Top Supplements to Lower Blood Sugar Naturally in 2023

The problem of high blood sugar levels remains a significant global health issue in 2023. The number of individuals dealing with diabetes and prediabetes is increasing, underscoring the importance of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels for overall wellness and preventing chronic diseases.

Beyond diet and physical activity, supplements are an emerging approach to help control blood sugar levels. This article aims to explore them in-depth, offering valuable insights for those interested in lowering blood sugar naturally.

Understanding Blood Sugar and its Implications on Health

Blood sugar, or glucose, is a critical component of our health. It’s derived from our foods; our body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, a primary energy source for our cells. However, maintaining a blood sugar balance is essential because too much or too little can lead to health problems. High blood sugar levels, or hyperglycemia, can result in immediate symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and frequent urination.

Over time, it can cause severe health issues such as heart disease, kidney damage, nerve damage, and vision problems. Common causes of high blood sugar levels include poor diet (especially one high in sugars and refined carbohydrates), lack of physical activity, stress, certain medical conditions like diabetes, and even specific medications. Understanding blood sugar and its implications on health is a key step toward managing it effectively.

The Role of Diet and Supplements in Blood Sugar Control

Importance of a Balanced Diet

Diet greatly affects blood sugar levels as food determines glucose in our bloodstream. Consuming fiber, protein, and healthy fats aids balance. Fiber slows sugar absorption, preventing spikes. Protein controls carbohydrate absorption, and healthy fats slow glucose absorption rate, enabling stable blood sugar levels.

Dietary Supplements: An Additional Aid

Dietary supplements can control blood sugar by influencing insulin sensitivity or glucose metabolism, helping lower blood sugar levels. However, they should not replace a balanced diet and regular exercise but be used as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.

Common misconceptions about blood sugar supplements include believing they can replace medication, assuming all ‘natural’ supplements are safe, taking more than the recommended dose, and thinking supplements alone can control blood sugar. It’s vital to consult a healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen, as managing blood sugar levels requires a comprehensive approach, including diet and physical activity.

Best Supplements to Lower Blood Sugar Naturally

Fiber

Including more fiber in your diet has been proven to enhance blood glucose control, particularly in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Additionally, it is consistently linked to a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This means that consuming fiber can assist those with normal blood sugar levels to maintain or slightly enhance their blood glucose control while reducing their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. [1][2]

Magnesium

Magnesium supplements improve insulin sensitivity, especially in people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes and low magnesium levels. Magnesium supplementation can reduce inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, and slightly lower fasting blood sugar levels. [3][4]

Zinc

A zinc supplement can benefit individuals with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. It enhances insulin sensitivity, reducing fasting blood sugar and HbA1c levels, representing average glucose levels over approximately three months. [5][6]

Cinnamon

Cinnamon could lower fasting blood sugar levels and slightly improve HbA1c in individuals with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, especially those with HbA1c levels of 8% or higher. [7][8]

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

ALA offers a brief yet powerful reduction in oxidation by boosting antioxidant enzymes and potentially lowering blood glucose levels in the short term. However, its effectiveness in managing complications of type 2 diabetes, such as diabetic neuropathy pain, remains inconsistent. [9]

Chromium

Chromium supplements can help control blood sugar in type 2 diabetes patients. Studies show it can lower the risk of developing the condition and reduce post-meal blood sugar spikes. [10][11]

Berberine

Berberine improves blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity for individuals with type 2 diabetes. Six placebo-controlled trials conducted in China demonstrated that berberine significantly lowers blood sugar levels and HbA1c in patients with type 2 diabetes. [12]

Inositol

Inositol, specifically pinitol, may improve glycemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. For those with impaired glucose tolerance, such as in type 2 diabetes, the most researched form of inositol for this condition is 3-O-Methyl-D-chiro-inositol (pinitol). Studies show it helps lower fasting blood sugar levels and improves insulin resistance. [13][14]

Vitamin C

Research suggests that vitamin C may potentially improve blood sugar control. However, the evidence is currently inconclusive, with 12 trials examining the effects of vitamin C on markers of glycemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes. [15][16]

Glycine

Glycine shows promise in human trials as a supplement that can effectively reduce short-term blood sugar levels and improve fasting blood sugar and HbA1c when taken daily. [17][18]

