Top 11 Vitamins For Diabetes – Important Tool in Diabetes Control
Most mainstream physicians in the U.S. have totally ignored these vitamins for diabetes. Alternative medicine on the other hand, has made exuberant claims about their efficacy. I review the published data about these vitamins on diabetes. I have taken a “middle of the road” approach, based on my research.
Vitamins For Diabetes
By themselves, vitamins and herbs may not provide adequate control of diabetes, but they are certainly helpful as an adjunctive therapy. According to published data, the following vitamins for diabetes appear to reduce insulin resistance-the root cause of type 2 diabetes. Scientific data support their use as vitamins for diabetes:
- Stress Buster
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Chromium picolinate
- Coenzyme Q 10 (Co Q10)
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
Vitamins For Diabetes
1. Stress Buster
Stress of daily living is the main culprit for diabetes. How? Stress causes release of two hormones: cortisol and adrenaline, both of which cause an increase in the blood sugar level. Stress also leads to stress eating, which further increases your blood sugar levels. In my extensive clinical experience of over thirty five years, I have observed this link between stress and the elevated blood sugar levels. Many diabetics are also aware of this connection. Several studies have found a link between the epidemic of diabetes and our modern life-style, which is full of stress and bad eating behavior. How to get rid of stress while living in a stressed out world? I pondered over this question. One day I was able to find the answer as I walked in our neighborhood park . I call it my “awakening” from a deep psychological sleep. Since then , I was able to figure out the real source of stress, which actually lies inside you, not out there. Hence, the solution also resides inside you, not out there. All you need is this is an inner psychological shift. I share this wisdom in my books, “Stress Cure Now” and several YouTube Videos.
In addition to this wisdom, you will benefit from “Stress Buster”-a combination of two ancient herbs, popular in Ayurvedic medicine in India. These herbs are Ashwagandha and Holy Basil. Both of these herbs are potent adaptogens. What is an adaptogen? Herbs that can help in neutralizing the ill effects of stress – physical as well as emotional – are known as adaptogens.
Vitamins For Diabetes
2. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is normally produced in small quantities in the cells and helps in the normal function and integrity of the cells. ALA is naturally present in foods such as organ meats (heart, liver and kidneys), and vegetables such as broccoli and spinach. ALA is also present in small quantities in Brussels sprouts, peas, tomatoes and yeast, particularly brewer’s yeast.
Alpha Lipoic Acid Helps Lower Blood Sugar Level
Alpha lipoic acid, in large doses, functions as a strong antioxidant. It helps to fight off the oxidative stress by clearing the oxygen free radicals inside the cell. Free Oxygen radicals are produced inside the cells constantly as a byproduct of the energy production. These free Oxygen radicals can damage the cell. Antioxidants play an important role to neutralize these free Oxygen radicals. Cells of diabetic patients are under a tremendous amount of oxidative stress. In addition to being an antioxidant, , ALA helps to decrease insulin resistance. That’s why it makes perfect sense to use Alpha Lipoic Acid as a supplement for diabetes
Several studies show that ALA helps to lower blood sugar level in diabetes.
Alpha Lipoic Acid for Peripheral Neuropathy
Based upon a number of scientific studies, Alpha Lipoic Acid appears to help peripheral neuropathy in diabetic patients.
In a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (1), researchers gave three daily doses of Alpha Lipoic Acid (600 mg dose, 1200 mg dose or 1800 mg dose) to 181 diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy. They concluded that treatment with Alpha Lipoic Acid for 5 weeks improved symptoms of neuropathy. They also observed that an oral dose of 600 mg once a day appears to provide the optimum benefits. Increasing the dose to 1200 mg or 1800 mg was not associated with further improvement of neuropathy.
Alpha Lipoic Acid has even been given intravenously in clinical trials with significant improvement in peripheral neuropathy, and without any significant side-effects. In a study (2), researchers critically evaluated the results of Four placebo-controlled clinical trials (ALADIN I, ALADIN III, SYDNEY, NATHAN II), with a total of 2258 patients. They concluded that treatment with Alpha Lipoic Acid (600 mg/day intravenously) over 3 weeks is safe and significantly improves peripheral neuropathy.
In my own extensive experience at the Jamila Diabetes and Endocrine Medical Center, Alpha Lipoic Acid has been found to be effective and safe in helping peripheral neuropathy.
How much Alpha Lipoic Acid?
The usual dose of Alpha Lipoic Acid that I use in my patients is 600 mg per day.
Vitamins For Diabetes
3. Chromium Picolinate
Chromium is a mineral. It exists in many foods including meats, potatoes (especially the skins), cheeses, molasses, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Chromium helps in many functions of our body such digestion and normal metabolism of glucose.
Chromium Picolinate Improves Glucose Metabolism
In large doses, Chromium picolinate has been shown to improve glucose control in diabetics by decreasing insulin resistance.
Several studies have shown beneficial effects of chromium supplementation in diabetic patients. In one such study (3), researchers investigated the effect of Chromium picolinate in Chinese individuals with Type 2 diabetes. For four months, one group received Chromium picolinate 100 micrograms twice a day, the second group received Chromium picolinate 500 micrograms twice a day and the third group received a placebo. Researchers noted significant improvements in glucose control as evidenced by fasting blood glucose, post-meal blood glucose and Hemoglobin A1c in the diabetics receiving 500 micrograms twice per day. There were less improvements in the group receiving 100 micrograms twice per day. In addition, there was improvement in insulin resistance and cholesterol level.
In a study (4), researchers evaluated twenty-five randomized, controlled trials and concluded that Chromium supplementation, at a dose of more than 200 micrograms per day, has a favorable effect on glucose control in diabetic patients. In addition, Chromium picolinate appears to lower triglycerides and raise HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), by decreasing insulin resistance. Moreover, Chromium supplementation was found to be safe.
I have been using Chromium picolinate in my Type 2 diabetic patients at the Jamila Diabetes And Endocrine Medical Center since 2004. I have found it to be effective and safe in Type 2 diabetics.
How much Chromium picolinate?
The usual dose that I use in my patients is 800 microgram per day.
Vitamins For Diabetes
Vanadium is an essential trace element occurring in most mammalian cells. The main source of vanadium is food such as mushrooms, shellfish, black pepper, parsley, dill weed.
Vanadium helps Glucose Metabolism
Vanadium is well known to be beneficial for diabetics. Studies show that Vanadium decreases insulin resistance. It also acts as an insulin-like agent.
In an experimental study in Type 2 diabetic mice, researchers found that oral administration of vanadium for 3 weeks decreased blood glucose level from 236 mg/dl to 143 mg/dl.
