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What Are the Best Vitamins for Diabetes?
Diabetes

What Are the Best Vitamins for Diabetes?

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on August 19, 2022
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8 min

People can take vitamin supplements to feel healthier and stronger. This still applies to those who have diabetes and want to keep their blood sugar under control. But what are the best vitamins for doing that? We detail the best vitamins and supplements for diabetes.

Vitamins for diabetes

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There are many vitamin supplements that claim to help diabetes.

Some vitamins, like vitamin D and zinc, may prevent high blood glucose levels. This all depends on how many you take and which vitamins support your health the most. Dietary supplements are the best way to absorb essential nutrients if you don’t get enough through food. 

You should only take vitamin supplements if you have a specific deficiency. This is something to discuss with a medical professional. Supplements might be a good way of avoiding certain diabetic complications that cause you to feel weak.

In this article, you’ll discover the 7 best vitamins that support diabetes. 

How Vitamins Can Help You With Diabetes

There are certain vitamins that might help lower blood sugar levels. 

People with diabetes may struggle to eat particular foods high in nutrients, leading to possible vitamin deficiencies. For example, pineapple has lots of magnesium, but this fruit has too much natural sugar. This means they have to sacrifice beneficial minerals in their diet. 

However, supplements are a great way of getting your recommended vitamin intake. They don’t have any unwanted ingredients like sugar, fats, or carbs that might disrupt glucose production. You can take these vitamin-based pills whenever you desire throughout the day. 

Some vitamins work better than others to support diabetes management. Vitamin D is very popular in most dietary supplements. This vitamin lowers blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes. You can take plenty more vitamins that work just the same as vitamin D’s benefits.

7 Best Vitamins for Diabetes

Choosing the right vitamins is important for maintaining your diabetes. There are certain supplements that specifically reduce diabetes complications. This might be high blood sugar that triggers symptoms like nausea, headaches, stomach pain, and shortness of breath.

Let’s take a look at the seven best vitamins for deficiencies in diabetes:

#1 Vitamin D

Vitamin D is known to improve insulin sensitivity – a process that determines how sensitive your cells are to insulin production. If the body resists insulin, blood sugar will soon rise to dangerous levels. This vitamin may ensure your body reacts efficiently to hormones that release glucose. 

You can also take vitamin D supplements to strengthen beta-cell function. These cells are what help the pancreas release hormones to regulate glucose levels. People with type 2 diabetes or a vitamin D deficiency usually have weak beta cells due to their overactivity.

The recommended dosage for vitamin D is 15 mcg per day. This should be enough to prevent insulin resistance and enhance blood sugar metabolism. Older adults who are 70+ might need around 20 mcg of vitamin D per day to keep hormones regulated in their bodies.

Exceeding this amount could lead to constipation. High doses of vitamin D may trigger bowel movements and cause horrible bloating. Just make sure to only take this supplement if you have a deficiency or have been advised by the doctor.

#2 Magnesium

Magnesium supplements improve the body’s ability to secrete insulin. This vitamin may also help your cells use insulin to control blood sugar levels. Not getting enough magnesium through your diet may worsen the cycle of increased glucose and insulin hormones. 

You can take around 300–400 mg of magnesium to notice those health benefits. Achieving your daily intake may promote strong weight loss as well. People with type 2 diabetes can strengthen their metabolism-regulating hormones by consuming more magnesium. 

#3 Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 can improve glycemic control by supporting euglycemic blood glucose levels. It plays a big part in lowering high blood sugars for type 2 diabetes. A vitamin B12 supplement may also strengthen DNA synthesis, cellular repair, and normal hemopoiesis in the body. 

Most people with diabetes usually have a vitamin B12 deficiency. This can lead to ulcers, disturbed vision, and pale skin. That’s why B12 supplements may replenish the vitamin storage in your body and stop unhealthy weight loss from occurring in those with diabetes.

The recommended dosage of vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for adults. Getting your daily intake will help maintain blood glucose control and reduce blood sugar levels. If you don’t have enough vitamin B12, symptoms like depression, mouth sores, and glossitis might form.

#4 Zinc

Zinc supplementation can lower fasting blood sugar levels by strengthening cells that secrete insulin. This may improve insulin resistance that would otherwise lead to kidney damage. You should take around 11 mg a day if you’re a man and 8 mg if you’re a woman.

People with diabetes have more zinc in their urine, so taking a supplement helps restore this nutrient in their bloodstream. Higher levels of zinc in the blood usually reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. You can also get zinc from red meat, oysters, whole grains, almonds, and cashews.

#5 Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is known to reduce kidney disease in people with diabetes. It can maintain glycaemic control, dyslipidemia, and blood pressure when passing through the body. You may take thiamine supplements if you wish to lower blood pressure and future heart complications. 

High doses of vitamin B1 might also treat early-stage diabetic nephropathy. This can prevent cardiovascular events that may trigger heart disease in older adults. Maintaining blood pressure during diabetes treatment is very important for stopping any kind of cardiovascular disease.

