If you are diabetic, you may have heard about diabetic supplements. But, how much of this is truth and how much hype. After all, does a diabetic need supplements? Why?

Diabetics need to keep their blood sugar levels down. In most cases, diabetics may also need to lose weight. That means, they have to make sure that their diet does not contain excess of sugar, salt, carbs, proteins or fats. Due to strict diet control and due to changes in metabolism brought about by diabetes, it is only natural that patients do not get sufficient amounts of micro and macro nutrients from their diet.

For instance, most people with diabetes are unable to metabolize Vitamin C efficiently. This is because Vitamin C is transported Reversirol into the cells by insulin. So, insulin impaired cells cannot metabolize Vitamin C.

From the above example, it is clear that diabetics require nutritional supplements for effective management of their condition. Some of the important diabetic supplements include:

1.Chromium: It is believed that low levels of chromium in the body could lead to insulin resistance. Therefore, chromium supplements play an important role in improving insulin sensitivity.

2.Omega 3 fatty acids: These polyunsaturated fatty acids are vital for health as these help prevent heart diseases in diabetic patients. Omega 3 may be ingested through natural foods like fish, fish oil and vegetable oils. Tofu, soyabeans, walnuts and flaxseed are rich in Omega 3. However, it is recommended that patients take in Omega 3 supplements through capsules at least twice a week (American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association).

3.Magnesium: Diabetics generally have low amounts of magnesium in their body. The lack of magnesium may impact the heart, nerves, muscles and bones. Although magnesium is found naturally in vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains, most patients need supplementation in low doses. It must be remembered that magnesium must be taken in after consulting with a doctor as it can react with other medicines.

4.Alpha-Lipolic Acid (ALA): This is similar to vitamins and is a nutrient that releases antioxidants into the body. In the absence of antioxidants, free radicals may be released into the blood, and this has negative effects on health. Sufficient amounts of ALA could improve insulin sensitivity, prevent diabetic neuropathy and aid weight loss. Naturally found in foods like spinach, broccoli, liver and potatoes, ALA supplements have to be taken in as capsules.

5.Digestive enzymes: Digestive enzymes are beneficial because they help break down food in the body. This increase nutrient absorption and improves overall health.

6.Natural Vitamin E: Very useful as an antioxidant that eliminates free radicals in the body. The natural form of this supplement is more desirable.