In a well-designed clinical study (6), researchers gave vanadium, as vanadyl sulfate, at a dose of 100 mg per day for 3 weeks to six Type 2 diabetics. These patients were already on treatment with diet and sulfonylurea drugs. Their diabetes was quite uncontrolled, with fasting blood glucose of 210 mg/dl and HbA1c of 9.6 . After 3 weeks of vanadium, there was a modest improvement in the fasting blood glucose. It came down to 181 mg/dl from 210 mg/dl. More importantly, vanadium decreased insulin resistance at all three levels-liver, muscles and fat.
In another study (7), researchers compared the effects of a dose of 100 mg per day of vanadium (as vanadyl sulfate) in moderately obese Type 2 diabetics versus non-diabetics. They found that vanadium decreased insulin resistance only in the diabetics, but not in the non-diabetics.
How Much Vanadium?
The usual dose of Vanadium is 100 mg per day.
Vitamins For Diabetes
5. Coenzyme Q 10 (Co Q 10)
Coenzyme Q10 is a strong antioxidant. It improves diastolic dysfunction of the heart in patients with hypertension, which is commonly present in patients with diabetes.
Can Co Q10 lower blood glucose?
In a clinical study (8), researchers asked this question. They added a dose of Co Q10 at 200 mg per day to conventional glucose-lowering drugs in 9 diabetic patients. After a period of 12 weeks, researchers observed a statistically significant improvement in hemoglobin A1C, which dropped from a mean of 7.1% to 6.8% (a decrease of – 0.3). The authors concluded that Co Q10 improves diabetic control by improving insulin secretion without any adverse effects.
In another study (9), researchers gave a dose of Co Q10 at 200 mg per day to 74 diabetic patients. They also observed a significant decrease in hemoglobin A1C (a mean of – 0.37). In addition, they also noticed a drop in systolic blood pressure (mean of – 6.1) and diastolic blood pressure (mean of – 2.9).
Co Q10 is believed to be crucial for the normal functioning of the mitochondria: the energy power houses inside the cell. Statin drugs such as Zocor (simvastatin), Lipitor (atorvastatin), Crestor (rosuvastatin) and Pravachol (pravastatin) are commonly used in diabetic patients. These drugs dramatically lower LDL cholesterol. Unfortunately, these drugs also lower the level of Co Q10. Why? Statins inhibit the production of mevalonate, a precursor of both cholesterol and coenzyme Q10. This may be one of the reasons why many patients experience muscle aches and/or muscle weakness while on a statin drug. It is not clearly known if Co Q10 supplementation can prevent/or treat these statin-induce muscular symptoms.
Natural Sources of CoQ10
Co Q10 is highest in red meats and organ meats, such as liver and heart. Other food sources of Co Q10 include fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel), walnuts, peanuts, spinach, whole grains. soybeans and sesame seeds. However, overcooking reduces the amount of Co Q10 present in foods.
How much Co Q10?
Overall, Co Q10 supplementation appears to be beneficial for patients with Type 2 diabetes. The usual dose is 100 to 300 mg per day.
Glupride multi contains Alpha Lipoic Acid-Chromium Picolinate-Cinnamon in high doses. It also contains Vanadium, Co Q10, Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin B12, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, Selenium and other vitamins……. a total of 21 vitamins and minerals.
Find out more about Glupride Multi
Vitamins For Diabetes
Zinc is an essential trace element that exists in all cells and is required by thousands of chemical reactions in the body. Zinc is involved in the synthesis, storage and secretion of insulin, as well as insulin action. Zinc is also a strong antioxidant.
Zinc Deficiency Increases the Risk of Diabetes
Several animal studies have shown Zinc deficiency to be associated with high risk of Type 2 as well as Type 1 diabetes, but there are very few human studies. In one such study (10), researchers investigated the relationship between dietary intake of Zinc, and diabetes and coronary artery disease in 1769 rural individuals and 1806 urban individuals in India. The authors concluded that low dietary zinc was associated with an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and coronary artery disease in urban subjects only.
In another study (11), “Nurses’ Health Study,” in which 82,297 women in the USA were followed for 24 years, researchers concluded that higher Zinc intake may be associated with a slightly lower risk of Type 2 diabetes in women.
In addition to low dietary intake, Type 2 diabetics also have increased urinary loss of Zinc if their diabetes is not controlled.
Can Zinc Supplementation Help Type 2 Diabetes?
In an animal study (12), researchers gave Zinc orally to Type 2 diabetic mice for 4 weeks. They observed a significant improvement in blood glucose level as well as a reduction in insulin resistance. In addition, Zinc treatment caused weight loss and a decrease in high blood pressure (hypertension) in these mice. In another study (13), Zinc supplementation was shown to alleviate diabetic peripheral neuropathy in diabetic rats.
How about human studies? In one study (14), authors analyzed all of the published studies in humans for the effects of Zinc supplementation on diabetes and cholesterol. Compared to a placebo, Zinc supplementation caused a mean drop of 18.13mg/dl in fasting blood glucose, 34.87mg/dl in 2-hour post-meal blood glucose, and a 0.54% reduction in HbA1c (Hemoglobin A1C). In addition, Zinc supplementation caused a mean decrease of 11.19mg/dl in LDL cholesterol. Studies also showed a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressures after Zinc supplementation.
In addition, Zinc is also important to fight off infections (such as common colds, pneumonia, diarrhea), heal wounds and prevent/treat AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration.)
Who Is At Risk For Zinc Deficiency?
- Diabetics, due to increased urinary losses of Zinc in urine if diabetes is uncontrolled.
- Elderly, due to decreased intake as well as absorption of Zinc. In addition, the elderly are usually on a number of medications (listed below) that can interfere with Zinc absorption
- Vegetarians, because plant foods are low in Zinc content to begin with. In addition, Phytates in grains bind Zinc and inhibit its absorption.
- Alcohol consumption, which reduces Zinc absorption from intestines and increases its excretion in the urine.
- Chronic malabsorption conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, chronic diarrhea, intestinal surgery, stomach-bypass surgery. These conditions cause a decrease in the absorption of Zinc, as well as an increase in the loss of Zinc in stools and urine.
- Any chronic illness such as chronic liver disease, chronic kidney disease, malignancy, sickle cell disease, etc.
- Children in poor countries due to malnutrition.
- Pregnant and breast-feeding women
Drugs that can lead to Zinc deficiency include:
Thiazide diuretics: the mechanism is increased urinary losses of Zinc.
