America and many parts of the world are deficient in many of the essential nutrients for vibrant health. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many other degenerative diseases are taking a toll on the health of millions around the world as they subscribe to the American diet. As the months and years pass, more strains and new diseases surface. Old diseases such as tuberculosis are making a comeback.
So many ill people cost billions of dollars in lost wages, sick time and production. Medical costs are skyrocketing.
With the lack of nutrients in our food grown from commercial farms where the soil has been depleted and the herbicides and pesticides and other treatments used to keep produce fresh and looking good, everyone needs to supplement.
Here you'll find the essential supplements as is needed for the diabetic, from vitamins, minerals to valuable herbs and other foods to help you maintain health. Don't be easily swayed by media hype that certain vitamins and minerals are unimportant or are projected as being harmful. Most “studies” that claim that some nutrients are ineffective or dangerous are often flawed. Most “studies” are funded
by big pharmaceutical companies that would rather see you use drugs as the only solution to handling your disease. For example, some studies pose that vitamin-E does little good. What the studies don't point out is that the synthetic form of the vitamin doesn't help you. If all the reports that minerals are bad for you then you would expect the CEO's of the big pharmaceutical companies to survive on burgers, fries and shales. And you know that's never going to happen! All vitamins and minerals are essential.
Vitamins have an essential part to play in the maintenance of health and in the healing process.
Man throughout history has survived with only the vitamins and minerals that were abundant in the foods they ate and they found them in nature's own pharmacy. Thousands of studies have proven the usefulness of all vitamins.
While most of us fall short of the RDA requirements for optimum health, diabetics are worse off. If you lack certain vitamins, you will suffer the same symptoms as a diabetic. It is estimated that there are some 2 billion people who can be classified as having “syndrome X”. They exhibit some form of insulin resistance. While they are within normal blood sugar range, their pancreas are producing far more insulin than the average rate. In other words their pancreas are overproducing insulin in order to
keep blood sugar stable. And the primary reason is due to a lack of essential nutrients.
Vitamins are safe. 400,000 Americans die every year from tobacco use and another 125,000 die from the side effect of prescription drugs but no one has died from ingesting too many vitamins.
Let's look at some of the most important vitamins crucial to the survival of the diabetic and the non-diabetic alike:
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a molecule similar to glucose and like glucose it needs insulin to get into the cells. Even if they take adequate amounts of the vitamin, diabetics still exhibit a deficiency of vitamin C. If you are diabetic, you need to take much more of this vitamin than the average person. A lack of this vitamin leads to scurvy-like symptoms: Poor wound healing, less immunity to infections, excessive
bleeding, elevations in cholesterol and a depressed immune system. Vitamin C is required for proper immune functioning and the manufacturing of collagen, the main protein substance of the body. Taking Vitamin-C helps maintain the elasticity and function of the blood vessels and helps maintain proper blood pressure control. It has a mild effect on improving blood sugar control. While supplementing is necessary, it should not be used as an excuse for not eating foods that are rich in this vitamin.
Supplements alone though cannot replace the high fiber, low fat and other healthy nutrients found in fresh fruit and vegetables. A supplement of 2000 milligrams has been shown to reduce the glycosylation (the tanning) of proteins in the blood) and helps avoid the toxic accumulation of sorbitol inside the cells.
Evidence shows there is a correlation between overweight people and the lack of Vitamin-C.
The lower the level of vitamin-C, the greater the chance that you will be overweight. Those who have adequate levels tend to burn off 30% more fat during exercise than someone with low levels of C.
Since diabetics are largely overweight and need to shed pounds, low C levels work against them. C is high in anti-oxidants that help against the rapid aging that occurs due to free radical damage in the body. While citrus fruits contain a good amount of vitamin-C, vegetables such as broccoli, bell peppers, potatoes and Brussels sprouts are also excellent sources.
Apples are an excellent source of Vitamin-C, quercitin and pectin. One Finnish study showed that those who ate the most apples and other foods high in quercitin had a 20% less chance of dying from diabetes and heart disease. The old adage that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” still holds true today.
