Diabetes Update: Nutrients Improve and Slow Progression of Condition


According to the American Diabetes Association, “One-third of adults living with type 2 diabetes are not at their A1C goal. The Association recommends that people with diabetes have an individualized A1C goal. The goal for many adults with diabetes is less than 7 percent. A higher or lower goal may be appropriate for some people. You should speak with your doctor about what goal is right for you.”* In recent studies, these five nutrients showed promise in helping to support healthy blood sugar management for this with diabetes.

Royal jelly

Worker bees secrete royal jelly, which is rich in major nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. In this study, 46 men and women with type 2 diabetes for five to 10 years took a placebo or 1,000 mg of royal jelly three times per day.

After eight weeks, those in the royal jelly group saw a 25 percent decrease in a measure of insulin resistance, HOMA-IR, while insulin resistance increased 21.7 percent for placebo. HOMA-IR measures the function of specialized cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, and gauges insulin resistance—when muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond normally to insulin, and absorb less glucose from the bloodstream.

Type 2 diabetes also has a link to oxidative stress, and total antioxidant capacity increased 5.7 percent for those taking royal jelly while decreasing 3.6 percent for placebo.

Reference: Iranian Journal of Public Health; 2015, Vol. 44, No. 6, 797-803


Many people with metabolic abnormalities, including glucose intolerance and elevated blood sugar levels, are unaware they are pre-diabetic and more likely to progress to type 2 diabetes. In this study, 66 pre-diabetic men and women took 5,000 mg of fenugreek powder twice per day with 6.5 ounces of water, while 74 similar participants did not.

After three years, those who took fenugreek were 76 percent less likely to have progressed to type 2 diabetes than those who did not take fenugreek. Also, the fenugreek group had lower fasting and after-meal glucose levels, and lower levels of LDL cholesterol, while the non-fenugreek group increased in these measures. Insulin levels and resistance also improved for those taking fenugreek.

Reference: Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders; 2015, Vol. 14, No. 74, Published Online

Whey protein

When it comes to protein, quality matters. In this study, 48 overweight or obese participants with type 2 diabetes ate one of three 1,500-calorie diets consisting of a large breakfast, medium lunch, and small dinner. The only difference was the amount and type of protein at breakfast: a whey protein shake; egg, tuna, and soy; or a high-carbohydrate meal.

After 12 weeks, the whey protein group had lost an average of 16.7 pounds compared to 13.4 for the egg-tuna-soy group, and 7.7 pounds for the carbohydrate group. Long-term average blood sugar levels decreased 11.5 percent for whey, 7.7 percent for egg-tuna-soy, and 4.6 percent for carbohydrate.

Discussing the findings, doctors said that diets with more protein earlier in the day and smaller dinners help people lose weight but the type of protein can improve results and help control blood sugar in type 2 diabetes.

Reference: Endocrine Society 98th Annual Meeting; Boston, April 1-4, 2016

Krill oil, circulation,  and cholesterol

In this two-part study, doctors wanted to test the effects of krill oil omega-3 on circulation and cholesterol. In part one, 47 men and women with type 2 diabetes, average age 65, took a placebo or 1,000 mg of krill oil omega-3s per day for four weeks. About three in four participants also had high blood pressure or imbalanced lipids.

After four weeks, while the placebo group had not changed, circulation had improved in the krill oil group, which saw an increase in the ability of blood vessels to relax and dilate.

A smaller group of 34 continued in the second part of the study, taking krill oil for 17 more weeks. HDL, the good cholesterol, increased on average to 49.09 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood from 43.48 mg/dL. HDL protects against circulatory diseases, particularly at levels above 60 mg/dL.

Reference: BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care; 2015, Vol. 3, e000107, Published Online

 Probiotics, blood sugar, and lipids

Doctors know the body needs a balance of microbes for good health. Those with type 2 diabetes usually have a microbial imbalance, called “dysbiosis.” In this study, 43 men and women with type 2 diabetes for at least one year took 120 grams of fermented milk per day, alone as a placebo or with the probiotics lactobacillus acidophilus La-5 and bifidobacterium animalis.

After six weeks, long-term average blood sugar, and total and LDL cholesterols had declined for the probiotics group while increasing for placebo. Measures of inflammation and insulin sensitivity improved in both groups, which doctors attributed to beneficial sugars and proteins in fermented milk.

Reference: Clinical Nutrition; December, 2015, Published Online

Betsy’s Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before beginning any supplement, especially if you take medications or have a medical condition. For example, most of the supplements mentioned in this article also thin blood, and fenugreek may be contraindicated with certain medications and medical conditions.

Article copyright 2016 by Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

*- See more at: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/americas-diabetes-challenge/?loc=db-slabnav?referrer=http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/?loc=db-slabnav#sthash.LVJ1ZPWU.dpuf