7 Supplements That Fight Diabetes

Tuesday, 11 Feb 2014 03:47 PM

By Sylvia Booth Hubbard

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Are you in danger of developing diabetes? Probably, says board-certified family practitioner Dr. David Brownstein. "It's an equal opportunity disease — both sexes, all ages, and all ethnic groups are at risk," he tells Newsmax Health. Although some risk factors, such as age, can't be controlled, most cases of diabetes are the result of poor lifestyle choices over the years, he says. 
 
"The main cause is preventable," says Brownstein, author of the newsletter Dr. David Brownstein's Natural Way to Health. "Americans eat too much.
 
"Most people who are overweight are already prediabetic," he says. Prediabetes is a predecessor to diabetes in which sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes.
 
Special: Get Dr. Brownstein's Bestselling Diet Guide For Only $4.95— Save 67%. Click Here.

In healthy people, the pancreas secretes insulin which signals tissues in the body to absorb glucose, the sugar that fuels the body, from the blood. When a person has insulin resistance (or insulin insensitivity), much more insulin is need in order for the body to absorb glucose. When the body can no longer produce enough insulin to overcome the resistance, glucose builds up in the blood, causing prediabetes. If the resistance continues, most people will develop Type 2 diabetes within 10 years.
 
"By the time a person develops prediabetes, they are nutritionally depleted and need supplements," says Brownstein. "Supplements can help restore sensitivity to the insulin receptors that help the body utilize glucose better.
 
The following supplements have been shown to help restore insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels:
 
Magnesium. According to natural health expert Dr. Carolyn Dean, almost 80 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium, and it's a primary factor in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and muscular problems. An 18-year Harvard study published in Diabetes Care found that people who had the most magnesium in their diets reduced diabetes risk by 47 percent when compared to those with the lowest amounts. Another Harvard study found a similar risk reduction.
 
• Bitter melon. According to diabetes.co.uk, bitter melon, a vegetable and traditional Chinese medicine, contains at least three anti-diabetic substances — charantin, vicine, and polypeptide-p. Charantin lowers blood glucose levels, and polypeptide-p acts similar to insulin. Bitter melon also contains a protein called lectin which lowers glucose concentrations in the blood. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that 2,000 mg of bitter melon daily significantly reduced blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. 

• Cinnamon. One study showed that eating 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon for 40 days reduced blood sugar levels by 24 percent. A meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled studies found that cinnamon reduced blood glucose better than the drug Januvia (sitagliptin), but less than improvement reported with Glucophage (metformin). According to experts, as little as a quarter teaspoon a day can improve insulin resistance.
 
• Gymnema. Researchers found that 400 mg a day of the leaves of this shrub that's native to India and Africa  helps decrease the absorption of sugar from the intestine. One study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacol found that patients with Type 2 diabetes who took 400 mg daily of Gymnema showed a significant reduction in blood glucose levels. All were able to reduce their dosages of conventional diabetes medication and 22 percent were able to discontinue their medication completely. Researchers said the data suggested that the beta cells had been regenerated or repaired.

• Alpha lipoic acid. Numerous studies show that alpha lipoic acid lowers blood sugar levels as well as reduces the symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, which is nerve damage that's the result of diabetes. A Greek study found that within four weeks, alpha lipoic acid significantly improved insulin sensitivity in overweight Type 2 diabetics. Some experts recommend at least 600 mg a day.

• Psyllium. Studies show that psyllium, a soluble fiber used in bulk-forming laxatives, lowers insulin and blood sugar levels, and reduces the chances of developing diabetes in those at risk. A study reported in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that taking 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) of psyllium daily significantly reduced blood sugar in diabetic men and women.

• Fenugreek. Many studies have found that fenugreek seeds used in Indian recipes reduce blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. One study found that fenugreek contains an amino acid called 4-hydroxyisoleucine that increased the release of insulin and the uptake of glucose. Another study found that 2.5 grams of fenugreek twice a day lowered blood sugar levels in those with Type 2 diabetes
 
Special: Get Dr. Brownstein's Bestselling Diet Guide For Only $4.95— Save 67%. Click Here.

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