What are Diabetic Supplements?

Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Diabetic supplements.
Diabetic supplements.

Diabetic supplements can refer to any supplement taken for the purpose of managing diabetes, or its possible complications. Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body cannot maintain normal glucose, or blood sugar, levels. This is usually due to either the insufficient production of insulin or an inability to properly use insulin. Under a doctor’s guidance, a patient may decide to try diabetic supplements to help control the disease.

Cinnamon may help lower blood sugar.
Cinnamon may help lower blood sugar.

One diabetic supplement is chromium, which is found naturally in foods such as whole grains, cheese, and vegetables. Chromium may help manage diabetes by increasing sensitivity to insulin, which means that the body can use insulin more effectively. Doses of chromium should not exceed 200 micrograms per day. Depending on a patient’s diet, he may already be getting about 50 micrograms of chromium daily from food.

Fenugreek is a spice used in cooking and a dietary supplements.
Fenugreek is a spice used in cooking and a dietary supplements.

Many of the supplements a diabetic might take are for the purpose of lowering blood sugar levels. Cinnamon is an herb that may help prevent glucose spikes. A typical dose is between one to six grams daily. Patients may sprinkle cinnamon on their food or take it as a pill.

Another diabetic supplement is magnesium, which may encourage the body’s cells to use insulin more efficiently. A deficiency of magnesium is commonly associated with diabetes. Typical doses range from 250 to 350 milligrams per day. Patients with kidney damage, heart disease, or those who are pregnant should not use magnesium supplements.

Doctors may put patients with diabetes on a healthy meal plan.
Doctors may put patients with diabetes on a healthy meal plan.

Fenugreek seeds are another diabetic supplement that are also commonly used to season Indian cuisine. They may also help lower glucose levels, stimulate the release of insulin, and enhance insulin sensitivity. When eaten with a meal, fenugreek may help prevent a post-meal blood sugar spike. A typical dose is about 15 to 90 grams daily, or a patient may take five to 30 grams with each meal.

Some diabetic supplements are taken for the purpose of preventing complications. Diabetics are particularly at risk for nerve damage, called neuropathy, and damage to the eyes. Bilberry is an antioxidant-rich fruit that can be taken as a supplement to protect the blood vessels in the eyes. A typical dose of bilberry is about 80 to 120 milligrams, taken twice per day.

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) supplements may help prevent nerve damage, as well as maintain glucose levels. Patients who already suffer from neuropathic pain may also benefit from ALA. The supplement may help reduce numbness, burning, and tingling nerve pain. A typical dose is about 600 to 800 milligrams daily.

These diabetic supplements may help patients manage their health and prevent complications, however, they are no substitute for traditional medical care. Patients should follow their doctor’s instructions regarding management of the disease. They may need to take traditional medications. Patients will also need to follow a healthy meal plan, and engage in regular physical activity, to maintain good health. Before taking any diabetic supplements, patients should always discuss them with a doctor.

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