Ask the Wellness Educator
Reducing Blood-Sugar Levels
I am not diabetic but would like to reduce my blood-sugar levels. What do you recommend that I change in my diet and supplements?
Dr. Jen's Answer:
It's very wise to be aware of blood-sugar levels and keep them stable because type-II diabetes can develop as we age. The biggest risk is having long periods of insulin resistance, which is the decreased ability of certain cells to recognize normal amounts of insulin, "tricking" the body into producing more of it. Insulin is responsible for transporting sugar and protein into cells. Eventually, this over-production exhausts the cells in the pancreas that produce it, causing blood sugar to rise, resulting in a diagnosis of diabetes.
Weight loss (if you are overweight) and exercise will help decrease insulin resistance and lower blood-sugar. A diet low in carbohydrates and high in protein and healthy fats is also essential in order to reduce blood-sugar levels. Avoid processed foods and eat plenty of plant-based foods as your largest source of calories. Supplements also help reduce blood sugar and prevent complications. Here are some of the top nutrients and herbs you should focus on:
• Alpha lipoic acid: A powerful antioxidant known to improve insulin sensitivity. It also prevents or slows kidney damage and improves symptoms of diabetic neuropathy (nerve pain). Recommendation: 600-1,200 mg/day.
• Magnesium: May improve insulin production. Many people are deficient in this key mineral. Recommendation: 200-600 mg/day.
• Vitamin E and Vitamin C: If you have low levels of vitamin E, you are more likely to develop diabetes. Taking both antioxidants is more effective than just one. They are shown to improve insulin resistance and decrease damage to nerves, eyes, and kidneys. Recommendation: 800 IU/day Vitamin E and 1-3 grams of vitamin C.
• Gymnema: This herb stimulates the pancreas to secrete more insulin and increases cell sensitivity to insulin when given at 800 mg/day.
• Protein Drinks: These can help stabilize blood sugar when you don't have time for a meal, or if you aren't getting enough protein from your diet.
• Psyllium: Fiber, such as psyllium, helps reduce high cholesterol, which is common among those with diabetes. It also lowers blood sugar levels.
• B vitamins (Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12): All are shown to help reduce blood sugar. Type II diabetes is very preventable and treatable with these simple lifestyle adjustments and supportive supplements.