Antibiotics such as Cipro, Levaquin, tetracyclines. The mechanism is interference with intestinal absorption. Zinc can interfere with the absorption of these antibiotics. Therefore, take these antibiotics on an empty stomach to minimize this interaction.
Iron supplements can interfere with the absorption of Zinc in food. Therefore, take iron between meals, but not with meals.
Symptoms Of Zinc Deficiency
Zinc deficiency causes non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, impaired immune function, delayed healing of wounds, diarrhea, hair loss, taste abnormalities, skin ulcers, age-related macular degeneration, delayed puberty, impotence, low testosterone and weight loss. Remember, these symptoms can occur due to many other medical conditions as well.
Zinc level in the blood is the most commonly used test to evaluate Zinc deficiency. However, blood level of Zinc does not necessarily reflects the tissue level. Therefore, Zinc deficiency may be present while the blood test may be within the normal range.
Zinc deficiency is basically a clinical diagnosis. Consult with your doctor in this regard.
How Much Zinc?
The recommended daily dose of Zinc for adults is 11 mg for males and 8 mg for females. Tolerable upper levels are 40 mg per day, both for males and females. I use Zinc in my Zinc-deficient patients as 50 mg per day. Even 50 mg per day for a couple of months is safe according to my clinical experience.
Natural Sources Of Zinc
The best way to get your Zinc is through selecting foods which are not only high in Zinc, but also good for your diabetes.
Seafood: Oysters (cooked), Crab, Lobster
Meats: Beef, lamb, chicken and pork
Plants: wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, nuts, especially cashews
Cooked oysters have the highest quantities of Zinc, followed by wheat germ (roasted), beef, pumpkin seeds and cashews
Please note that whole-grain breads, cereals and legumes contain substances called phytates which bind zinc and inhibit its absorption. Therefore, the best sources of Zinc are animal based foods such as beef, chicken and seafood.
Caution: Breakfast cereals are fortified with Zinc, but these are not good for your diabetes.
If you cannot get enough Zinc through your diet for one reason or another, then consider Zinc supplements. Various forms are available such as Zinc gluconate, Zinc sulfate, and zinc acetate. Zinc lozenges and nasal sprays are available for “common colds.” Avoid nasal sprays, as these can cause lack of smell sensation, which can be permanent.
The label on the bottle will provide dosing information.
Too much Zinc can cause toxicity. Acute toxicity causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramping.
Excess Zinc intake (more than 60 mg per day) on a chronic basis can cause copper deficiency, which can manifest as anemia and neurologic symptoms.
Vitamins For Diabetes
Magnesium plays an important role in the normal functioning of each and very cell in our body. In particular, it is involved in energy and carbohydrate metabolism, insulin secretion, insulin action, muscle contraction and nerve conduction. Low levels of Magnesium increases your risk of insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, coronary artery spasms, muscle aches, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, dementia, lupus, menstrual cramping, systemic inflammation, osteoporosis, and kidney stones.
Can Low Magnesium Cause Type 2 Diabetes?
In a long-term, prospective study (15), researchers followed 85,060 women and 42,872 men who had no history of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer at baseline. After 18 years of follow-up in women and 12 years in men, the researchers discovered 4,085 and 1,333 cases of Type 2 diabetes, respectively. In their analysis, the researchers found a significant inverse association between magnesium intake and diabetes risk. In other words, the lower the magnesium intake, the higher the risk of developing diabetes.
In a well designed clinical study (16), researchers investigated the relationship between magnesium in the blood and the risk of developing diabetes in 12,128 middle-aged, non-diabetics during a 6 year follow-up. Authors concluded that low magnesium in the blood is a strong predictor of development of Type 2 diabetes, among white but not among black individuals.
Can Magnesium as Vitamins for Diabetes Improve Diabetes?
This was a well-designed study (17). A total of 63 Type 2 diabetics, who also had decreased magnesium levels in the blood, received either 50 ml of Magnesium Chloride solution (containing 2.5 g of Magnesium Chloride) or a placebo for 16 weeks.
The researchers found that magnesium supplementation, as compared to placebo, showed a significant decrease in fasting blood glucose levels from 185 (10.3 mmol/l) to 144 mg/dl (8.0 mmol/l). HbA1c also decreased from 10.1% to 8.0%. In addition, magnesium supplementation decreased insulin resistance in these diabetics.
Magnesium Deficiency in Epidemic Proportions
We are facing an epidemic of Magnesium deficiency. Here are some of the reasons for this epidemic.
- The typical western diet is low in food items that contain Magnesium. According to USDA ( United States Department of Agriculture) (18), only 1 out of 3 Americans consumes the recommended amounts of Magnesium in their diet.
- Phosphates in sodas, processed meats and other foods, combine with Magnesium to produce Magnesium phosphate, which is an insoluble compound and cannot be absorbed.
- Stress, both physical as well as psychological, causes a continuous release of adrenaline, which causes constriction of blood vessels, a rise in heart rate and an increased demand on the heart muscle. The body uses Magnesium to counteract all of these negative effects of excess adrenalin. Consequently, less magnesium is available for the rest of the body.
- Old age is also associated with low Magnesium due to a decrease in the absorption of dietary Magnesium.
- There are a number of medical conditions and drugs that can lower your Magnesium level.
Medical Conditions That Can Cause Magnesium Deficiency
The following medical conditions can give rise to low Magnesium level.
- Uncontrolled diabetes causes an increased loss of Magnesium in the urine.
- Chronic malabsorption diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Celiac sprue cause a decrease in the absorption of Magnesium.
- Stomach or intestinal bypass surgery causes a decrease in the absorption of Magnesium
- Chronic pancreatic insufficiency causes a decrease in the absorption of Magnesium
- Alcoholism causes a decrease in the absorption of Magnesium
- Acute kidney injury, called Acute Tubular Necrosis, causes an increased loss of Magnesium in the urine
Drugs That Can Cause Magnesium Deficiency:
Diuretics, especially Lasix (Furosemide) and Hydrochlorthiazide, which are so commonly used in diabetics for their high blood pressure and weak heart. These drugs cause an excessive wasting of Magnesium in the urine.
Heartburn and anti-ulcer medications, if used for prolonged periods (more than one year): These drugs include Prilosec (omeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Nexium (esomeprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole), AcipHex (rabeprazole), Dexilant (dexlansoprazole). Magnesium in diet as well in Magnesium supplements need to be broken down by Hydrochloric acid in the stomach before it can be absorbed. The above-mentioned medicines drastically reduce the amount of Hydrochloric acid in the stomach. That’s how they interfere with the absorption of Magnesium.
