An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure!

Archive for the ‘Diabetes’ Category

Nutritiona​l Supplement​s Recommende​d For Type 2 Diabetes

Pills vitamin supplements

Pills vitamin supplements (Photo credit: hitthatswitch)

In addition to proper dietary intake, medication prescribed by your doctor, adequate physical activity, certain dietary supplements are beneficial and can help control symptoms of type 2 diabetes.


Some people with diabetes regularly take dietary supplements in efforts to improve their blood glucose control, manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of developing serious complications such as heart ailments.

According to the latest research and the nutritional ingredients that have been tested in clinical trials, nutritional healthcare experts are recommending to consider the following supplements for helping manage glucose control…

1)  Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) also known as lipoic acid or thioctic acid, is an antioxidant. It’s a natural nutrititional substance that protects against cell damage. ALA is found in certain foods, such as liver, spinach, broccoli and potatoes.


Some people with type 2 diabetes supplement Alpha Lipoic Acid with the objective of improving the body’s ability to use insulin, thus lowering blood glucose levels.


ALA is also used as a supplement to prevent or treat diabetic neuropathy (severe nerve disorder; symptoms include: pain, numbness and circulatory problems in the lower limbs).


ALA has been researched for its effect on insulin sensitivity, glucose metabolism and  diabetic neuropathy. Some studies have found benefits, but followup research is needed.

Nutritional healthcare experts often recommend taking ALA with L-Carnitine, an amino acid that may also help diabetics better control glucose.

Studies have found that the two substances could have added health benefits when taken together.


It is important to note… Alpha Lipoic Acid can potentially lower blood sugar too much, so it is essential for people with diabetes to regularly monitor their blood sugar levels very carefully.

2) Chromium is an essential trace mineral. The body requires small amounts (measured in mcg –  micrograms, not milligrams) of it to perform its key functions properly. Some people with diabetes take Chromium in an effort to improve their blood glucose  control.

Chromium is found in many foods, but usually only in small amounts; Good sources include beef, whole grain products, as well as some fruits, vegetables and spices.


As a dietary supplement, it’s available in several forms such as chromium picolinate, chromium chloride and chromium nicotinate.


Chromium supplementation has been researched for its effect on glucose control in people with diabetes. Study results have been positive, but.additional research is needed.


At the typical low doses (usually ranging from 50mcg to 400 micrograms per day),  Chromium appears to be safe for most adults. But people with diabetes should be aware that this trace mineral might cause blood sugar levels to go too low.


High doses can cause serious side effects, including kidney problems, an issue of  particular concern to people with diabetes.

3) Omega-3 Fatty Acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that come from foods such as fish, fish oil, vegetable oil (canola and soybean oil), walnuts and wheat germ.

Omega-3 supplements are available in capsules, primarily as concentrated fish oil. Omega-3s are important in a wide range of bodily functions, including the efficient transport of calcium and other essential nutrients in and out of cells; as well as the relaxation and contraction of muscles, normal blood clotting, digestion, fertility, and cell division and growth.


In addition, omega-3s are well-researched for their benefits and ability to help protect against heart disease, reduce inflammation and lowering triglyceride levels.


Omega-3 fatty acids have also been researched for their effect on controlling glucose and  reducing heart disease risk, especially in people with type 2 diabetes.


Studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglycerides, but they don’t affect blood glucose control, total cholesterol or HDL (good) cholesterol in people with diabetes.

Additional research, particularly long-term studies that look specifically at heart disease in  people with diabetes, is needed.


Omega-3s appear to be safe for most adults at low-to-moderate doses (usually about 1-3 total grams per day).  However, it’s important to be aware that in high doses, fish oil can interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and the prescription drugs used for controlling high blood pressure.


4) Specific Antioxidants such as Polyphenols found in tea, dark chocolate and dark-colored fruits and other whole food sources are also being studied for possible effects on vascular health (including blood pressure) and on the body’s ability to properly use insulin.


5) Laboratory studies suggest that EGCG, the key polyphenol found in Green Tea, may protect against cardiovascular disease and have beneficial effects on insulin activity and glucose control.


No adverse effects of EGCG or green tea were found in these studies and green tea is safe for most adults when used in moderate amounts.


