Supplements for Diabetes: Which to Keep & Which to Skip!
A healthy outside starts from the inside.
It’s important to make sure that you are giving your body the nutrients it needs, either from your food or the supplements you are taking.
Read on to learn which supplements may be helpful vs. which may be harmful to people with diabetes.
Choosing the Right Supplements
💊 Probiotics and Prebiotics
Everybody has bacteria in their gut, this is called your gut microbiota. We like to call them your gut critters. Research has shown that unhealthy gut critters have led to increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and even depression. Prebiotics and probiotics can help keep these critters happy and healthy.
- Prebiotics are supplements that feed the bacteria
- Probiotics can replace the bacteria in your gut when they’ve been wiped away by something like antibiotics.
When looking for a prebiotic or probiotic, you want to find something that has a variety of bacteria. Since your gut flora has lots of different bacteria, you want to make sure the probiotic you are choosing does as well. Having good gut health can lead to lower total cholesterol, a lower A1C, lower fasting blood sugars, and can raise your good cholesterol (HDL).
Fiber is another supplement that can help you control your diabetes. You can increase your dietary fiber by eating more leafy greens, or you can take liquid fiber, specifically psyllium-based fiber with 8 ounces of cold water.
Make sure to get the liquid fiber. It will help you feel full, whereas the capsules do not. Drinking one glass of water with fiber right before your biggest meal of the day can help you feel fuller sooner by slowing down absorption in your stomach. When absorption is slowed down, you won’t have as many blood sugar spikes after eating.
💊 Collagen and Cinnamon
Some other supplements that may be beneficial for those with diabetes are collagen and cinnamon. As you age you naturally lose collagen which makes it harder to build lean muscle, and can contribute to joint aches and pains. Those with diabetes are more likely to have decreased collagen levels early since high blood sugars bind to collagen and make it dysfunctional.
Cinnamon is another supplement that may help those with diabetes since it can lower blood sugars by up to 25mg/dL. You aren’t going to see any benefit if you are only using cinnamon in your foods, as 600 mg of cassia cinnamon specifically, is recommended in order to see any effect on your sugars.
Incorporating More Nutrients Into Your Diet
Your body can tell you if it’s not getting enough nutrients. If you are craving sweets or constantly feel hungry, more than likely your body isn’t getting everything it needs. The best way to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients in your regular diet is to eat the rainbow. Filling your plate with lots of colors gives you a wide variety of nutrients, and you’re more likely to fulfill your body’s needs compared to only eating one fruit or vegetable.
❌ Supplements to Avoid With Diabetes
Before starting any supplement, you should consult a healthcare provider. Whether this is your primary care physician or your pharmacist, making sure you are only taking supplements that will be beneficial to you is essential. There are quite a few supplements that may be helpful for some disease states, but not with diabetes. This includes:
- Vitamin E
- Coenzyme Q10
- Beta carotene
- Alpha-lipoic acid
- St. John’s wort
Summary Supplements are an easy way to ensure your body is getting all of the nutrients it needs to be in good health. There are quite a few supplements that may be beneficial for those with diabetes. If you’re not looking for any additional supplements, there are some good ways to incorporate more nutrients with your diet as well.
Disclaimer: Any information provided is not intended as medical advice. Iowa Diabetes is not responsible for any information from third parties.