Vitamin E: This important vitamin acts as an antioxidant to protect against the dangers of damage to cell membranes. Nerve cells are most vulnerable, particularly the delicate nerves found in the eyes and feet. Little to no sensations in the feet and blindness are two common symptoms of the diabetic.
Vitamin E has also been shown to:
● prevent free radical damage from LDL (bad) cholesterol and the damage to vascular linings.
● Improve the function of blood vessels and the cell lining themselves.
● Increase magnesium concentration within the cells
● Decreases levels of C-reactive proteins and other inflammatory compounds.
● Increases levels of glutathione, important for the antioxidants within the cells
● Improve the rate of electrical impulses in the nervous system
● Improve blood flow to the eyes.
● Improve kidney function and normalizes creatine clearance.
Be sure to take the natural form of the vitamin. Natural vitamin-E has a “d-” designation as in alpha tocopherol. “dl-” is the synthetic form. Your body only recognizes the natural form. The synthetic version has been shown to retard the absorption of the real vitamin-E.
B Vitamin Complex:
Niacin B-3: Niacin helps in the burning of calories and, like chromium, is an essential component of GTF (glucose tolerance factor) that helps move glucose through the cell membrane. It has been shown to lower the need for insulin in type 1 diabetics, sometimes reversing the early onset of the disease. It helps improve beta function in the pancreas and improves blood glucose regulation. The best form of niacin is inositol hexaniacinate which helps reduce fats in the blood and has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels by 18%, triglycerides by 26% and increase the good HDL cholesterol by 30% when 1800 to 3000mg is used daily. However, if you suffer from gout, liver disease, peptic ulcers or hepatitis you should consult your doctor before taking Niacin supplements. Niacin's effect is enhanced with Vitamin-C.
Niacinamide is another B-3 vitamin and while niacin helps in lowering your cholesterol levels, niacinamide is used primarily to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. 150-200 mg should be taken before a meal 3 times daily.
Vitamin B-6: Known as pyridoxine it helps balance triglyceride levels and normalize cholesterol levels. B-6 plays a part in the chemical transmitters in the nervous system, red blood cells and prostaglandins. Supplementation with B-vitamins help fight nerve damage, so common among diabetics. Most diabetics are deficient in B-6. It also is beneficial for gestational diabetes, brought on by pregnancy.
Vitamin B-12 and Folic Acid: One of its uses is to reduce the pain of headaches, arthritis and the pain from dental surgery. Deficiency of this vitamin leads to the onset of neuropathy and increase serum levels of homocysteine. Taking the drug metformin lowers your vitamin B-12 stores, so you should have your serum levels checked every 6 months while you are on the drug. Taking this important vitamin will reduce the chance of coronary heart disease. Studies have shown that taking Folic acid
along with B-6 and B-12 help to reduce homocysteine levels and clean out artery plaque. You can lower your homocysteine levels by eating less meat and other methionine-rich food.
Although not considered essential, they do have a place to play in your health. Supplementing with them will add more protection.
Lipoic Acid: As we age we produce less of lipoic acid. But lipoic acid works as an antioxidant with the ability to penetrate both fat-soluble and water-soluble areas of the body. It helps prevent the binding of sugar molecules to certain proteins in the boy, cell membranes and nerve tissue. It improves blood flow to the extremities of the body such as the hands and feet. It's cousin, alpha lipoic acid is a small molecule that is easily absorbed and crosses cell membranes. It can quench both water and fat soluble free radicals inside the cell and outside. It extends the biochemical life of vitamin C and E and other antioxidants. It's considered an approved drug in Germany for the treatment of neuropathy and has been used successfully for the past 30 years. The nerves in the eyes are also susceptible which often leads to blindness in the diabetic. ALA can:
● neutralize free radicals, primarily responsible for the aging process
● It is quickly absorbed and used by the body cells
● it is concentrated both inside and outside of the cell membranes
● promotes normal gene expression
● chelates metal ions and helps to eliminate toxic minerals from the body.