However, Green Tea contains caffeine, which can cause insomnia, anxiety or irritability, among other effects in some people. Green teaalso contains small  amounts of vitamin K, which can cause the prescription anti-coagulant drugs (such as Warfarin) to be less effective.


6) Other food-derived nutritional supplements such as high-concentrate Garlic have been explored for lowering blood glucose levels, but findings have not been consistent.


7) Other studies, including the effects of dietary Magnesium supplementation on blood glucose control have had mixed results, although researchers have found that eating a diet high in Magnesium may lower the risk of diabetes.


8) The effectiveness of  Coenzyme Q10 supplementation as an alternative or adjunct therapy for diabetes is also being studied; Although its ability to regulate glucose control have had conflicting findings, Coenzyme Q10 is generally regarded as a “heart-healthy” dietary supplement.

9) Cinnamon is now making headlines because this common spice is regarded as a potential natural treatment in disorders of glucose control and heart disease.    Cinnamon bark is beneficial for glucose control, enabling insulin to work more efficiently. It’s been clinically shown to help decrease the symptoms that commonly accompany elevated blood sugar and its harmful effects.

10) Researchers are also studying whether the herbal root Ginseng and the trace mineral Vanadium might also be valuable in helping control glucose levels.

Some people with type 2 diabetes are also trying herbal and  botanical supplements such as prickly pear cactus,  Gymnema sylvestre (gurmar), Coccinia indica, aloe verafenugreek and bitter melon to help control their glucose levels.

If you have diabetes and are thinking about using dietary supplements, it’s a good idea to discuss a regimen with your health care providers as well as any other complementary and alternative practices you use.

When consulting with your doctor or other healthcare practitioner, be sure to give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. Effective communication will help ensure a beneficial healthcare program that is both safe and properly coordinated.


For example…

Prescription medicines for diabetes and other health conditions may need to be adjusted if a patient is also using dietary supplements.


Women who are pregnant or nursing, or people who are thinking of including supplements to enhance a child’s dietary intake, should consult their doctor or health care professional.


Don’t replace scientifically proven diabetes treatments with alternative treatments that are unproven.The consequences of not following your prescribed medical regimen for diabetes can be very serious.


In the United States alone, 23.6 million people have diabetes. And 5.6 million of them don’t even know it. Unfortunately, misinformation about diabetes is rampant. Not understanding or mixing up the facts about this disease can have serious consequences:

  a) Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke.

    b) Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations  and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States.

    c) Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.

A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that at the  rate the disease is progressing, as many as 1 in 3 U.S. adults will have diabetes by 2050.


Source: National Institutes of Health

Adapted from “Diabetes and CAM: A Focus on Dietary Supplements” by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health. (Published January  28, 2012)


For your reference and for further information, here are additional resources:

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: provides helpful information on supplements and other alternative treatments, including publications and searches of federal databases of scientific and medical literature.


The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse responds to inquiries, offers informative diabetes publications and helps arrange referrals for patients.

Online, visit:

The National Diabetes Education Program is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with many federal, state and local partners. Its services include providing up-to-date information and publications on diabetes.


This  article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not  intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your  doctor or healthcare professional.

Red Meat Linked to Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

A new study by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers finds a strong association between the consumption of red meat (especially when the meat is processed) and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
The study also shows that replacing red meat with healthier proteins,
such as low-fat dairy, nuts or whole grains, can significantly lower the risk.

The study was published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on August 10, 2011 and appears in the October print edition.

The team of nutrition and epidemiology researchers at HSPH, and colleagues analyzed questionnaire responses from 37,083 men followed for 20 years in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study; 79,570 women followed for 28 years in the Nurses’ Health Study I; and 87,504 women followed for 14 years in the Nurses’ Health Study II.

They also conducted an updated meta-analysis, combining data from their new study with data from existing studies that included a total of 442,101 participants, 28,228 of whom developed type 2 diabetes during the study. After adjusting for age, body mass index (BMI), and other lifestyle and dietary risk factors, the researchers found that a daily 100 gram serving of unprocessed red meat was associated with a 19% increased risk of type 2 diabetes. They also found that one daily serving of half that quantity of processed meat 50 grams (equivalent to one hot dog or sausage or two slices of bacon) was associated with a 51% increased risk.

“Clearly, the results from this study have huge public health implications given the rising type 2 diabetes epidemic and increasing consumption of red meats worldwide,” they said. “The good news is that such troubling risk factors can be offset by swapping red meat for a healthier protein.”