Steroids such as Hydrocortisone, Prednisone and Dexamethasone cause an increased loss of Magnesium in the urine.
Estrogen, in birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, cause an increased loss of Magnesium in the urine.
Asthma medications such as epinephrine, isoproterenol and aminophylline, cause more consumption of Magnesium in the cells of the blood vessels to counteract the effects of adrenaline, which creates relative deficiency of Magnesium for the rest of the body.
Antibiotics such as Garamycin (gentamycin), Nebcin (tobramycin), carbenicillin, ticarcillin, and tetracyclines cause an increased loss of Magnesium in the urine.
Anti-fungal drugs: amphotericin B, Pentamidine, cause an increased loss of Magnesium in the urine.
Certain Anti-cancer drugs cause an increased loss of Magnesium in the urine.
It’s no surprise that we are facing an epidemic of Magnesium deficiency.
Symptoms Of Magnesium Deficiency
Common symptoms of low Magnesium level include:
- Muscle spasms and cramps
- Irregular heart beat/heart arrhythmias/Atrial fibrillation
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain to spasm of coronary arteries
- Chronic fatigue
- Migraine headaches
- Menstrual cramping
- Menopausal symptoms
- Lack of appetite
- Lack of balance
Test for Magnesium Deficiency
Physicians usually use Serum (blood) test for Magnesium level. However, this test diagnoses only severe cases of Magnesium deficiency, because 99% of Magnesium is inside the cells and only about 1% is present in the blood.
Red Blood Cell Mg is a better test as it checks the level of Magnesium inside the red blood cell.
The best way to diagnose Magnesium deficiency is through your symptoms, your eating habits, presence of medical diseases and use of medicine, as mentioned above. If you suspect you have Magnesium deficiency, increase your consumption of foods rich in Magnesium and/or take Magnesium supplements, and see what happens to your symptoms. The good news is that in general, Magnesium supplements are safe in individuals without any kidney disease. However, toxicity can develop in patients with kidney disease. Many Magnesium supplements can also causes loose stools.
Natural Sources Of Magnesium
The best way to get Magnesium is through foods that are high in Magnesium. Good dietary sources of Magnesium are seeds, nuts, dark leafy green vegetables and fish. These foods are also important for your overall health, especially if you are a diabetic. Other foods that contain some quantities of Magnesium include beans, lentils, whole grains and figs.
Seeds and Nuts:
Pumpkin and squash seeds, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, pine nuts, pecans, walnuts.
Seeds and nuts are highly beneficial for your overall health, especially if you are a diabetic. For example, almonds are loaded with good fats (monounsaturated fatty acids), and can help to increase your HDL (good) cholesterol. Almonds are a good source of Biotin, fiber and Vitamin E. Almonds and other nuts also slow down the emptying of the stomach and consequently, slow down the rise in blood sugar after a meal. Therefore, a handful of nuts after a meal is much better for your health than traditional desserts.
Pumpkin seeds are important for your prostate health. Brazil nuts are a great source of Selenium, which is important for the normal functioning of your thyroid, immune cells and prostate gland. However, too much Selenium can cause toxicity. About 1 or 2 Brazil nuts a day provide enough selenium for your body.
Note: Raw nuts are better than roasted nuts, as roasting decreases the amount of available Magnesium.
Dark Leafy Green Vegetables
Spinach, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and kale.
Mackerel, Halibut, Pollock, tuna, and most other fish.
Beans and Lentils
White beans, French beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, chickpeas (garbanzo), soy Beans, and lentils.
Quinoa, millet, wheat, brown rice. However, diabetics should consume whole grains in small quantities, as these foods are rich in carbohydrates and can significantly raise your blood sugars.
If you cannot increase the ingestion of foods that are high in Magnesium, then the alternative is a Magnesium supplement. The daily recommended dose of Magnesium is about 400 mg. In general, Magnesium supplements are safe in individuals without any kidney disease, but toxicity can develop in patients with kidney disease. Oral supplements can sometimes cause loose stools, indicating a need to reduce dosage or change the type of Magnesium supplement.
Types Of Magnesium Supplements:
A number of Magnesium supplements are available. These include:
- Magnesium glycinate
- Magnesium taurate
- Magnesium chloride
- Magnesium lactate
- Magnesium oxide
- Magnesium citrate
- Magnesium sulfate/ Magnesium hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia)
- Magnesium carbonate
- Magnesium threonate
Magnesium glycinate supposedly has the best absorption. It usually does not cause dairrhea.
Magnesium taurate is supposed to provide a calming effect on your mind.
Magnesium chloride has good absorption, but contains only about 12% of Magnesium. In comparison, Magnesium oxide contains about 60% of Magnesium.
Magnesium citrate and Milk of Magnesia are also stool-softeners.
Magnesium carbonate has antacid properties.
Magnesium threonate is a newer supplement. Supposedly, it works better at the cellular level.
You can choose what type of Magnesium supplement works for you. If you develop loose stools, change to a different preparation and/or lower the dose. In general, Magnesium glycinate does not cause diarrhea.
Vitamins For Diabetes
8. VITAMIN D
In the last 20 years, there has been tremendous research in the field of vitamin D. The findings are astounding! We now know that vitamin D affects almost every organ system in the body.
Can Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Diabetes?
Is there a link between Vitamin D deficiency and diabetes? The answer is yes. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to the risk for developing Type 1 as well as Type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin D Deficiency Causes Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes develops due to malfunctioning of the immune system. Mounting scientific evidence indicates that vitamin D plays a vital role in the normal functioning of the immune system Consequently, vitamin D deficiency can lead to malfunctioning of the immune system. Consequently, your own immune system starts to attack and kill your own insulin producing cells in the pancreas, reacting as if they are invading viruses that must be destroyed. Once you are unable to produce insulin, you develop Type 1 diabetes.
Evidence For The Link Between Vitamin D Deficiency And Type 1 Diabetes
Researchers have investigated the level of vitamin D in patients with Type 1 diabetes and found it to be low in the vast majority of these patients. In a study (19) researchers from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, noted that the vast majority of their Type 1 diabetic patients were low in vitamin D. The study was done in children and teenagers. In my clinical practice, I check vitamin D level in all of my Type 1 diabetic patients and find it to be low in virtually all of them.
Evidence That Vitamin D Can Prevent Type 1 Diabetes
Scientific evidence now exists to show that proper vitamin D supplementation can prevent Type 1 diabetes. One such study comes from Finland. This study (20) began in 1966 when a total of 10,821 children born in 1966 in northern Finland were enrolled in the study. Frequency of vitamin D supplementation was recorded during the first year of life. At that time, the recommended dose of vitamin D for infants in Finland was 2000 I.U. per day. These children were then followed for 31 years for the development of Type 1 diabetes.