Quercetin: Citrus, berries, onions, parsley, legumes and green tea are loaded with bioflavonoids which are used by the plants to help in the photosynthesis process and protect them against the damaging rays of the sun. There are some 500 varieties with some 20,000 estimated bioflavonoids. Quercetin is just one of them.
The best sources of quercitin can be found in the rind of citrus fruits, onions and apples.
● inhibit inflammation
● is a potent oxidant
● inhibits the fragile nature of capillaries that protects connective tissues against breakdown.
● Reduces the stickiness of cells
Grape Seed Extract: Bioflavonoids are made up of some 20,000 chemical compounds and may be more important than vitamin C and ALA. Grape seed extract is a natural antihistamine. Its flavonoids inhibit allergic reactions that can cause eczema. It's a potent chelator that helps the body to remove toxins from the body. Dosage is at 100 mg 3 times daily. It contains:
● anthocyanins which give black grapes, beets, red onions and berries their color.
● Catechins, also found in apples.
● Ellagic acid, an anti-cancer compound found in raspberries, cranberries and other berries
● flavones, found in citrus fruit, red grapes and green beans
● flavonols, such as quercitin, myricetin, found in spinach, kale, onions, apples and black tea
● flavanones such as hesperidin found in grapefruit, oranges and lemons Grape seed extract is closely related to pycnogenol, derived from the bark of pine tress. Pycnogenol helps to keep collagen elastic and softens the blood platelets so they move more efficiently.
Recommended dosage for pycnogenol is 400 mg.
L-Carnitine: There is no carnitine found in plant food, but red meat contain the most content. Lcarnitine is produced by the body but a lack of vitamin C, iron, niacin and B-6 lead to a deficiency.
Lack of L-carnitine leads to a buildup of fats in the blood, liver and muscles. Symptoms of weakness are the usual result. Taking L-Carnitine induces the burning of fat within the cell's energy makers, the mitochondria. It lures fat into the cells where it can be burned for energy. It also helps you recover quickly from fatigue. Combined with vitamin-E, it is effective in combating heart disease. Taking 500
mg twice a day on an empty stomach is recommended. Anyone who is sick and stressed should take it.
Children, the elderly and diabetics all benefit.
CoQ10: With prolonged use, statin drugs steadily rob the heart of this essential nutrient. Your heart needs CoQ10 for its proper beating function. Years of statin drug use often lead to heart attacks. While the body produces its own CoQ10, supplementation is critical if you are taking a statin. It is a powerful antioxidant and has the ability to trigger beta-cell function in the pancreas that helps to produce more
insulin leading to better sugar control. CoQ10 helps lessen heart damage and retards the aging process.
50 to 100 mg per day is necessary to prevent the depletion in the body tissues and heart muscle when taking a statin drug. It should be taken with food. Here are its benefits in summary form:
● Provides oxygen to tissues to help them heal better
● Triggers beta-cell function in the pancreas
● Lessens heart damage
● Retards the aging process.
Minerals are an essential part of every diet. And the diabetic needs particular minerals if he is to avoid the complications that always arise as a result of the lack of nutrients. Without minerals, our bodies could not function as efficiently. Sadly, many Americans are woefully deficient in several minerals and because of poor dietary habits. The diabetic is extremely vulnerable to blindness, fatigue, and poor circulation. The best cholesterol lowering minerals are chromium, calcium, magnesium, selenium and zinc.
Chromium: 90% of Americans do not get 50mcg (micrograms) of chromium a day. The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences considers 50 to 200 mcg to be necessary. As a diabetic you need at least 200 to 400 mcg a day. Chromium works with insulin in helping open the cell membranes to accept glucose. Without it, insulin's action is blocked. Its GTF (glucose tolerance factor)
is the crucial molecule that helps speed excess glucose into the cells. It not only improves insulin's action to get into the cells, but it has been shown to decrease fasting blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance and decrease cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as the HDL, good cholesterol.
Cheese, legumes, beans, peas, whole grains and molasses are good sources of chromium. The best source is brewer's yeast. However the taste of brewer's yeast makes it hard to take, so sprinkling it with your breakfast cereal or mixed in orange juice is a better way to take it. Chromium comes in may forms; chromium picolinate, chromium GTF and chromium enriched yeast are all suitable in your diet.
