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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.

Powerful Muscle-Bui​lding Effect of Protein Supplement​s for Athletes

It’s well established… physical activity requires strong, healthy muscles. When people exercise on a regular basis, their muscles experience a continuous cycle of muscle breakdown (during exercise), remodeling and growth,especially with weight-training and weight lifting.

Athletes have long used methods to enhance the cycle of physiologic responses to increase muscle growth. The use of high-quality, high-protein beverages and supplements during and after exercise has become well accepted and popular. Dairy-based whey proteins being are a favorite.

Several studies have shown and documented beneficial effects of protein supplement consumption.

The effect of the essential amino acid – leucine naturally present in these products as part of the protein’s typical amino acid profile is very important.

Two reports, published in the September 2011 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition report the results of two independent studies conducted to understand better how amino acids influence protein synthesis in athletes.

According to the ASN researchers “These studies, and others like them, help us understand and apply something we all inherently know: the human body works in a complex, yet completely logical way! It makes good sense that consuming a food containing high-quality protein during and/or immediately following exercise would help muscles get stronger. Muscle strength doesn’t just happen on its own; our muscles need to be both encouraged with exercise and nourished. Now we have even more scientific proof for this common-sense concept.”

In the first study, researchers from McMaster University investigated whether post exercise muscle protein synthesis is different when a large, single dose of whey protein (25 grams) is consumed immediately after activity compared with when smaller doses (2.5 grams) are consumed 10 times over an extended period. The idea with the small “protein shots” was to mimic how another milk protein, casein, is digested.

Participants were 8 men; (mean age: 22 years) performed 8 sets of 8-10 repetitions on a leg-extension machine; each subject participated in both dietary treatment regimens. In the second study with researchers from the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, active-duty military personnel (7 men and 1 woman; mean age: 24 years) consumed a high-protein beverage (10 grams protein providing essential amino acids) containing 1.87 or 3.5 g leucine while exercising on a stationary bicycle. In both studies, post exercise muscle protein synthesis was evaluated.

Consuming the large dose of whey protein immediately after exercise increased muscle protein synthesis more than when periodic smaller doses of protein were consumed. In the second study, muscle protein synthesis was 33% greater after consumption of the leucine-enriched protein beverage than after the lower-leucine supplement drink.

The researchers concluded that muscle metabolism after exercise can be effectively managed using proper dietary supplementation.

In consideration of the most beneficial timing of protein intake, immediate post exercise consumption appears to be the best. Leucine may play an especially important role in stimulating muscle growth in the post activity recovery period.

Story Source: American Society for Nutrition

Journal References: “Rapid aminoacidemia enhances myofibrillar protein synthesis and anabolic intramuscular signaling responses after resistance exercise” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2011;

“Leucine-enriched essential amino acid supplementation during moderate steady state exercise enhances post exercise muscle protein synthesis” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2011;

American Society for Nutrition (2011, August 18) “Muscle-building effect of protein beverages for athletes investigated”

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.

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