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DIABETES AND METABOLIC SYNDROMEby Dave Foreman
Due to a constant increase in people with diabetes, pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome, I felt it would be a good idea for a quick refresher course on what supplements can be used to help with blood sugar and insulin resistance issues. Be cognizant that supplements are only part of the equation though. You need to maintain healthy eating and activity habits while incorporating these supplements into your regimen.
The Mineral Connection
With regard to supplements for blood sugar control, I always start with minerals, primarily chromium, magnesium and vanadium. We are a mineral-deficient society due to our over consumption of processed foods. Processing takes out the good in most cases and oftentimes companies need to “fortify” the foods to put back what they processed out. Recent research has shown that people with blood sugar control usually have low blood levels of these three key minerals.
Chromium, Magnesium & Vanadium
Based on current research, chromiumsupplementation with doses as high as 1000mcg per day has been helpful at improving glucose tolerance in those with Type II diabetes. You should consult with your health care provider before using high doses of any supplement. Magnesium consumption has shown to improve insulin production in those with Type II Diabetes. The last of the three minerals I recommend is vanadium. Most people haven’t heard of this mineral, yet research has shown that it helps improve glucose control in as little as 6 weeks.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Another supplement that is helpful with supporting healthy blood sugar levels is Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA). ALA could end up being the big winner in the future for those with blood sugar control issues. It has been shown to increase the burning of glucose. It protects not only against the dysfunction that causes diabetes, but also against the damage caused by the disease.
Carnipure (l-carnitine) is a popular dietary supplement because it has been shown to produce many health benefits, one of which is control blood sugar. Carnipure improves insulin sensitivity, increases glucose storage, and optimizes carbohydrate metabolism.
Herbs work great too. There are several that stand out above the rest: gymnema, cinnamon, maitake mushrooms and bitter melon. Gymnema has been shown to improve the ability of insulin to lower blood sugar levels in both Type I and Type II diabetes. It seems to help in three areas: decreasing insulin resistance, blocking glucose absorption and increasing the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas. Cinnamon (yes, the spice) extract is known to improve blood sugar levels and lipid levels in those with Type II diabetes. The extract of maitake (Sx Fraction) has also been shown to be extremely helpful for those with interest in blood sugar control. Bitter melon contains different compounds that have a multi-pronged attack against elevated blood sugar levels.
To take some of the guesswork out of picking the right supplements for your blood sugar issues, consider using a combination formula, which is designed to provide broad-spectrum support. Formulas like Advanced Sugar Support, Doctor’s Choice for Glucose Regulation and WellBetX Glucose Management are my favorites. These formulations combine the key nutrients needed to both maintain and achieve healthy blood sugar levels.
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 to 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 and physical activity. If you can get these two aspects under control, supplementing or taking prescribed medications will not be necessary in most cases. The choice is yours, but in the meantime, you now have some tools to assist your body in overcoming your blood sugar issues.