Supplementation is the LCDA’s 7th Essential. Many people may think that supplementation should be the first essential, or at least a much higher one than 7th. However, supplements are called supplements because that is their point—they supplement the other Essentials. Very poorly controlled diabetes is not going to significantly improve adding in cinnamon capsules, (which is why the LCDA starts with a low carb diet), so although supplements are a vital addition to a comprehensive diabetes program, need to be mixed with identifying and correcting all etiological factors impacting on glucose control.
Supplementation has many benefits to patients with diabetes:
- Diabetic patients are oftentimes deficient or low in many nutrients. Poorly controlled diabetes causes the loss of zinc and magnesium in the urine. One diabetic medication prevents the absorption of B12 and perhaps folic acid. Many people not eating the healthiest diet and thus becoming pre-diabetic or actually diabetic can have low nutrient intake of important nutrients, such as omega-3 oils, magnesium, potassium, fiber, carotenoids, etc.
- Numerous supplements have been scientifically shown to help reduce glucose, decrease insulin resistance, lower the appetite, reduce lipids, reduce blood pressure. Some important supplements are anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory helping to prevent and reverse diabetic complications.
- Supplementation can increase energy and help the mood, reducing depression and anxiety.
- Supplements have been shown to help reduce the onset of Type 1 diabetes.
- Two supplements have been shown to help extend the honeymoon period in newly diagnosed Type 1 patients.
- One supplement can raise the glucose noticeably and should be avoided in high dosages.
These benefits are an extremely important reason to take supplements!
There are four main types of supplements: vitamins and minerals, essential fatty oils, non-nutrient nutraceuticals (example: alpha lipoic acid), and botanical (herbal) products. The LCDA advocates for those supplements that have solid scientific and physician clinical experience behind their use.
There is a huge difference in quality of nutrients available in stores and on-line; for example, did you know that magnesium oxide is very poor quality and hard to absorb, and magnesium bisglycinate is top of the line quality and very easy to absorb? It’s vital to learn how to analyze a supplement bottle to know if what you are going to buy is good or bad or helpful for your diabetes or not.
Also, supplement companies can write on the label that this or that ingredient is in the product, making it seem like an excellent product, but in reality, the dosage of that ingredient is so low it is really worthless. That is called “window dressing” in the industry. Like medications, nutrients, oils and botanicals have therapeutic doses that need to be taken for the product to perform it’s stated action.
The LCDA feels that all patients with diabetes should be on a supplementation regimen. We will be doing interview, articles and webinars on how to analyze supplements and ensure they are of high quality. Working with a physician who knows comprehensive integrative care of diabetes will help patients avoid the hype, and ensure they are spending their hard earned money on high quality products that will truly help them. Please JOIN the LCDA to continually learn about vitamins, minerals, oils, nutraceuticals, and botanical supplements and how they can be helpful in treating diabetes.