I strongly believe food is the best medicine. But in certain instances, a nutritional supplement can be helpful. Illness can affect the body’s ability to extract nutrients and enzymes from food. And a sick body needs extra nutrition to repair itself. People with medical conditions, such as diabetes, have unique requirements for nutrients that can boost healing.
Since poor diet causes many diseases, ill people may have difficulty improving their diet. A few key supplements can help. Just remember that these pills and capsules should supplement a healing diet, not replace it. The following 5 supplements are my top picks for healing and preventing diabetes.
1. Omega-3 Fish Oil
Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for normal metabolism. They include docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA slows the liver’s production of undesirable blood fats called triglycerides. Both EPA and DHA reduce inflammation. Omega-3s improve circulation, keep blood flowing smoothly and reduce the risk of clotting, lower blood pressure, help stabilize blood sugar, and diminish the symptoms of depression.
Coldwater fish such as wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, squid, and anchovies are the best food sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Even if you love to eat fish, it’s helpful to have an alternative. Fish oil supplements are loaded with the same healing EPA and DHA.
To get adequate EPA and DHA, your omega-3s must come from marine sources. Non-marine sources, including flax oil, flaxseed, borage oil, and evening primrose oil, just aren’t potent enough. If you’re vegan, you can get omega-3s from a phytoplankton supplement.
Like other supplements, fish oil capsules can be made from inferior products or contain undisclosed toxins. Visit FishOilSafety.com and the Fish Oil Supplements Guide for more information and to check your brand.
2. Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ10)
CoQ10 (also called QH, ubiquinol, or ubiquinone) is an important nutrient made in your cells’ mitochondria. A CoQ10 supplement improves your cells’ energy production and use. CoQ10 also helps your body burn fat, improves cholesterol, increases energy, and aids thyroid and pancreas function. It’s essential for heart health.
Studies show CoQ10 improves diabetic outcomes. Diabetes drugs limit the body’s CoQ10 production. So do other medications, such as antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, and statins. Inadequate CoQ-10 raises the risk of liver damage, irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, leg cramps, heart attack, and stroke.
3. Alpha-Lipoic Acid
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant and essential fatty acid. A healthy body produces adequate ALA. It’s also found in red meat, organ meats, and yeast. If you don’t eat these foods or are diabetic, ALA supplementation can be helpful.
ALA helps control blood sugar, repair nerve damage, and reduce associated pain. A German study found that diabetics who took ALA improved their insulin sensitivity by 27% after four weeks. A 2006 study showed that ALA reduced the pain of diabetic neuropathy after just two weeks.
4. Magnesium Citrate
Adequate magnesium is essential for healthy blood sugar and insulin activity. In fact, magnesium is critical in more than 300 metabolic functions. It also helps your body absorb vitamin D, a nutrient many diabetics lack.
Taking magnesium supplements can be challenging. They tend to be large and hard to digest. I like Natural Calm, a fruit-flavored powder that mixes easily in water. Another alternative is a magnesium chloride liquid skin spray (like Activation’s Magnesium Infusion).
5. Chromium Picolinate
Chromium can improve insulin sensitivity. It also helps normalize both high and low blood sugar. In addition, chromium supports optimal thyroid function. This activity aids the conversion of glucose to energy instead of storing it as fat.
How to Take Supplements
1. Consult your healthcare provider before taking supplements.
2. Keep supplements on your bathroom counter and at your workstation so they’re convenient to take.
3. Carefully follow the instructions on the label.
4. Divide and conquer. Take different supplements with each meal.
5. Track your supplement use with a log such as the HealthMinder journal.