If you have type 2 diabetes, there is hope. Along with living an active lifestyle, there are nutritional strategies for diabetes support. There are 7 main health concerns for type 2 diabetes and how to manage them.
1. Healthy Antioxidant Levels:
The concern is that high levels of free radicals- unstable molecules that can cause damage to many of the body’s systems- are common in people with diabetes. Free radicals are not only a risk factor for diabetes, but they also contribute to long-term complications of the disease.
The strategy is to take antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and CoQ10 may protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. In turn, this supports the health of the entire body.
2. Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis Support:
The concern is that excess weight, which is common in people with type 2 diabetes, can put additional stress on the bones and joints. This can be a risk factor for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, a condition that can lead to decreased bone quality and an increased risk of fractures.
The strategy is to lose weight. But along with that, a calcium supplement combined with vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium, can support bone health. Long term use of a glucosamine supplement may slow the breakdown of joints and help with the pain associated with osteoarthritis. Chondroitin and MSM may also support joint health.
3. Blood Sugar Support:
The concern is that according to the American Diabetes Association, fasting blood glucose levels should range from 70 to 130 mg/dl for adults with diabetes, but many people struggle to stay within that range. Along with eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, monitoring blood sugar is important to managing the disease.
Some strategies to helping reduce blood glucose levels include taking a 500mg cinnamon capsule twice daily to help support healthy hemoglobin A1c levels. Supplementing with chromium picolinate can also help increase chromium levels in the body, which may support effective functioning of insulin and healthy blood sugar levels.
4. Cardiovascular Health:
The concern is that people with diabetes have an increased risk of heart disease. In fact, diabetes increases the risk of stroke 2 to 4 times over that of someone without diabetes. This is partially because diabetes and heart disease share many of the same risk factors.
Among the most important strategies to battle heart disease include regular exercise and a healthy diet. Taking a heart supportive supplement like the powerful antioxidant CoQ10 may help provide energy to the heart and reduce free radical damage. Omega-3 fish oil, krill oil, magnesium and vitamin D may also provide the building blocks for a healthy cardiovascular system.
5. Eye Health:
The concern is that diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults in the US according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Increased oxidation in the body can damage the eyes, affecting vision and increasing the risk of eye complications.
The strategy is to supplement with carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that are found in the eye, may provide vision support. Bilberry extract has also been shown to support healthy blood circulation, which may support the health of the retina for people with diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acids from eating more fish or taking a fish oil supplement, along with antioxidant packed blueberries, are good choices for supporting eye health too.
6. Healthy Blood Pressure:
The concern is that elevated blood pressure is common in people with diabetes and can increase the risk of stroke. The good news is that lowering your systolic (top number) blood pressure just 10 mmHg reduces the risk for all diabetes complications by up to 12 percent.
Strategies include a healthy diet, daily exercise and nutrients like omega-3 fish oil and B vitamins may help maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Supplementing with the amino acid L-arginine may also help support healthy blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes by widening the arteries.
7. Weight Management:
The concern is that 90 % of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. If you have pre- diabetes, weight loss and regular physical activity can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes and in some people, blood glucose levels may even return to normal. If you already have the disease, losing weight can help support healthy blood glucose levels.
Again strategies include regular exercise and eating a low- calorie diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy are great steps toward supporting a healthy weight. Since chromium plays an important role in processing carbohydrates and fats, supplementing with chromium picolinate may help support a healthy body weight. Green tea extract may also support metabolism and digestion by supporting the way the body converts fat into energy, which is important for weight management. Green tea extract can support insulin function by increasing the body’s ability to utilize blood sugar. And as a bonus, it supplies antioxidants to the body.
Whether you are newly diagnosed or have been living with diabetes for years, now is the perfect time to modify your lifestyle habits. Set the foundation with a healthy diet and exercise, and then add a targeted supplement to your regimen. Make sure with your pharmacist that these supplements do not interact with any medications you may be taking. Visit the American Diabetes Association’s website at www.diabetes.org for more information, tips, and resources for healthy living.