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 Diabetics
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 of us just don't get enough. So look for supplements that contain 400 I.U. (100% DV) of vitamin D.
• Vitamin E: An antioxidant, vitamin E helps remove free radicals that can cause cell damage over time. High blood sugar produces free radicals, and diabetics 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 problems.
• B Vitamins: Thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, folic acid, cyanocobalamin, pantothenic acid and biotin, all B-complex vitamins, can help decrease nerve damage (neuropathy) in diabetics. And they decrease blood sugar levels. Taking vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid can help you metabolize homocysteine, a protein associated with heart disease and increased risk of death of diabetics.
• Vitamin C: The benefits of vitamin C go on and on — decrease cardiovascular disease risks, strengthen your immune system, fight infections and stop blood vessel damage when taken in combination with insulin to control blood sugar. Diabetics should 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 With Vitamins
Talk to your doctor before you start taking any vitamins or dietary supplements to ensure that 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.