While diabetes requires insulin and medications, herbs and supplements can help in managing the condition and reducing complications. Here are the top 10 diabetes supplements that may make managing your diabetes a whole lot easier.
Top 10 diabetes supplements
- Aloe vera. Long known as a plant with soothing properties, aloe vera has the ability to repair insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Aloe vera’s antioxidant properties are healing to the gut as well.
- Cinnamon. Cinnamon can be used to make a dish more flavorful and sweet without adding a lot of sugar. Consuming cinnamon can improve blood glucose levels, maintain good blood pressure, and aid in digestion.
- Bitter melon. You may have heard of bitter melon in the news about diabetes. This fruit is known for its medicinal properties. Bitter melon can be consumed as seeds, blended vegetable pulp, juice, cooked, or as a supplement. Consuming the fruit has been shown to allow people to rely less on insulin to manage diabetes.
- Ginger. For centuries, different cultures have used ginger as a healing herb. Ginger is helpful for treating digestive issues, inflammation, and lower blood sugar. People can consume ginger in various ways, including in tea, as a supplement, or by adding fresh ginger to food.
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a powerhouse for diabetes. It helps your body destroy germs and viruses. This supplement also helps to fight against kidney and heart failure, and improves insulin function.
- Chromium. Chromium improves the way insulin works in your body. This trace mineral helps move glucose into your cells. Chromium has also been shown to reduce cholesterol.
- Berberine. Berberine is used in Asia for diabetes and stomach conditions. It consists of roots and stems of various plants, such as goldenseal and phellodendron. Studies in China have found that berberine is as effective as metformin in controlling blood sugars. It can also ease nerve pain and kidney disease.
- Alpha lipoic acid (ALA). This potent antioxidant increases sensitivity to insulin. It protects blood vessels, delivers glucose to your muscles, improves neuropathy, and can help with weight loss. Use caution, as ALA can interact with medications for thyroid problems.
- Magnesium. This mineral can lower the risk of heart attack and stroke; plus it lowers blood sugar. Magnesium is essential for energy, protein, and DNA production.
- Gymnema. Gymnema sylvestre is used in India for its effectiveness in lowering fasting blood sugar and A1C in both type 1 and type 2. In fact, the Hindu name for the plant means “sugar destroyer.” In addition, gymnema can reduce sugar absorption and sugar cravings. Use caution with this supplement if you’re taking insulin, as it can enhance its effects.
What to know about taking diabetes supplements
Combining a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, and certain herbs and supplements along with medications can help stabilize blood sugar levels better than medication alone.
With all of these herbs and supplements, take them in the recommended doses. Too much of any supplement at one time can be harmful. Use caution when starting several supplements at once; it’s better to try one at at time and see how it affects your blood sugar. Some herbs can interfere with blood thinners and blood pressure medications. Consult a doctor before starting on an alternative medicine. Herbs and supplements should not replace medications prescribed by a doctor.