#6 Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a micronutrient that regulates glucose and lipid metabolism. Too much glucose in your system leads to hyperglycemia – a condition that causes vomiting, rapid heartbeat, and vision problems. This vitamin may stop the body from expanding glucose storage. 

Men should take 900 mcg of vitamin A daily, and women should have around 700 mcg. Reaching this recommended intake ensures your body doesn’t experience impaired cells and insulin secretion. Vitamin A is necessary for supporting and strengthening those beta cells.

#7 Iron

People with diabetes may not produce enough healthy red blood cells. This can lead to anemia – a condition that represents iron deficiency. You need iron to prevent heart, artery, or kidney disease. Iron supplements are the best way of producing new blood cells in your body.

Failing kidneys in diabetics will also disturb blood sugar levels. A healthy diet containing leafy greens and fish may help you achieve your daily intake, but that might not be enough for them. You should take at least 17 mg a day to prevent iron deficiency symptoms. 

Iron is also great for supporting a healthy immune system, gastrointestinal tract, and metabolism. Eat plenty of vitamin C-rich foods to increase iron absorption in your body. Vitamin C is especially great for easing constipation and helping the metabolism absorb iron.

However, be aware that too much iron can lead to constipation. This is due to poor iron absorption and excess iron in your body. You might experience gas, bloating, and diarrhea-like symptoms. It’s best to stick to the recommended dosage if you have a deficiency.

Vitamins and Supplements That Raise Blood Sugar

Certain vitamins in supplement form might lead to an increased risk of high blood sugar levels.

Vitamin B3 (niacin) may disrupt blood glucose control. This can be dangerous for those who have type 2 diabetes. You should avoid niacin supplements or foods like pork, liver, rice, potatoes, and cereals. However, these might be okay to eat in small, moderate amounts. 

Increasing levels of melatonin can reduce the effectiveness of insulin-producing cells. More resistance to insulin production means more glucose in your body. This disturbance worsens type 2 diabetes and might create symptoms like frequent urination and severe fatigue.

Ginkgo biloba is a herbal supplement that might raise blood sugar. Taking this supplement will lead to reduced insulin metabolism and elevated glucose levels. It can also increase the risk of certain thyroid and liver cancers. 

Excessive amounts of vitamin E have been proven to disrupt blood sugars, creating symptoms like vomiting, increased thirst, and shortness of breath. Vitamin E supplements can also trigger bleeding in those who take blood-thinning medications and have a vitamin K deficiency. 

The final supplement is chromium – a mineral that might support insulin resistance. Some research suggests this element can lower blood sugar, but it may harm glucose metabolism. You should avoid taking any vitamins or supplements that pose health risks to your condition. 

FAQs

How much vitamin B12 should a person with diabetes take?

You can take 3 to 5 mcg of vitamin B12 a day. This is plenty to improve diabetic neuropathy and prevent physical symptoms like headaches, serious constipation, and tiredness. Always talk to a doctor if you’re unsure of what vitamins to take for your diabetes-related problems.

Can people with diabetes take a multivitamin supplement?

Yes, you can still take multivitamins when managing blood sugar levels. Supplements that contain all vitamins may be better for consumption. You don’t have to worry about missing important nutrients. Just make sure to buy multivitamins that contain the best vitamins. 

What are the most important vitamins for diabetes?

Vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin B12 are the strongest vitamins for controlling diabetes. Having any of these on your diet may quickly reduce insulin resistance. These vitamins also have other benefits like healthy weight loss and a stronger immune system. 

A Word From Our MD

Choosing the right supplements can help you manage diabetes.

Vitamin D supplementation may be a better choice out of all the others, as it specifically reacts to insulin production. You can take this essential nutrient every day to live a healthy life and avoid problems like bone pain, muscle weakness, and headaches from constipation.

Always talk to a healthcare provider or certified diabetes educator before taking vitamins and supplements. These professionals can advise you on the best diabetes medications. It’s always best to try alternative medicines that might lower blood sugar efficiently.

Other useful supplements include fish oil and alpha-lipoic acid, which both have anti-diabetic effects. These are known to come in capsule form that can be easily digested with meals. Always do more research on products before trying them on your balanced diet.

Remember that vitamin supplements won’t reduce diabetes risk or eliminate metabolic syndrome. People with a higher risk of vitamin deficiencies should only take the recommended daily dosage, as they can’t absorb enough nutrients through normal foods.

Conclusion 

Vitamins and supplements won’t cure diabetes, but they can help you lower glucose levels and manage them. Magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D are just a few supplements you may take if you have a deficiency. Always seek advice from a doctor if you’re unsure about the supplements.

You should take supplements once or twice a day to feel the effects. Never exceed the recommended dosage and only take them if you need it. Most vitamins and minerals are great for your overall health, so it’s worth implementing them into your daily diet.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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