Researchers made the amazing discovery: Those children who received the daily recommended dose of 2000 I.U. of Vitamin D during the first year of their life, had an almost 80% reduction in the risk for the development of Type 1 diabetes compared to those children who received less vitamin D.
This is a ground breaking study! If some drug achieved this kind of results, it would hit the headlines and become the standard of care at once. Sadly, even many diabetes experts are not aware of this astounding study even though the study was published in 2001 in the prestigious British medical journal called Lancet. Investigators in the U.S. continue to spend millions of dollars in their pursuit of a “drug” to prevent Type 1 diabetes. So far, this kind of research has produced disappointing results. Amazingly, they have largely ignored the strong evidence that shows the outstanding role of vitamin D in preventing Type 1 diabetes. Vitamin D is not a drug. There is no glory or huge profits in simply telling people to take enough vitamin D.
It is interesting to note that the recommended allowance of vitamin D for infants in Finland was reduced from 2000 I.U. to 1000 I.U. per day in 1975 and then further reduced to 400 I.U. per day in 1992. (For comparison, in the U.S. it has been 200 I.U. a day). This reduction in the daily allowance had no scientific basis except the observation that this amount of vitamin D is present in a teaspoonful of cod-liver oil, which has long been considered safe and effective in preventing rickets.
In the last decades, the incidence of Type 1 diabetes in Finland has been climbing, which is most likely related to the decrease in the daily recommended allowance of vitamin D. As of 1999, Finland has the highest reported incidence of Type 1 diabetes in the world (21). In Finland, the yearly sunshine (and therefore, vitamin D skin synthesis) is much lower compared to more southern areas. Therefore, the population in Finland is at even higher risk for vitamin D deficiency.
Not only in Finland, but in other countries as well, scientists have discovered the amazing power of vitamin D supplementation in preventing Type 1 diabetes. In one such study called EURODIAB (22), researchers found vitamin D supplementation during infancy can significantly reduce the risk for developing Type 1 diabetes. This study was carried out in seven centers in different countries across a variety of populations in Europe.
The Relationship Between Vitamin D Deficiency And Type 2 Diabetes
Is there a relationship between vitamin D deficiency and development of Type 2 diabetes? The answer is yes. Life-style factors that are well known to cause Type 2 diabetes include obesity, old age and physical inactivity. It’s interesting to note that all of these factors also cause vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is important for normal glucose metabolism. It acts through several mechanisms on glucose metabolism:
- Vitamin D directly acts on insulin producing cells in the pancreas to produce more insulin.
- Vitamin D directly acts on the muscle and fat cells to improve insulin action by reducing insulin resistance.
- Vitamin D reduces inflammation which is commonly present in patients with Insulin Resistance Syndrome and Type 2 diabetes.
- Vitamin D indirectly improves insulin production and its action by improving the level of calcium inside the cells.
Now you can understand the important role vitamin D plays in keeping blood glucose normal.
Evidence That Links Vitamin D Deficiency To Type 2 Diabetes
Is there any scientific evidence to link vitamin D deficiency to Type 2 diabetes? The answer is yes. Numerous scientific studies have found vitamin D to be low in patients with Type 2 diabetes.
In an excellent study (23) researchers analyzed a total of 21 prospective studies to explore the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. There was a total of 76,220 participants and 4,996 individuals developed Type 2 diabetes. The risk of developing Type 2 diabetes was nearly 50% less in individuals with the highest levels of vitamin D as compared to the lowest levels. Each 4 ng/ml (equal to 10 nmol/L) increment in vitamin D level was associated with a 4% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
In another excellent study (24), researchers measured vitamin D, calcium, magnesium and insulin resistance in 30 patients with Type 2 diabetes, with 30 sex and age matched healthy controls. Vitamin D level was significantly low (mean level of 12.29ng/ml) among Type 2 diabetics as compared to healthy individuals (mean level of19.55 ng/ml). The levels of calcium and magnesium were also significantly low in Type 2 diabetics as compared to healthy individuals. In addition, there was a significant inverse correlation between Vitamin D status and insulin resistance. In other words, the lower the vitamin D level, the higher the insulin resistance.
Evidence That Vitamin D Can Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Is there evidence to show that vitamin D can prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes? The answer is yes. In a study (25), researchers from Helsinki, Finland collected health data in men and women from the ages of 40 to 74. None of these individual had Type 2 diabetes at the start of the study. They followed these individuals for 22 years to see the pattern of development of Type 2 diabetes. These researchers found that people who had higher level of vitamin D were less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. Thus, vitamin D appears to have a protective effect against the development of Type 2 diabetes.
In another study (26), researchers found that vitamin D and calcium supplementation were able to reduce progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes. This protective effect of vitamin D was similar in magnitude to other measures which have been shown to reduce the progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes, such as a weight reducing diet, intense exercise and use of the drug Metformin.
In another study (27), researchers studied 8 individuals with prediabetes and vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D3 was administered as 10,000 IU daily for 4 weeks. Their results indicate that high-dose vitamin D3 supplementation reduces insulin resistance in patients with prediabetes.
Vitamin D Supplementation in Type 1 Diabetes
Vitamin D supplementation is beneficial in the treatment of Type 1 diabetes. In a study (28), 80 patients with Type 1 diabetes who had 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels less than 20 ng/ml (or 50 nmol/L) were given 4000 IU of vitamin D3. Hemoglobin A1C (HBA1C) and 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were measured at baseline and at 12 weeks.
The researchers observed that patients were more likely to achieve lower HBA1C levels at 12 weeks if they had higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels at 12 weeks.
Vitamin D Supplementation in Type 2 Diabetes
Vitamin D is beneficial in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. In a study (29), researchers recruited 92 Type 2 diabetics (34 males and 58 females). Each patient received vitamin D3 as 2000 IU daily for 18 months. Vitamin D supplementation resulted in a significant reduction in insulin resistance as well as a drop in LDL and total cholesterol.
In summary, vitamin D has the potential to prevent as well as treat Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It can also prevent the devastating complications of diabetes such as heart attacks and kidney failure. Unfortunately, most diabetics continue to be low in vitamin D. Many diabetics are on a long list of expensive medications, but unfortunately, all too often, vitamin D is not included. Sadly, most physicians don’t pay attention to the important relationship between vitamin D and the health of a diabetic patient. Isn’t it time that proper vitamin D supplementation become an integral part of diabetes management?