The soil from most farms have been depleted of this essential mineral. It is crucial for proper blood sugar control. As most Americans are deficient in this nutrient, it explains the high incidents of obesity and the high number of people with Syndrome X whose blood sugars are normal but who have a higher-than-normal rate of insulin production. Chromium GTF or chromium picolinate make good supplements.
Magnesium: Low intake of magnesium is a major risk factor that leads to retinopathy and heart disease in the diabetic. The RDA recommendation for healthy men is 350 mg per day and 300 mg for women.
Between 300 to 600 mg ideal. Many peole only get between 143 to266 mg far short of the RDA standard. Our highly refined diet lack magnesium. Magnesium, like chromium is involved in glucose metabolism. Supplementation has been shown to improve insulin response, glucose tolerance and improve the fluidity of red blood cell membranes in diabetic patients. Most magnesium comes from seeds, nuts, legumes, tofu and green leafy vegetables. You should take the highly absorbed form of
magnesium such as magnesium aspartate or magnesium citrate. Take at least 25 mg of Vitamin B-6 per day to go along as this vitamin is linked with magnesium content in body cells. Without B-6,
magnesium doesn't get into the cells and is otherwise useless.
Potassium: It's the major mineral inside of all cell membranes and its electrical charge generates what is called “membrane potential”. It's believed that the ratio of sodium (which exists on the outside of the cells) to potassium is off kilter and this is one of the reasons why insulin cannot open the cell doors to accept glucose.
High potassium diets have been shown to lower the risk of many degenerative diseases such as cancer and heart disease and help improve glucose tolerance. Plant foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains serve as the best sources of potassium.
While a high intake of salt promotes high blood pressure, potassium counteracts this by helping lower blood pressure. Potassium supplementation can lower the systolic and diastolic blood pressure an average of 12 to 16 points. It you want to avoid salt, you can substitute with potassium as a safer alternative. NuSalt or No-Salt both contain potassium chloride and make good salt substitutes.
Generally supplementation of potassium is safe unless you have kidney disease.
Methyl Sulfonyl Methane: After water and sodium, MSM is one of the significant components in the body. It helps to control inflammation and muscle spasms, enhance blood flow and normalize the immune system. Its a crucial mineral for detoxification. Its an organically bound form of sulfur and found in small amounts in fresh plant food though it is lost in cooking, storage and processing. Garlic,
beans, eggs, cabbage, broccoli, and red peppers are good sources of MSM. Some of the advantages of MSM are:
● Blood glucose regulation
● Regular bowel movement
● Immune regulation
● Membrane fluidity
Manganese: Low insulin production in animals is due to a lack of manganese. Whole grains, fruits and nuts grown in well fertilized soil are good sources of manganese. It functions in many enzyme systems including those involved in blood sugar control and thyroid hormone function. It functions in the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD). Diabetics have only half the manganese of normal people. A good daily dose of manganese for diabetics is 3 to 5 mg.
Zinc: This important mineral has a lot to do with various functions of the body from sexual development to immune functioning and maintenance of nerve tissue. Good sources of zinc are shell fish, organ meats, fish, pumpkin seeds, ginger root, nuts and seeds. Zinc deficiency leads to a loss of appetite. 10 to 60 mg per day is considered a safe dose. Too much can lead to copper deficiency and depress HDL cholesterol. Zinc is a cofactor in more than 200 different enzymes. Low zinc levels lead to infection, poor wound healing, a deficiency is taste and smell and skin disorders. It is involved with the secretion, synthesis and utilization of insulin and has anti-viral effects. It protects against the destruction of beta cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. Diabetics should supplement with 30 mg of zinc per day. Zinc along with vitamin-C and B-6 helps to speed up healing after surgery.
Vanadium: It's missing in the average American diet. In the form of vanadyl sulfate it helps to control rises in blood sugar in diabetics. Before insulin was developed, vanadium was used primarily to treat diabetes. Good sources of vanadium are mushrooms, shellfish, dill, parsley and black pepper.