Vinegar

Acidic acid in vinegar can positively affect digestion by slowing food movement from the stomach to the small intestines. This, in turn, leads to slower absorption of carbohydrates and a reduction in both insulin response and damage caused by high blood sugar. Additionally, acetic acid can potentially improve insulin signaling through different molecular mechanisms.[19]

How to Choose the Right Supplement for Blood Sugar Control

Choosing the right supplement for blood sugar control requires understanding your health needs, consulting with a healthcare provider, and ensuring the supplement’s quality and credibility. Different supplements work differently, so it’s important to research each and choose a reputable brand. Always remember that supplements should be part of a comprehensive health plan, not a diet, exercise, or medication replacement.’

Incorporating Supplements into Your Daily Routine

When to Take Blood Sugar Control Supplements

Timing is crucial when taking blood sugar control supplements. Many are best taken with meals to enhance absorption and manage post-meal blood sugar spikes. Others can be taken with or shortly before meals. However, individual health conditions and specific supplement instructions can influence timing. Always consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice, and remember that supplements should support, not replace, a balanced diet and regular physical activity.

Possible Side Effects and Interactions

While blood sugar control supplements can help, they may also cause side effects, from bloating and nausea to serious issues like hypoglycemia. They can interact with medications, affecting their effectiveness; e.g., Cinnamon might lower blood sugar too much when combined with diabetes medication. Speaking with a healthcare provider to fully understand potential risks and interactions is crucial before starting any supplement regimen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I lower blood sugar without medication?

A: Yes, through lifestyle changes and certain supplements, under a healthcare provider’s guidance.

Q: How fast can supplements lower blood sugar?

A: It varies based on individual health, supplement type, and dosage.

Q: Are there any side effects of these supplements?

A: Possible side effects range from minor discomfort to hypoglycemia.

Q: Can I take these supplements with my diabetes medication?

A: Consult a healthcare provider first, as some supplements may interact with medications.

Q: Are these supplements safe for long-term use?

A: The safety varies. Always discuss long-term use with a healthcare provider.

Conclusion

Managing blood sugar levels is a multifaceted approach that can be supported by various supplements such as those listed above. These can aid in controlling blood sugar spikes and enhancing overall health. However, it’s important to remember that everyone’s needs are different, and what works for one person may not work for another.

Therefore, consider your unique health situation and consult a healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen. They can provide personalized advice to ensure you’re safely and effectively managing your blood sugar levels.

REFERENCES:

[1] Dreher, M.L. (2018). Fiber in Type 2 Diabetes Prevention  and Management. In: Dietary Fiber in Health and Disease. Nutrition and Health. Humana Press, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-50557-2_11

[2] Reynolds A, Mann J, Cummings J, Winter N, Mete E, Te Morenga L. Carbohydrate quality and human health: a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Lancet. 2019 Feb 2;393(10170):434-445. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31809-9. Epub 2019 Jan 10. Erratum in: Lancet. 2019 Feb 2;393(10170):406. PMID: 30638909.

[3] Simental-Mendía LE, Sahebkar A, Rodríguez-Morán M, Guerrero-Romero F. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on the effects of magnesium supplementation on insulin sensitivity and glucose control. Pharmacol Res. 2016 Sep;111:272-282. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2016.06.019. Epub 2016 Jun 18. PMID: 27329332.

[4] Verma H, Garg R. Effect of magnesium supplementation on type 2 diabetes associated cardiovascular risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2017 Oct;30(5):621-633. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12454. Epub 2017 Feb 2. PMID: 28150351.

[5] Partida-Hernández G, Arreola F, Fenton B, Cabeza M, Román-Ramos R, Revilla-Monsalve MC. Effect of zinc replacement on lipids and lipoproteins in type 2-diabetic patients. Biomed Pharmacother. 2006 May;60(4):161-8. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2006.02.004. Epub 2006 Mar 29. PMID: 16632297.

[6] Parham M, Amini M, Aminorroaya A, Heidarian E. Effect of zinc supplementation on microalbuminuria in patients with type 2 diabetes: a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. Rev Diabet Stud. 2008 Summer;5(2):102-9. doi: 10.1900/RDS.2008.5.102. Epub 2008 Aug 10. PMID: 18795212; PMCID: PMC2556442.