At the Jamila Diabetes And Endocrine Medical Center, every diabetic gets their vitamin D level checked. We find the vast majority of them to be low in Vitamin D. Proper Vitamin D supplementation to achieve an optimal level of vitamin D has become an integral part of diabetes management at our medical center.
In addition to diabetes, vitamin D has a long list of incredible health benefits such as its role in the prevention of heart disease, kidney disease, dementia, high blood pressure, cancer, and osteoporosis. A full description of these benefits is outside the scope of this book. Please refer to my book, “Power Of Vitamin D” for an in depth understanding of Vitamin D, and how you can achieve an optimal level of vitamin D without the risk of toxicity.
How Much Vitamin D ?
From a practical perspective, you don’t get enough vitamin D from sun exposure and food. In my clinical practice in Southern California, I have encountered only one young lady who had a good level of vitamin D from sun exposure alone, without any vitamin D supplement. She was a lifeguard at the beach. For the rest of us, vitamin D supplement becomes the major source of vitamin D.
The Starting Daily Dose Of Vitamin D Supplement
The starting dose of vitamin D supplement varies from person to person. It mainly depends on how low your vitamin D level is and how much you weigh. So, please get your vitamin D level checked and then use the following table as a guide to choose the starting dose of vitamin D3.
|25 (OH) Vitamin D level in ng/ml||Dose of Vitamin D3|
|Less than 10||15,000 I.U. a day|
|10 – 20||12,500 I.U. a day|
|20 – 30||10,000 I.U. a day|
|30 – 40||7,500 I.U. a day|
|41 – 50||5,000 I.U. a day|
Your Vitamin D dose also depends upon your body weight. The heavier you are, the more Vitamin D you need. Why? Because Vitamin D is fat soluble and gets trapped in fat. Consequently, less is available for the rest of the body. For this reason, obese people require a larger dose compared to thin people.
The above recommendations are for an average adult, with a weight of about 150 Lbs. As a guide, add 1000 I.U. for each 20 Lbs. above 150 Lbs. And subtract 1000 I.U. for each 20 lbs. below 150 Lbs.
For some reason, if you cannot get your vitamin D level checked, then here is the formula you can use to calculate the daily dose of vitamin D3. Use 1000 I.U. for every 20 lbs. of your body weight.
Conversion of Vitamin D Dose
In the USA, the dose of vitamin D is available in I.U. However, in some parts of the world, vitamin D is available in microgram (mcg).
Here is the conversion factor:
40 I.U. = 1 mcg
400 I.U. = 10 mcg
1,000 I.U. = 25 mcg.
5,000 I.U. = 125 mcg
10,000 I.U. = 250 mcg
50,000 I.U. = 1,250 mcg or 1.25 mg
The Maintenance Dose Of Vitamin D Supplement
A common problem arises from traditional medical training which teaches that once your vitamin D stores are replenished, you go back to a daily maintenance dose of 600 I.U. a day. For example, if your vitamin D is very low (let’s say less than 15 ng/ml), your physician will likely place you on a high dose of vitamin D2, such as 50,000 I.U. a week for 12 weeks and afterwards, put you back on 600 I.U. a day as a maintenance dose.
Most likely, in the following months, your physician won’t check to see what happens to your vitamin D level on this miniscule dose. This kind of practice is based on the medical myth hammered into physicians that once you’ve replenished vitamin D stores, the problem is somehow cured.
Take a closer look at this myth. Vitamin D stays in your body stores for just a few weeks. Therefore, the “so called cure” of low vitamin D will only last a few weeks and then you’ll be back to your usual state of a low level of vitamin D.
For this reason, I check vitamin D level in my patients every three months. What I’ve discovered is eye opening! In my clinical experience, the maintenance dose of vitamin D depends on the initial starting dose. For example, if a patient requires a high initial starting dose, that patient will need a high maintenance dose. Most people continue to require a high dose of vitamin D to maintain a good level. It makes perfect sense. Why?
It’s the overall lifestyle of a person that determines the level of vitamin D. If a person is very low in vitamin D to begin with, it’s due to life-style, which in most cases doesn’t change after a few weeks of vitamin D therapy. Therefore, it’s important to continue a relatively high dose of vitamin D as a maintenance dose, especially in those individuals who are very low in vitamin D to start with.
Most of my patients require a daily dose of 5000 -10,000 I.U. of vitamin D3 to maintain a good level of vitamin D. However, some need up to 15,000 – 20,000 I.U. a day, while others need only 2,000 – 3,000 I.U. a day.
What Type Of Vitamin D? D3 or D2?
Vitamin D2, also known as ergocalciferol, is of plant origin. On the other hand, Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is of animal origin. In the natural state, humans synthesize Vitamin D3 in their skin upon exposure to the sun. Therefore, I recommend Vitamin D3, as this is the physiological type of Vitamin D for humans.
Vitamin D: Oral (Swallowing) Or Sublingual/Chewable (Oral Cavity)
I recommend the SUBLINGUAL/CHEWABLE (oral cavity) route for absorption of your Vitamin D supplement as compared to oral ingestion (swallowing). Why? Because absorption from oral cavity is dependable, fast and takes Vitamin D directly into general circulation, (medically known as systemic circulation), just like when Vitamin D is naturally synthesized in the skin from exposure to the sun.
In contrast, Vitamin D from oral ingestion is not very dependable and it has to be taken with food. Vitamin D from intestinal absorption goes into local circulation (medically known as portal circulation) from the intestines, which takes it to the liver first before entering into systemic circulation. In this way, oral ingestion is not very physiological and sublingual absorption is more physiological.
This point becomes even more important in people who have problems with digestion, such as people with pancreatitis, Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, gluten sensitivity, celiac disease and tropical sprue. It’s also a problem for people who take medications that can interfere with intestinal absorption of Vitamin D, such as seizure medicines, cholestyramine, orlistat and also for people with stomach bypass surgery, including those with lap-band procedures.
Monitoring Vitamin D Level
I cannot overemphasize the need for close monitoring of your vitamin D level. An individual’s response to a dose of vitamin D varies widely. As I mentioned before, because vitamin D is fat soluble, it gets trapped in fat. That means there is less vitamin D available for the rest of the body. Therefore, obese people require a larger dose of vitamin D than lean individuals. As vitamin D is fat soluble, it requires normal intestinal mechanisms to absorb fat. If a person has some problem with fat absorption, such as patients with chronic pancreatitis or pancreatic surgery or stomach surgery, then they may not absorb vitamin D adequately.
