As part of our Food for Thought section, we will begin profiling a nutritional supplement every month.
Research indicates that some vitamins, herbs and supplements may be beneficial to diabetes control. Always check with your diabetes care team before adding one to your regimen, as some may be unsafe for you or could interact with your other medications.
What follows is a summary of research explaining the benefits of some nutritional supplements, as well as their recommended daily dosages.
- Alpha-lipoic acid (lipoic acid): May help to relieve nerve pain
- Benflotiamine: May help to prevent smallblood-vessel problems
- Chromium: May lower A1C levels
- Cinnamon: May improve blood glucose levels
- Fenugreek: May improve blood glucose control
- Fish oil: May benefit heart health
- Ginseng (American and Asian): Was thought to improve blood glucose control but recent studies show little if any effect
- Magnesium: May improve insulin sensitivity
- Nopal (prickly pear): May increase insulin sensitivity
- Pycnogenol (pine bark extract): May improve blood vessel and retinal health
- Psyllium: May slow glucose absorption
- Quercetin: May offer antioxidant protection
- Vitamin C: May lower heart disease risk
- Vitamin E: May lower A1C levels
The recommended daily dosage is 100 to 600 mg
The recommended daily dosage is 4 to 600 mg
The recommended daily dosage is 400 to 800 mcg
The recommended daily dosage is 1/8th to 1 full teaspoon per meal
The recommended dosage is 5 to 30 g each time, three times daily
Caution if you are taking other blood thinners such as Coumadin, aspirin or vitamin E The recommended daily dosage is up to 3 g
The recommended daily dosage is 200 mg
Two daily doses of 400 mg each are recommended, but it is best to start at lower doses and slowly bring the dose up to the maximum
The recommended daily dosage is two capsules with a meal three times daily
The recommended daily dosage is one to two 30-mg tablets
The recommended dosage is one or two capsules with meals, once or twice daily
The recommended dosage is 100 mg, three times daily
The recommended daily dosage is 200 to 500 mg
Recent research has not shown vitamin E to offer heart disease prevention properties as once thought. Doses of vitamin E should not exceed 400 international units (IU). If you take cholesterol-lowering meds, consult your doctor before taking vitamin E.
Some of the dosage recommendations included in this article were provided by Keith Campbell, RPh, CDE, professor of pharmacy at Washington State University; James F. Balch, MD, co-author of “Prescription for Nutritional Healing: A Practical A-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements” (Avery Books, 2000); Steven Bratman, MD, the medical authority for AlternativeDiabetes.com; David Edelberg, MD, the medical authority for WholeHealthMD.com; Nature’s Sunshine Products, Inc.; Nutrition 21 (the maker of Diachrome); Herbal Information Center; International Diabetes Center; “Herbs and Supplements in Diabetes” (IDC Publishing, 2003)