Bitter Melon: As the name implies it's not something easy to take. It's a cucumber like plant that grows in Asia, South America and Africa. It's strength lies in its ability to lower blood sugar. Just 2 ounces of the juice was shown to improve glucose levels in 73% of type 2 diabetics.
Gymnema Sylvestre: It's a plant that grows in tropical regions of India and was often used to treat both type 1 an 2 diabetics. In one study 400 mg of Gymnema extract was given to 22 type 2 diabetic patients along with their oral medications. All experienced improved blood glucose control and 5 of therm were able to discontinue their drug use. Applied to the tongue, it has helped people eat fewer calories at a meal. It enhances the action of insulin. Dosage is 200 mg two times a day.
Fenugreek: The seeds were used in folk medicine to treat diabetes. In order to lower blood sugar, about 15 to 50 grams twice daily is needed. Considering the bitterness, it's not very palatable to swallow in capsules. A better use is as a condiment or spice like East Indians use. The active ingredient is the special soluble fiber of fenugreek along with the alkaloid trigonelline. It's helpful in both type 1 and type 2 diabetics.
Salt Bush: Native to the Middle East, 3 grams daily of salt bush provided improved blood sugar regulation in type 2 diabetes.
Bilberry: Known as European blueberry, it was used in France since 1945 to treat retinopathy. It protects the macula of the diabetic eye. Diabetics have found improved vision using supplements from 80 to 16o mg 3 times a day.
Ginkgo Biloba: One of the oldest living trees that has survived over 200 million years is the ginkgo.
Very adaptable, one survived the nuclear blast in Hiroshima. Over a thousand scientific studies have been done over the last 40 years showing the value of ginkgo. The extract is widely prescribed in Europe today. It's an effective antioxidant. It improves the body's circulation and expands the small capillaries that nourish the extremities in the eyes, hands and feet. It inhibits the stickiness of cells,
reduces inflammation and allergic responses.
Ginseng: One of the world's oldest herbs, it's considered an adaptogen that improves several body processes. Ginseng helps to lower blood pressure or raises it if it's too low. Just 3 grams before a meal can reduce after-meal blood sugar in type 2 diabetics. American ginseng helps by the stimulation of pancreas' beta cells that leads to greater insulin output. Native Americans often used it. A type of Korean ginseng increases insulin sensitivity and helps lower blood sugar. One interesting side effect is improvement in sexual functionsomething that many diabetics also suffer from.
Essential Fatty Acids
These are good fats that you find in fish, flax seed, olive and canola oil, borage, evening primrose oil, lecithin, rice bran and rapeseed. Fish oil contains eicosaoentaenoic acid (EPA). EPA is prevalent in cold water fish like cod, salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines. EPA has been shown to change the membrane fluidity of the body's cells making it easy for them to accept glucose. It helps to prevent the stickiness of cells which can lead to heart disease and stroke. It also bolsters immune
functioning and dilates blood vessels for better blood flow.
GLA: (Gamma linolenic acid): Borage, evening primrose and black currant oils are rich in this element. Corn fed beef contains a great amount of linoleic acid which leads to tumor-producing acids.
GLA helps as it is rich in prostaglandins that turn off pain and stop inflammation. Native Americans dined on buffalo which were free ranging animals and ate wild grains and seeds. The meat was lean and far healthier.
Diabetics lose the ability to make GLA in the body and as we get older we make less of it.
Supplementation with 6 capsules of evening primrose oil, or one capsule of borage oil provide the 240 mg needed for GLA requirements.
CLA: Conjugated Linoleic acid is a collection of acids found mostly in the meat and milk of grazing animals. CLA is not found in plant food. A small dose of 3-4 grams has shown to help prevent breast cancer. Those who have cancer should take 1000 mg 6 times a day. The cooking process enhances CLA. So grilled beef has more CLA than raw. CLA has shown to:
● Improve glucose and insulin levels.
● Acts as an antioxidant.
● Suppresses arachidonic acid that causes inflammation
● Enhances the destruction of cancer cells and blocks the growth of tumors.