During summertime, the sun is stronger and many people spend time outdoors. Therefore, the required dose of vitamin D supplement may go down a bit. In wintertime, the dose of vitamin D may need to go up a bit. However, in a lot of individuals this seasonal variation is little as they mostly stay indoors and apply a good layer of sunscreen when they do go out. The amount of vitamin D people get from their food also fluctuates considerably. In addition, some people take their vitamin D supplement regularly, while others take it sporadically.
Therefore, I check 25 (OH) vitamin D blood level every 3 months and adjust the dose of vitamin D accordingly. My aim is to achieve and maintain a level of 25 (OH) vitamin D in the range of 50-100 ng/ml.
I also check blood calcium to make sure that a person doesn’t develop vitamin D toxicity. I recommend monitoring vitamin D and blood calcium level every three months. The blood test for calcium is part of a chemistry panel, usually referred to as CHEM 12 (chemistry 12) or CMP (Comprehensive Metabolic Panel). It’s a routine blood test for most people who have an ongoing health issue such as diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol disorder, arthritis, etc.
Vitamin D Toxicity
Vitamin D toxicity is rare. Physicians, however, get very concerned about vitamin D toxicity. In stead of looking at it scientifically, they generally scare their patients about it. Well, I looked into every published case of vitamin D toxicity. I found that every single case of vitamin D toxicity happened when people consumed extraordinarily large amounts of vitamin D, more than 80,000 IU per day fro several weeks.
I have not encountered a single case of vitamin D toxicity in my clinical practice over the last 20 years. Most of my patients take 5000 – 15000 IU of vitamin D3 per day.
To learn about vitamin D, please refer to my book, “Power Of Vitamin D”
Vitamins For Diabetes
9. VITAMIN B12
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in keeping us healthy. It is involved in the synthesis and regulation of DNA in every cell of the body. In this way, it is important in maintaining the integrity of our genome.
Vitamin B12 is particularly important for the health of the brain, nerves, red blood cells, stomach, intestines, and heart. Diabetics are already at risk for dementia, peripheral neuropathy, anemia, bloating of stomach (gastroparesis), decreased intestinal motility (constipation), and heart disease. Vitamin B12 deficiency makes the matters worse in diabetics.
What Are The Symptoms Of Low Vitamin B12?
Low Vitamin B 12 can cause the following symptoms:
- Lack of energy
- Tingling and numbness in the feet and hands due to peripheral neuropathy
- Memory loss
- Abnormal gait and lack of balance
- Burning of the tongue, poor appetite
- Constipation alternating with diarrhea, vague abdominal pain
- Increase in the level of Homocysteine, which is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s dementia and bone fractures in the elderly. Low folic acid, low vitamin B6 and genetics are the other contributory factors for raised Homocysteine level.
Vitamin B12 to prevent, treat diabetic peripheral neuropathy?
In an excellent study (30), a high dose of Vitamin B12 (2 mg), along with a high dose Folic acid (3 mg) and Vitamin B6 (35 mg), twice a day for six months was shown to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of pain, tingling and numbness in 82% of patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. What was even more impressive that there was actual regeneration of peripheral nerves, not just the control of the symptoms. Researchers took a skin biopsy at the beginning and then at the end of the 6 months period in 11 patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. They were amazed to discover that there was actual regeneration of nerve fibers in 73% of patients at the end of the 6 month period.
Who has Low Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 deficiency is extremely common.
- Anyone on the anti-diabetic drug Metformin (Glucophage). It is a side-effect from the drug.
- Anyone on a strict vegetarian diet, because vegetables do not contain vitamin B12.
- Anyone on stomach medicines such as Prilosec (Omeprazole), Prevacid (Lansoprazole), Protonix (Pantoprazole), Aciphex (Rabeprazole), Pepcid (Famotidine), Zantac (Ranitidine), Tagamet (Cimetidine). Why? Because, these drugs decrease the production of acid in the stomach. Acid in the stomach is important to separate vitamin B12 from food, so it can be absorbed. A decreased amount of acid in the stomach leads to interference with the absorption of vitamin B12.
- Most elderly people have a decrease in the production of acid in the stomach. Therefore, they are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Those with atrophic gastritis, in which there is decrease or even absence, in the production of acid in the stomach. In addition, there is absence of an important substance, called intrinsic Factor (IF), which is normally synthesized by specialized cells in the stomach, called parietal cells. Intrinsic factor (IF) then combines with the ingested Vitamin B12, which is also called the extrinsic factor. The combination of the Intrinsic Factor and the Vitamin B12 (IF-B12) then travels through the intestines, until it reaches the terminal part of the intestine, which is known as the terminal ileum. Here this IF-B12 complex gets absorbed into circulation. In patients with atrophic gastritis, there are antibodies which destroy the parietal cells. Consequently, intrinsic factor ( IF) is absent in these patients and ingested Vitamin B12 cannot be absorbed.
- Anyone who has undergone stomach surgery, as there is a decrease in the production of acid and Intrinsic Factor(IF) in the stomach.
- Those who have the following gastrointestinal disorders: small intestinal resection or bypass, gluten sensitivity (Celiac disease), Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Why? Because vitamin B12 absorption cannot take place in anyone who has disease in their intestines, especially the terminal part of the intestine called the terminal ileum, as explained above.
- Antibiotics can lower vitamin B12 by interfering with normal intestinal bacterial flora.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Often Remains Undiagnosed
Vitamin B12 deficiency often remains undiagnosed because physicians generally don’t think of it as a possibility.
For example, when a diabetic patient complains of tingling in their feet, physicians do all the work-up to diagnose diabetic peripheral neuropathy. They then start you on drug treatment without checking your Vitamin B12 level, even if you are on Metformin. In reality, peripheral neuropathy in diabetic patients on Metformin is often due to two factors: diabetes itself and Vitamin B12 deficiency. Vegetarianism adds to your vitamin B12 deficiency.
Test for Vitamin B 12 Deficiency
A blood level less than 400 pg/ml indicates Vitamin B12 deficiency. In my clinical experience, patients do much better when their Vitamin B12 level is close to 1000 pg/ml or even above 1000 pg/ml.
What Are Natural Sources Of Vitamin B12?
Animal products are the main natural sources of Vitamin B12. On the other hand, plant-derived food is devoid of Vitamin B12.
Good dietary sources of Vitamin B12 include egg yolk, salmon, crabs, oysters, clams, sardines, liver, brain and kidney. Smaller amounts of Vitamin B12 are also found in beef, lamb, chicken, pork, milk and cheese.
Types Of Vitamin B12 Supplements?
