A few months ago I wrote an article about this same very common medical disease. Because it’s so important for anyone with family history, obesity, physical inactivity, smoking habit or age to beware of the causes and prevention of Diabetes, I thought it would be helpful to expand on this issue.
For a long time, Type 2 Diabetes was thought to strike mostly older adults. However, this chronic condition is on a rise among younger people too. With the growing need to learn more about the disease, research is being done in many areas. I’m glad to report that doctors have discovered that certain supplements can be added to traditional treatment regimens to fight Type 2 Diabetes.
What’s Going On in the Body
Type 2 Diabetes is by far the most common form of this disease, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of all cases. To put it simply, diabetes disrupts your body’s ability to use food for energy. When you eat, food is converted into glucose, a form of sugar that cells need to function. People who suffer from diabetes do not make enough insulin, a hormone that helps cells convert glucose into energy, or their bodies do not properly respond to insulin.
This causes glucose to accumulate in the blood, which causes damage to various parts of the body.
If you have Type 2 diabetes, it is essential to follow your doctor’s therapy plan, which may include exercise, eating right, monitoring blood glucose levels, and taking insulin. Along with these essential steps, supplements can help manage the disease, fight symptoms and protect your health. Before you start taking any supplements, consult with your doctor and keep him or her updated on any changes.
Supplements for Type 2 Diabetes
While you may have heard about natural remedies to treat various aspects of diabetes, certain supplements have been studied and given clinical trials. Here is a list of promising candidates that you may consider discussing with your doctor as part of your treatment plan.
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) – This powerful antioxidant protects cells from damage. Some studies suggest ALA may have an effect on insulin sensitivity, glucose metabolism, and diabetic neuropathy, a nerve disorder. Though ALA may improve the body’s ability to use insulin, it’s possible that too much could lower blood sugar too dramatically, so careful monitoring is needed.
Chromium – This essential trace mineral may improve blood glucose control. It is important to take small doses to avoid serious side effects, such as kidney problems.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – These healthy fats are found in oily fish, walnuts, canola oil and flax seeds. They are not made by the body but are essential for various functions, like transporting calcium through cells, growth, blood clotting and muscle function. These helpful fats may also protect heart health, a concern for many diabetics. Since it is difficult to get enough omega-3’s through food, supplements are a great solution.
Polyphenols – These antioxidants may help insulin activity and glucose control. In addition, they may also protect against cardiovascular disease.
Coenzyme Q10 – Made naturally by the body and used for cell growth, levels of this antioxidant have been reported to be low in some people with diabetes. It may improve glucose control, but more research is needed to explore this benefit.
New discoveries in diabetes care are being made all the time, so stay informed and communicate with your doctor. In the meantime, explore these new supplement options and be healthy!
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.