Vitamins and Minerals That Support Better Blood Sugar

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Thanksgiving may be just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean that healthy eating goals have to take a holiday. Are you getting enough of these key nutrients in your life? Read on to discover what vitamins D and K and minerals calcium and magnesium may have to do with your healthy blood sugar.

Nutrients improve glycemic control in women and in type 2 diabetes

 Vitamin K in women

New research suggests vitamin K can help control blood sugar, but doctors aren’t sure how. In this study, 82 overweight, pre-menopausal women with elevated blood sugar levels making them pre-diabetic, took 1,000 mcg of vitamin K1 phylloquinone per day, or a placebo.

After four weeks, and two hours after participants drank a sweet measured glucose liquid, insulin and glucose levels had increased for placebo while declining for the vitamin K group. Also, adiponectin—a protein in fat cells that helps regulate glucose and metabolize fats—was higher in the vitamin K group while declining for placebo.

Reference: Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders; 2015, Vol. 14, No. 1

 Vitamin D, calcium in diabetes

Doctors wanted to test the effects of combinations of vitamin D and calcium in diabetics who were deficient in vitamin D. In the study, 118 men and women with type 2 diabetes, who were taking standard blood sugar control medication and who were deficient in vitamin D took 50,000 IU of vitamin D per week with or without 1,000 mg of calcium per day, 1,000 mg of calcium per day alone, or a placebo.

After eight weeks, insulin increased for placebo but declined in all calcium and vitamin D groups, with a far greater decrease, 38.7 percent, for those who took vitamin D with calcium. One month after stopping the study, doctors measured long-term average blood sugar levels, and saw the greatest decrease in the vitamin D with calcium group. And in a surprising finding, LDL cholesterol declined 56.7 percent for those taking vitamin D with calcium.

Reference: Diabetologia; October, 2014, Vol. 57, No. 10, 2038-47

Magnesium improved prediabetes and metabolic factors

Lower blood sugar in prediabetes

Magnesium helps regulate blood sugar levels, and doctors wanted to test its effect in prediabetes, where blood sugar is elevated, but does not reach diabetic levels. In this study, 116 men and non-pregnant women with low magnesium levels and a new diagnosis of prediabetes took a placebo or 382 mg of magnesium chloride per day.

After four months, fasting blood sugar levels declined 25 percent for those taking magnesium compared to 11 percent for placebo, bringing both groups into the normal blood sugar range. The magnesium group also had better glucose levels after a meal. Overall, half of those in the magnesium group improved their glucose status compared to 7 percent for placebo.

Those taking magnesium also saw lower triglyceride levels and higher levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol.

Better metabolic factors

In this study, 14,338 adults told doctors what they had eaten in the last 24 hours. Those with good magnesium levels from foods had lower systolic blood pressure and higher HDL cholesterol levels. Those who also took magnesium supplements had these benefits plus smaller waist size.

Men and women who got enough magnesium from foods were less likely to develop metabolic syndrome, be overweight or obese, or have high blood pressure, and were more likely to have higher HDL levels. Those who also took magnesium supplements had these benefits as well as lower long-term average blood sugar levels.

Reference: Diabetes & Metabolism; 2015, Vol. 41, No. 3, 202-7

Betsy’s Note: This article is intended for educational purposes only.  It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. It is always a good idea to consult a healthcare provider before beginning a supplement, especially if you take medications or have a medical condition. For example, vitamin K is contraindicated with blood thinners, and magnesium and calcium also thin blood. Also, magnesium can cause a loose stool if too much is taken. Build up to tolerance.

Article copyright 2015 by Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.