Blood Sugar Control
by Dave Foreman
It is estimated that nearly 60 million Americans have blood sugar
control issues, with 18.2 million
people having diabetes and another
41 million with pre-diabetes.
(see www.diabetes.org). My belief, as with most health conditions, is that
we bring this on with our lifestyle
choices. Whether you have issues with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), the combination of proper diet, regular
exercise or activity and supplementation can help control blood sugar and
contribute to optimal health.
Suggested Supplements: Minerals
Regarding supplements, I always start with minerals - primarily Magnesium, Chromium and Vanadium. We are a
mineral deficient society, due to our
over-consumption of processed foods. Processing takes out the "good" in most cases. Often times, companies need to "fortify" foods to put back what they just processed out. Research from as early as the 1900s showed that Chromium-rich Brewer's Yeast was helpful in restoring blood sugar levels (Journal Provincial Med Surg Soc 1854:374). Current research shows that chromium supplementation with doses as high as 1000 mcg per day has been helpful at improving glucose tolerance in those with Type II diabetes (Diabetes, 1997 Nov; 46(11): 1786-91). Magnesium consumption has shown to improve insulin sensitivity and decrease fasting blood glucose levels in those Type II diabetic subjects with low or decreased magnesium levels (Diabetes Care 2003 Apr; 26(4): 1147-52). The last of the three minerals I recommend is Vanadium. Most people haven't heard of this mineral; yet research at 150 mg. per day has shown that it helps improve
glucose control in Type II diabetics in as little as six weeks (J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Mar; 86(3): 1410-7).
Another supplement that is helpful with supporting healthy blood sugar levels is Alpha Lipoic Acid. Alpha Lipoic Acid could end up being the big winner in the future for those with blood sugar control issues. This supplement has been shown to increase glucose uptake. L-carnitine is a popular dietary supplement because it has been shown to produce many health benefits, one of which is controlling blood sugar, when administered by
constant IV infusion (J Am Coll Nutr.
1999 Feb; 18(1): 77-82). Adequate
L-Carnitine improves insulin-mediated glucose disposal (Ann NY Acad Sci. 2004 Nov;1033: 99-107).
Other Beneficial Nutrients
The previous supplements are on my
top list of nutritional support for blood sugar control. The following is a list
of other nutritionals that may also
· Fish Oil (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
· Vitamins C, D & E
· Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Herbals have been shown to play a
critical role in blood sugar control.
Three herbs stand out above the rest: Gymnema, Cinnamon and Maitake. Water-soluble extracts of 400 mg. per day of gymnema has been shown to improve the ability of insulin to lower blood sugar levels in Type I IDDM (J Ethnopharmacol. 1990 Oct; 30(3): 281-94, 295-300). Cinnamon (yes, the spice) extract is known to improve blood sugar levels and lipid levels in those with Type II diabetes.
Eating a diet low in refined foods (white flour, juice, packaged foods) would be a
great start. Try to consume more fruits and veggies - the fiber alone from these foods can have a stabilizing effect on your blood sugar. Avoid hydrogenated fats and consume more good fats like fish and flaxseed oil. Make sure you are eating enough protein, while avoiding meats high in fat.
Importance of Exercise
Increase your activity level. Slow and steady wins the race every time. You don’t need to do hours of vigorous aerobics! Any additional activity around the house or at the gym will assist your body in maintaining healthier blood sugar levels. The American Diabetic Association recommends striving for 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day, five times per week. Strength training is also a great activity to help with blood sugar control. Increasing muscle activity helps the body utilize or burn sugar for energy.
If you are looking to take control of
balancing your blood sugar, then you need to be aware that popping a pill
or pills is not the answer. Even if you subject yourself to the pharmaceutical answers for blood sugar control, you
are not going to "cure" yourself of
the problem without other lifestyle
modifications. I firmly believe that the answer to your problem lies in proper diet, regular exercise or activity, and
supplementation. The choice is yours,
but in the meantime, you now have some tools to assist your body with
your blood sugar issues.