You or someone you know is likely to be affected by diabetes. World Diabetes Day this week calls on each of us to "promote action to prevent or delay the complications of diabetes". The complications of diabetes are mainly related to the damage of high blood sugar levels to the blood vessels. The result of this damage includes loss of sight, limbs and life.
About 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. Much is known about how you can avoid getting Type 2 diabetes. Less is known about why Type 1 diabetes occurs, it is much harder to maintain stable blood sugar levels, even with insulin. But in both cases you can take action to support your body, so giving yourself the best chance of avoiding or lessening the severity of the complications.
In previous articles I have discussed foods; so let's look at important nutrients.
Recent studies highlight the problems of relying solely on medication to manage Type 2 diabetes. Metformin, a drug used widely to control the blood sugar levels for Type 2 diabetes depletes the body of Vitamin B12. Studies recommend the use of supplementation and regular tests rather that stop the drug. Metformin can reduce folic acid as well as Vitamin B12. Low levels of these two B vitamins result in high homocysteine levels. High homocysteine and low vitamin B12 levels in diabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular complications and kidney damage. Raised homocysteine levels tend to happen if diabetes is poorly controlled and blood sugar levels are high and nutrients such as folic acid and Vitamin B12, vitamin B6 are low, supplementation with these nutrients decrease homocysteine.
Deficiency of chromium is occurs in Type 2 Diabetes especially if diabetic cataracts have developed. Insulin resistance happens when the body produces insulin but does not use it properly, resulting in high blood sugars. When insulin resistance occurs Type 2 Diabetes may develop. Chromium can help people with insulin resistance by helping to lower blood sugar levels. Food State chromium is very effective; reducing blood sugar levels by 16.8%, compared to only 6% with chromium chloride. Combining chromium with other nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Zinc increases its helpful effects. If I use supplements I recommend the Entire Katoa Food State range for the optimum absorption, low dose and low toxicity.
The antioxidants, Vitamin E, Zinc, and Vitamin C prevent damage from diabetes. This protection is increased if they are taken after meals. Research demonstrates the importance of Zinc; which is likely to be low in diabetics. Food State Vitamin C was found to be effective in reducing signs of complications of diabetes.
A study lasting 27 years showed that people with low levels of Vitamin E and beta-carotene are more likely to develop insulin resistance which can lead to diabetes. When diabetes is poorly controlled Vitamin E can help protect the body from damage caused by high blood sugar levels. Scientific studies are exploring the possibility that Vitamin E may protect against Type 1 Diabetes.
Selenium is an important antioxidant, the role is has to play in protecting the body from the damage of diabetes is controversial. In New Zealand we have particularly low levels of selenium, so it is likely to be needed for diabetics here.
Original Article October 2011
Copyright Jaine Kirtley