Vitamin B12 supplements are available as oral pills and pills for sublingual (under the tongue) absorption.
I prefer the sublingual absorption route because the absorption of Vitamin B12 from the oral cavity (dissolving in the mouth) is excellent. It bypasses the complicated mechanism of IF-Vitamin B12 complex formation in the stomach, and the healthy terminal ileum, which are required for the orally administered vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 is also available in the form of an injection. You need a prescription from a physician for a Vitamin B12 injection.
Vitamins For Diabetes
Physicians have long been intrigued by the beneficial effects of cinnamon on human health.
In December 2003, an excellent scientific study was published in Diabetes Care, (31) in which cinnamon powder was used in 60 patients with Type 2 diabetes. Three daily doses, 1 gram, 3 grams and 6 grams were used. There was a decrease in blood glucose by 18-29%. Serum triglycerides also decreased by 23-30%. Patients consuming 6 grams of cinnamon powder per day appeared to have achieved results earlier (at 20 days), but at 40 days, all doses had the same efficacy in lowering blood glucose and triglycerides level.
Glupride multi contains Alpha Lipoic Acid-Chromium Picolinate-Cinnamon in high doses. It also contains Vanadium, Co Q10, Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin B12, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, Selenium and other vitamins……. a total of 21 vitamins and minerals. Find out more about Glupride Multi
Vitamins For Diabetes
A number of diabetic herbs have been used around the wold since the ancient times. DiaHerbs is a special formulation of Five Herbs that have been shown to support healthy glucose levels in many scientific studies.
FENUGREEK (Trigonella foenum graecum)
A number of studies have shown that fenugreek can lower blood glucose level in diabetics. In a recently published study (32), researchers analyzed data from 10 clinical trials of Fenugreek in diabetic patients. They found that fenugreek significantly decreased fasting blood glucose by about 18 mg/dl (0.96 mmol/l), 2 hour post-meal glucose by about 40 mg/dl (2.19 mmol/l) and hemoglobin A1c by 0.85%, as compared with control interventions.
Clinical trials (33-37) have also demonstrated that fenugreek treatment not only lowers glucose level, but also reduces serum triglycerides level and total cholesterol level without lowering HDL cholesterol level in Type 2 diabetic patients.
BITTER GOURD/ MELON (Momordica charantia)
Bitter gourd is also called bitter melon. It is vegetable that is commonly used in many Asian countries. In one animal study (38), bitter gourd supplementation reduced fasting blood glucose by 30% in rats. In another animal study (39), bitter gourd not only lowered blood glucose, but also normalized the oxidative stress in diabetic rats.
In a recent review article (40), the authors critically evaluated the studies that were designed to investigate the effects of bitter gourd on diabetes. They concluded that some of the studies do indicate anti-diabetic effects for patients. They also concluded that bitter gourd treatment is safe for humans.
GURMAR (Gymnema Sylvestre)
Gymnema Sylvestre is an herb, which is cultivated worldwide. In Hindi, it is known as gurmar, which means “sugar killer.” In an experimental study (41), Gymnema Sylvestre leaf extract given to diabetic rats reduced blood glucose by 13.5 -60.0%. In a human study (42), an extract from the leaves of Gymnema Sylvestre, was given to 22 Type 2 diabetic patients for 18 – 20 months as a supplement to their oral anti-diabetic drugs. There was a significant reduction in blood glucose and HbA1C (glycated hemoglobin). In many of these patients, the dose of their anti-diabetic drugs could be decreased. Five of the 22 diabetic patients were able to discontinue their anti-diabetic drugs and were able to maintain good control of their diabetes with Gymnema Sylvestre leaf extract alone.
In addition to lowering blood glucose, Gymnema Sylvestre is also found to decrease weight, lower serum triglycerides, leptin, glucose, apolipoprotein B (LDL cholesterol), and significantly increase HDL-cholesterol and antioxidant enzymes levels in liver tissue (43). These effects are highly desirable in Type 2 diabetics, who often are obese and have elevated triglycerides level, low HDL cholesterol, elevated Apo B (LDL cholesterol) and high oxidative stress.
JAMUN OR JAMUL (Eugenia Jambolana)
Eugenia Jambolana (Jamun) grows abundantly in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh Nepal, Burma, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malayasia. It has been used in traditional folk medicine from ancient times.
Jamun has been used in various alternative systems of medicine and before the discovery of insulin, was a frontline anti-diabetic medication, even in Europe. The brew, prepared by boiling Jamun seeds in boiling water has been used in various traditional folk medicine in India (44).
There are several studies showing the beneficial effects of Jamun on diabetes. In an excellent, placebo-controlled, prospective clinical study (45), researchers investigated the effects of Eugenia Jambolana seeds in Type 2 diabetic patients. They had three groups: 10 patients on no anti-diabetes drugs, 10 patients taking oral hypoglycemic drugs (with history of inadequate control) and a control group of non-diabetics.
Each group was given dry powdered seeds of Eugenia Jambolana for fourteen days. On the 15th day, fasting blood and urine samples for glucose were taken. The results were impressive. In every patient, there was a marked decrease in fasting blood glucose in patients on anti-diabetic drugs as well as in patents on no anti-diabetic drugs. Moreover, there was no decrease in the blood sugar of normal, non-diabetic individuals.
No individual experienced any side-effects except for mild headaches, which authors attributed to as psychosomatic in nature. No one experienced low blood sugar.
NOPAL (Opuntia Streptacantha)
Nopal (Opuntia Streptacantha) or the prickly pear cactus has been used for glucose control by Mexicans for centuries. Studies have reported improvement in glucose control and a decrease in insulin level indicating a decrease in insulin resistance.
One such excellent study (16) was carried out in three groups of patients with Type 2 diabetes. Group one (46 patients) ingested 500 grams of broiled nopal stems. Group 2 (10 patients) received only 400 ml of water as a control test. Three tests were performed on group 3 (6 patients): one with nopal, a second with water and a third with ingestion of 500 grams broiled squash. Researchers found that serum glucose and serum insulin levels decreased significantly in groups 1 and 3, whereas no similar changes were noticed in group 2. The mean reduction of glucose reached 17% of basal values at 180 minutes in group 1 and 16% in group 3; The reduction of serum insulin at 180 minutes reached 50% in group 1 and 40% in group 3. This study shows that the stems of Nopal (O. streptacantha Lem.) lowers blood glucose as well as insulin level in patients with Type 2 diabetes. The mechanism of this effect is a reduction in insulin resistance.
This article is an Excerpt from my diabetes book, ” Reverse Your Type 2 Diabetes Scientifically”
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