According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 37 million children and adults in this country face the challenge of managing blood sugar in the wake of a diabetes diagnosis. 88 million of us have been diagnosed with prediabetes, putting them at greater risk to develop the disease. Below are findings from several studies on nutrients that hold promise in supporting blood sugar management.
Fish oil and zinc lower chances, improve diabetes factors
Fish oil lowers chances for type 2 diabetes
In this large, long-term study, doctors measured oily and non-oily fish in the diets of 163,706 men and women, aged 50 and older, who submitted one to five 24-hour diet diaries between 2009 and 2012.
Over an average of 10 years of follow-up, compared to those who ate no fish, those who ate fish less than once per week were 18 percent less likely to have developed type 2 diabetes. Those who got at least one serving of fish per week were 22 percent less likely.
Those who reported regularly taking fish oil supplements at the beginning of the study were 9 percent less likely to have developed type 2 diabetes compared to those who didn’t take fish oil supplements. Those who continued taking fish oil supplements throughout the study were 18 percent less likely compared to those who hadn’t taken fish oil supplements.
Reference: Diabetes Care; 2021, Vol. 44, No. 3, 672-80
Zinc improves glycemic control, insulin, and lipids
In this review of 27 studies covering 2,016 participants, daily 25 mg doses of zinc in studies of at least 12 weeks had greater benefit than shorter studies with higher doses.
In the low-dose studies, fasting blood sugar, insulin resistance, triglycerides, and total and LDL cholesterol levels all improved. In studies where daily zinc doses exceeded 25 mg, long-term average blood sugar levels (A1C), insulin resistance, and triglycerides all improved.
Shorter studies improved fasting blood sugar, insulin resistance, and triglycerides, while longer studies improved fasting and A1C levels, triglycerides, and total and LDL cholesterols.
Reference: Advances in Nutrition; 2021, Vol. 12, No. 1, 141–60
Nutrients reduced inflammatory factors and pain in type 2 diabetes
Vitamins D, E, and resveratrol
Vitamins D, delta-tocotrienol E, and resveratrol have cholesterol-reducing, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects, which doctors tested, separately and together, on metabolic markers in type 2 diabetes. In the first phase of the study, 120 participants took a placebo, or individually 10,000 IU of vitamin D, 500 mg of delta-tocotrienol, or 500 mg of resveratrol, half after breakfast, and half after dinner. In the second phase, 56 participants took a placebo or all three nutrients together, also twice per day.
All nutrients, separately or together, lowered fasting glucose an average of 11 percent. Those taking the nutrient combination saw long-term average glucose levels decline 10 percent; fasting insulin and insulin resistance decline 9 and 20 percent, respectively; and inflammatory factors high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and malondialdehyde down 23 and 20 percent, respectively.
Reference: Journal of Diabetes and Clinical Studies; 2021, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1-16
Vitamin K2 reduced neuropathy
There are two reasons people typically get nerve damage in the extremities, called peripheral neuropathy: diabetes and vitamin B12 deficiency, both common in the U.S. In this study, adults with peripheral neuropathy, 36 with type 2 diabetes, and 28 with B12 deficiency, took a placebo or 100 mcg of vitamin K2 twice per day.
After eight weeks, the vitamin K2 group self-assessed symptom scores of pain, tingling, burning, prickling, numbness, weakness, and general fatigue declined to 3-4 from 8-9 on a scale of 1-10, regardless of whether participants had diabetes or B12 deficiency. Four weeks after stopping vitamin K2, symptom scores averaged 2.
Reference: ECronicon Neurology; 2021, Vol. 13, No. 8, 1-10
BetsyHealth 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 trying a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, take prescription or over-the-counter medications, or are planning on having surgery.
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