Should you take vitamins, minerals, herbs and supplements if you have diabetes? This question has been debated for years in medical circles as to whether or not these products really make a difference in your health.
What we do know is that there is no substitute for a low-fat, low-sugar and sodium-free diet, one rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds and nuts. Diet combined with exercise will probably give you your best results to live with your diabetes, but the addition of vitamins, minerals, herbs and supplements can’t hurt your cause.
As part of developing your diabetic eating plan, consult your medical expert regarding these vitamins, minerals and supplements. Though consulting your medical expert is extremely important, in the meantime Whole Foods or any health food store have knowledgeable people to explain these products in detail, and their possible side-effects.
Vitamins are essential nutrients for normal chemical processes to occur in your body. They serve as essential components in enzymes and coenzymes. Enzymes are molecules in speeding up chemical reactions necessary for our bodily functions, such as energy production or the assembling of tissue components. Vitamins are good for everyone, but they should be taken along with a balanced diet and exercise. Vitamin pills do not replace whole foods, fibers and grains. For diabetes, I recommend the following vitamins: vitamin B complex, B3 or niacin, biotin or B7, inositol, nitamin B-12, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E
The human body utilizes minerals for the proper composition of bone and blood and the maintenance of normal cell function. Minerals function along with vitamins as essential components in enzymes and coenzymes. If an enzyme is lacking the necessary mineral, it cannot function properly no matter how much of the vitamin is available. Minerals are good for everyone, but they should be used in conjunction with, not in place of, a balanced diet, exercise and vitamins. For diabetes, I recommend the following minerals: calcium, iron, silicon, copper, magnesium, manganese, nitrogen, and coenzyme Q10.
A herb is a plant that does not have a woody stem. If a plant has a woody stem, it is referred to as a shrub, bush, or tree. The term “herb” is used to describe a plant that is used for medicinal purposes. Most people believe that herbs are generally thought of as ineffective medicines. Others like me believe that herbs and plant extracts are natural effective medicines to be used and appreciated. Most traditional medicines are derived from plants and trees. If you decide to use herbs instead of, or in conjunction with, conventional blood pressure medicines, choose your herbalist carefully. Herbalists must know their herbs, but they also must know when to tell patients to seek conventional care. Herbs are good for everyone, but they should be used in conjunction with, not in place of, a balanced diet, exercise, minerals and vitamins. I love cooking with herbs. If you have diabetes, I recommend using the following herbs: hawthorn berry, cedar berries, bilberry, buchu, dandelion root, uva ursi and garlic. You can use goldenseal every couple of days.
Supplements used to include only vitamins, minerals, herbs, brewer’s yeast and sea salt. Now, there are dozens of supplements that include protein powders, amino acid formulas, carotenoids, bioflavonoids, digestive aids, fatty acid formulas, special fats, lecithin and phospholipids, probiotics, products derived from animal and fish parts, algae, garlic and ginger products and human metabolites such as coenzyme Q. Most supplements contain a blend of these items, resulting in countless choices at your supermarket. Over the years, I have learned that labeling and advertising claims go way beyond the truth and current available knowledge. There are few studies, and most of these supplements are “claim” driven. Be careful with the supplements you take. For diabetes, I recommend chromium picolinate, brewer’s yeast, L-carnitine, L-glutamine with taurine, quercetin, raw adrenal, pancreas and thyroid glandulars (don’t take if you are a vegetarian), psyllium husks, copper complex, maitake, pycnogenol or grape seed extract, and multienzyme complex with proteolytic enzymes