The Best Vitamins to Help with Diabetes Treatment
Improving diabetes treatment has become an important issue for all healthcare providers in the last 20 years. According to the American Diabetes Association, 8.6% of the U.S. population has diabetes and 79 million have pre-diabetes. If these numbers continue to rise at their current rate, 1 in 3 Americans will be diabetic by 2050. These numbers make it clear that all American’s should be actively trying to prevent this illness. A healthy diet and daily exercise can help, but there are several great vitamins that may help those that already have diabetes or pre-diabetes and should be a part of any diabetes treatment and prevention plan.
Diabetes is an illness related to poor blood sugar control. When we eat, food is broken down into simple sugar. This sugar fuels our body to give us energy for basic functioning like breathing, thinking, and walking. When our body is using sugar from food well, the sugar enters the body’s cells with the help of the hormone insulin. For those with Type 1 diabetes, the insulin signal is missing, so the sugar cannot enter the cell. For those with Type 2 diabetes, the cells have stopped responding to the insulin signal. In both types of diabetes, sugar remains in the blood causing high blood sugar. This is a problem because sugar in the blood stream acts like a razor blade on the small blood vessels in the eyes and kidneys, causing tiny tears that can lead to blindness and kidney damage. Although all Americans should focus on the prevention of diabetes, those who suffer from diabetes or pre-diabetes should consider certain vitamins as part of any well-rounded diabetes treatment plan.
Antioxidants are some of the best vitamins for diabetes. Antioxidants help the body fight free radicals. Free radicals cause damage in the body that can lead to cancer or heart disease. Diabetics and pre-diabetics tend to have higher levels of free radicals and may benefit from more antioxidants in their diet. Some important antioxidants that should be part of an effective diabetes treatment plan are vitamin C and vitamin E.
People undergoing diabetes treatment have been found to have low levels of vitamin C in their cells because high blood sugar prevents vitamin C from being well absorbed. A 2006 study showed that people who were given 1000mg of vitamin C per day had lower blood sugar than those on lower doses. Vitamin C and sugar can both be used in several of the same processes in the body, which may be why vitamin C is used up when sugar cannot get into the body’s cells. While more research is needed to identify the exact dose of vitamin C needed to replace what is used up or poorly absorbed, the current daily amount recommended for most adults is 60mg per day.
Vitamin E is also one of the important vitamins for diabetes. A study on vitamin E and diabetes from 2004 found that the vitamin may help prevent heart disease in certain patients. Vitamin E may also play a role in reducing kidney and eye damage caused by high blood sugar. The recommended daily amount for vitamin E is 30 IU, though when undergoing diabetes treatment make sure to ask your doctor about the right dosage for you.
Several studies have shown that chromium can help improve how the body responds to insulin. Americans have wide-spread chromium deficiency due to a diet low in chromium and high in processed foods. While the jury is still out on the exact dosage of chromium that is ideal, it is definitely safe to add some high chromium foods to your diet such as romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. These foods can be included safely in a diabetic diet and can help improve blood sugar in the treatment of diabetes.
Although no vitamin has been proven to completely cure or prevent diabetes, people with diabetes or pre-diabetes may consider certain vitamins that can improve their blood sugar and slow down complications. As always, a good multivitamin (including antioxidants) may be all that is needed to get you on the path to better health.
Remember – before taking higher doses of chromium, vitamin E, or vitamin C it is important to first seek the advice of your doctor.