Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements against
Diabetes is a
serious illness affecting America over the last decade.
Though it is a well-known disease, there is no cure for it; but only
management, to prevent worsening the condition and avoiding further
complications. There are two categories of diabetes.
is known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). In IDDM, the
lack of insulin stems from destruction of the beta cells that prevent
the body from producing insulin. It usually occurs early in
life, during childhood, and the young patient is made to live with a
lifetime of insulin injections.
Type 2, or
non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), makes up the majority
of diabetes cases, estimated at about 13 million people in the US.
Unlike Type 1, the pancreas of Type 2 patients eventually
wears out, and no longer produces sufficient insulin that is recognized
by the body. It can creep along unnoticed for years, and is
usually diagnosed when one is an adult (25 years and up).
Based on the
two types, it seems that the administration of insulin is the only
solution to the management of the disease. However, recent
studies show that insulin is not alone in combating the
disease. Here are a few significant vitamins, minerals and
supplements to aid the fight against diabetes.
Vitamin D is a
nutrient found in the body that contains calcium and phosphorus,
chemicals needed for bone growth and strength. It is formed
on the skin, when cholesterol at the subcutaneous level interacts with
the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Traditionally known as the
nutrient to combat osteoporosis (bones becoming brittle due to loss of
calcium), Vitamin D has been tested and found to prevent diabetes as
conducted in Finland, where people are exposed to very little sunlight,
proved that Vitamin D protected children against high blood sugar, a
first sign of diabetes. The experiment was conducted on
12,000 children who were administered Vitamin D from birth (1966).
Researchers published in 2001 that they have observed that 80% of the
risks for diabetes were reduced, mainly preventing high blood sugar,
than that of those that did not receive Vitamin D
supplements. However, Endocrinologists desire more validation
for this result because they have found no correlation yet between the
efficacies of the Vitamin with the nature of diabetes. They
also caution that too much of Vitamin D is toxic, thus the
administration must be under the supervision of a doctor.
Next up in the
alphabet, Vitamin E. For the past decade, health and
nutrition experts have concluded that antioxidants help combat free
radicals, bad cells in the body that cause diseases like cancer and
type diabetes, together with a healthy diet and
lifestyle. Well, since type 2 diabetes is a
condition of voluntary cell dysfunction, antioxidants can help in this
aspect. Antioxidants include among others, Vitamin E.
Vitamin E is a
fat-soluble nutrient found in milk, plant leaves and wheat germ
oil. It has been proven to aid reproduction in both lab
experiments and actual human experience. A widely used form
of Vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol is ingested into the body in the form of
gel capsules. Though its effect in diabetes prevention is
real, an increase in the vitamin intake was not proven to be
proportional to the level of prevention.
inorganic nutrients that are essential in normal bodily functions as
well as combating diseases, like diabetes.
potassium are minerals that aid in carbohydrate and protein
metabolism. The proper breakdown and synthesis of
carbohydrate into simple sugars is a function that diabetics
lack. With the aid of the two minerals, it can help prevent
zinc facilitate the recognition of insulin in the body.
A third type of
nutrient that fight diabetes is organic supplements.
Blueberry is a
fruit that is rich in antioxidants, which can address free radicals
that cause body cells to malfunction. They particularly
improve sight, which can help alleviate diabetic blindness.
Charantia (bitter melon) is a vegetable that is rich in nutrients that
enhance the production of beta cells, thus improving insulin production
by the pancreas. In the Philippines, where the plant
originates, it is a recommended supplement. Chinese herbal
medicine also swears by this plant and actually uses it traditionally
to address sterility, skin diseases and gastro-intestinal
diseases. If one is able to tolerate the bitter taste, then
it promises a high chance of improving pancreatic activity (by as much
Coupled with a
sensible diet and healthy lifestyle, using vitamins, minerals and
supplements like the ones above, can help fight diabetes.