Can diabetics safely take natural supplements? According to data from the Council for Responsible Nutrition, dietary supplements are more popular than ever these days. Even when you’re illness-free, many supplements claim to keep you healthy. For those who are at risk or already have diabetes, we face a sea of supplements, each claiming to manage or even cure the chronic condition.
Navigating the world of supplements calls for caution. Some products make overtly false claims, while others can interact with your prescribed medications in less than ideal ways. Above all else, keep in mind that supplements aren’t meant to replace medication. Attempting to do so may pose a risk to your health.
Knowing which supplements are safe and effective isn’t always straightforward. That’s why we’re here.
Popular Supplements for Diabetes: How Safe Are They Actually?
Let’s take a look at the safety warnings on a few of the more popular supplements for diabetes management.
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with dysfunction in pancreatic cells, causing impaired insulin sensitivity. On the flip side, Vitamin D supplements are thought to improve the function of these cells, in turn heightening the body’s responsiveness to insulin. Among the list of supplements to lower A1C and improve blood sugar control, Vitamin D is one of them.
It’s important to note that while some studies have found improvements in diabetes symptoms following vitamin D supplementation, others have seen no such effect.
But are vitamin D supplements safe? Too much vitamin D may lead to vitamin D toxicity, which can have several harmful effects on the body, including kidney damage. Moreover, mild to moderate reactions may occur when vitamin D is taken in combination with certain types of medication. Always work with your doctor to determine whether vitamins for diabetics are ideal for your treatment.
Among the selection of multivitamins for diabetics found in the nutrition aisle at your local drugstore, the word magnesium is a familiar sight. How is magnesium related to type 2 diabetes? Low blood levels of the mineral are common in people with diabetes and are seen as an indicator of poor blood sugar control.
Magnesium plays a key role in normal insulin secretion, and supplements have been shown to reduce fasting blood sugar levels. Excess urination — a common symptom of diabetes — results in the removal of magnesium and other minerals from the body, leading to deficiencies.
But taking too much magnesium can lead to symptoms like diarrhea and abdominal cramping. More extreme cases of magnesium toxicity have even resulted in death. Magnesium supplements can interfere with other medications, including antibiotics like tetracyclines. To prevent an overdose and adverse drug interactions, always consult your doctor beforehand.
3. Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)
Among the list of popular blood sugar control supplements is ALA, an antioxidant naturally produced in your liver and found in foods like spinach and red meat. Supplements of ALA have been found to decrease A1C and fasting blood sugar.
Because ALA is an antioxidant, it may have protective effects against cell damage caused by oxidative stress (related to high blood sugar).
Side effects from ALA are rare, but they include insomnia, diarrhea, and fatigue. Since ALA reduces blood sugar levels, extra caution is called for to avoid hypoglycemia. The combination of ALA supplements and existing medications must be discussed with your doctor to avoid dangerously low blood sugar levels.
Another all-natural supplement used to maintain healthy glucose levels is CuraLin by CuraLife. Adding CuraLin to your diabetes treatment plan helps promote healthy insulin sensitivity and production, supporting a balanced and stress-free lifestyle.
CuraLin is a completely natural herbal product without any serious negative side effects. Of course, consulting your doctor before taking a supplement is always a good idea.
Natural Supplements for Diabetes Type 2
Incorporating the right supplements to lower blood sugar into your daily diet is a great way to keep your glucose levels in check without stressing.
But doing your homework to find out whether a supplement is safe and effective to take—especially if you’re on medication—is the first step to keeping healthy.