The researchers found that, for an individual who eats one daily serving of red meat, substituting one serving of nuts per day was associated with a 21% lower risk of type 2 diabetes; substituting low-fat dairy, a 17% lower risk; and substituting whole grains, a 23% lower risk.

Based on these results, the researchers advise that consumption of processed red meat such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage and deli meats, generally have high levels of sodium and nitrites and should be minimized. Unprocessed red meat such as steak should be also reduced. If possible, red meat should be replaced with healthier choices, such as nuts, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fish or beans.

Worldwide, diabetes has reached epidemic levels, affecting nearly 350 million adults. In the U.S. alone, more than 11% of adults over age 20 — 25.6 million people — have the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most have type 2 diabetes, which is primarily linked to obesity, physical inactivity, and an unhealthy diet.

Previous studies have indicated that eating processed red meats increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Risks from unprocessed meats have been less clear. For instance, in 2010, HSPH researchers found no clear evidence of an association between eating unprocessed meats and increased risk for either coronary heart disease or type 2 diabetes, but that study was based on smaller samples than the current study, and the researchers recommended further study of unprocessed meats.

Another HSPH study in 2010 linked eating red meat with an increased risk of heart disease, which is strongly linked to diabetes, but did not distinguish between processed and unprocessed red meats.

This new study, the largest of its kind in terms of sample size and follow-up years finds that both unprocessed and processed meats pose a type 2 diabetes risk. This study is among the first to estimate the risk reduction associated with substituting healthier protein choices for red meat.

“Our study clearly shows that eating both unprocessed and processed red meat, particularly processed, is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes,” said the researchers, noting that the 2010 U.S. dietary guidelines continue to lump red meat together with fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, and soy products in the “protein foods” group.

But since red meat appears to have the negative health effects of increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and total mortality, suggested by several recent studies, they suggested the guidelines should distinguish red meat from healthier protein sources and promote the latter instead.

Support for the study was provided by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Story Source: Harvard School of Public Health.

Journal Reference: Red Meat Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes:
3 Cohorts of U.S. Adults and an Updated Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 10, 2011

Harvard School of Public Health (2011, August 11). Red meat linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes

This article is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide medical advice,diagnosis or treatment. Contact your doctor or healthcare professional for medical and nutritional consultation.

Gymnema Sylvestre

Stop The Desire For Sweets

A plant mostly found growing wild in the tropical forests of India, Gymnema Sylvester has long been used as a treatment for both type I and type II diabetes. This amazing herb has been used by Indian healers for nearly 2000 years as part of the Ayurvedic traditional system of medicine. In ancient times, gymnema was known as ‘gurmar’ — a Sanskit word which literally means ‘sugar destroyer’— because Ayurvedic physicians observed that chewing a few leaves from this herb suppressed the sweet taste of sugar.

Gymnema is effective at blocking the taste of sugar because its molecular structure is so similar to sugar that it can fill the receptor locations on the taste buds for one to two hours.
This prevents the taste buds from being able to taste any sugar molecule in food. Gymnema won’t affect food from tasting good, but it will suppress the desire for sweets.
This herb seems to enhance glucose control. A study published in 1986 suggests that the extract of gymnema can significantly increase liver and pancreatic function, which is why it has been used for centuries in cases of diabetes, obesity, hyperactivity, hypoglycemia, allergies, anemia, and osteoporosis.

Several studies have shown the reduction of glucose-reducing drug for most diabetics after 6 to 18 months of taking gymnema. And it has been reported that with the help of a few other herbs and a proper diet, some diabetics have completely stopped taking their pharmaceutical drugs.
The amazing characteristic of this herb is that it exerts its blood sugar lowering effects only when needed. If you are not diabetic but are looking to curb your sweet tooth, try taking this herb to help beat the sugar habit.

Ref: 1. Today’s Herbal Health by Louise Tenney MH
2. Encyclopedia of Herbs by Dr Terry Willard
3. Diabetes and Hypoglycemia by Michael Murray ND


The information presented here is for educational purposes only and not intended to replace professional medical care when required. Always consult a qualified
healthcare practitioner for disease diagnosis, therapy choice, medicine
selection and dosage.

Tag Cloud