What type of multivitamin should I take if I have diabetes?

Janis Jibrin, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Despite what you may see on store shelves, there is no official "diabetes multivitamin." At this point, the assumption is that what's good for the general population is also good for you. Some brands provide higher-than-recommended levels of other nutrients, which is usually fine as long as the nutrient is safe at higher levels.

Before buying a multivitamin, check the supplement facts panel for the serving size. You should have to take only one pill to get the nutrients listed below; put back those requiring two or more tablets. They're often loaded with unnecessary and unproven ingredients. Unlike drugs, supplements are not well regulated, so there's no guarantee that you're getting a safe and effective product. Generally, the big companies are a good bet. One measure of comfort is if the multivitamin is marked "USP Verified" or has the "USP" symbol. This means an independent organization called the U.S. Pharmacopeia has inspected the plant where the supplements are made and tested the products for purity, potency, and the ability to break down in the digestive tract (otherwise they won't be absorbed into your body). However, some companies with good products opt out of the USP testing.
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A multivitamin can help you get nutrients that you may not get enough of in your diet. People with diabetes often have lower levels of vitamin C in their bodies than people without diabetes. Folic acid, vitamin D and vitamin E may also help people with diabetes.

A good rule of thumb is to take a multivitamin that contains no more than 100% or 150% of the daily value for each nutrient. Taking megadoses may not be beneficial and could cause harm. Chromium is a trace nutrient that may help control blood sugar levels, but it is often taken as a separate supplement.

Your best bet is to discuss your nutrient needs with members of your healthcare team, such as your nutritionist or diabetes educator. They can help you determine what dietary supplements you may need based on your overall diet.

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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.