently.

Chromium
Chromium is essential for maintaining proper blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels begin to rise after you eat a meal, the pancreas secretes insulin in response. Chromium is a key nutrient in glucose tolerance factor, which helps insulin to transport glucose into cells.

There is also evidence that suggests chromium helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and may aid in weight loss.

Any of the following conditions may indicate a need for supplemental chromium:
  • Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
  • High cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Ongoing stress
  • Physical injury or trauma
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a key enzyme used by the body to generate energy in the mitochondria – the energy production factories inside each cell. ALA is also a powerful antioxidant that works to detoxify the body and protect cells against free radical damage. In addition, ALA is very unusual in that it is a "double-duty" antioxidant, working in both water- and fat- soluble areas of the body. Most anti-oxidants (such as water-soluble vitamin C and fat-soluble vitamin E) function in only one area or the other.

ALA my be especially helpful for people with diabetes since much of the damage from diabetes results from free radicals produced when sugar in the blood binds with protein molecules – a process called glycation. Since the body produces only small amounts of ALA and food is a poor source, supplements are often recommended.

Any of the following conditions may indicate a need for supplemental ALA:
  • Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • High cholesterol and/or high triglyceride levels
  • Cardiac disease
  • Helps wound healing

Continue Learning about Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.