[7] Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan MM, Khattak KN, Anderson RA. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003 Dec;26(12):3215-8. doi: 10.2337/diacare.26.12.3215. PMID: 14633804.

[8] Mang B, Wolters M, Schmitt B, Kelb K, Lichtinghagen R, Stichtenoth DO, Hahn A. Effects of a cinnamon extract on plasma glucose, HbA, and serum lipids in diabetes mellitus type 2. Eur J Clin Invest. 2006 May;36(5):340-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2362.2006.01629.x. PMID: 16634838.

[9] Abubaker SA, Alonazy AM, Abdulrahman A. Effect of Alpha-Lipoic Acid in the Treatment of Diabetic Neuropathy: A Systematic Review. Cureus. 2022 Jun 8;14(6):e25750. doi: 10.7759/cureus.25750. PMID: 35812639; PMCID: PMC9264721.

[10] McIver DJ, Grizales AM, Brownstein JS, Goldfine AB. Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Is Lower in US Adults Taking Chromium-Containing Supplements. J Nutr. 2015 Dec;145(12):2675-82. doi: 10.3945/jn.115.214569. Epub 2015 Oct 7. PMID: 26446484; PMCID: PMC4656904.

[11] Frauchiger MT, Wenk C, Colombani PC. Effects of acute chromium supplementation on postprandial metabolism in healthy young men. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Aug;23(4):351-7. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2004.10719378. PMID: 15310739.

[12] Liang Y, Xu X, Yin M, Zhang Y, Huang L, Chen R, Ni J. Effects of berberine on blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic literature review and a meta-analysis. Endocr J. 2019 Jan 28;66(1):51-63. doi: 10.1507/endocrj.EJ18-0109. Epub 2018 Nov 3. PMID: 30393248.

[13] Kim HJ, Park KS, Lee SK, Min KW, Han KA, Kim YK, Ku BJ. Effects of pinitol on glycemic control, insulin resistance and adipocytokine levels in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Ann Nutr Metab. 2012;60(1):1-5. doi: 10.1159/000334834. Epub 2011 Dec 16. PMID: 22179130.

[14] Choi JY, Shin SK, Jeon SM, Baek NI, Chung HG, Jeong TS, Lee KT, Lee MK, Choi MS. Dose-response study of sajabalssuk ethanol extract from Artemisia princeps Pampanini on blood glucose in subjects with impaired fasting glucose or mild type 2 diabetes. J Med Food. 2011 Jan-Feb;14(1-2):101-7. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2010.1266. Epub 2010 Dec 7. PMID: 21138376.

[15] Chen H, Karne RJ, Hall G, Campia U, Panza JA, Cannon RO 3rd, Wang Y, Katz A, Levine M, Quon MJ. High-dose oral vitamin C partially replenishes vitamin C levels in patients with Type 2 diabetes and low vitamin C levels but does not improve endothelial dysfunction or insulin resistance. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006 Jan;290(1):H137-45. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00768.2005. Epub 2005 Aug 26. PMID: 16126809.

[16] Wilson R, Willis J, Gearry R, Skidmore P, Fleming E, Frampton C, Carr A. Inadequate Vitamin C Status in Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Associations with Glycaemic Control, Obesity, and Smoking. Nutrients. 2017 Sep 9;9(9):997. doi: 10.3390/nu9090997. PMID: 28891932; PMCID: PMC5622757.

[17] Cruz M, Maldonado-Bernal C, Mondragón-Gonzalez R, Sanchez-Barrera R, Wacher NH, Carvajal-Sandoval G, Kumate J. Glycine treatment decreases proinflammatory cytokines and increases interferon-gamma in patients with type 2 diabetes. J Endocrinol Invest. 2008 Aug;31(8):694-9. doi: 10.1007/BF03346417. PMID: 18852529.

[18] Gannon MC, Nuttall JA, Nuttall FQ. The metabolic response to ingested glycine. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Dec;76(6):1302-7. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/76.6.1302. PMID: 12450897.

[19] Lim J, Henry CJ, Haldar S. Vinegar as a functional ingredient to improve postprandial glycemic control-human intervention findings and molecular mechanisms. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016 Aug;60(8):1837-49. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600121. Epub 2016 Jun 27. PMID: 27213723.

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