Diabetes interferes with how your body processes sugar and actually changes how it absorbs or metabolizes certain vitamins. As a result, not getting proper nutrition or suffering a vitamin deficiency can worsen your condition.

Key vitamins for you

Every person is different. Depending on your particular treatment regimen, certain vitamins and minerals may benefit your health:

  • Vitamin D. Increasing your vitamin D intake can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes and reduce complications from this disease. Vitamin D can also help increase your sensitivity to insulin. Sunlight is a great source, but many people in the United States don't get enough. So look for supplements that contain 400 I.U. (100% daily value [DV]) of vitamin D.

  • Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps remove free radicals, which can cause cell damage over time. High blood sugar produces free radicals, and you may already suffer from lower than normal levels of vitamin E. However, take caution with vitamin E supplements. Doses above 400 I.U. can cause blood clotting issues.

  • B vitamins. Thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, folic acid, cyanocobalamin, pantothenic acid, and biotin, all B-complex vitamins, can help decrease nerve damage (neuropathy) in people with diabetes. And they also decrease blood sugar levels. Taking vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid can help you metabolize homocysteine, a protein associated with heart disease and an increased risk of death in those with diabetes.

  • Vitamin C. The benefits of vitamin C include a decrease in cardiovascular disease risks, a strengthened immune system, and stopping blood vessel damage when taken in combination with insulin to control blood sugar. Take between 200 and 500 mg of vitamin C as a single supplement. If you take a multivitamin, look for one with at least 60 mg of vitamin C (100% DV).

Safety first

Talk to your doctor before you start taking any vitamins or dietary supplements to ensure they are safe to have in combination with your prescribed medications. If you take too many vitamins, it could be as dangerous as having a vitamin deficiency.

To learn more about this topic:
Can Vitamin D Deficiency Affect Diabetes Health?
Thiamine Essential for Diabetics
Natural Supplements for People with Diabetes