Diabetes is a condition in which the level of sugar in the blood is too high. Having high blood sugar can be dangerous as it can lead to complications with the heart, eyes, nerves, kidneys and feet. In order to prevent complications from occurring, it’s important for people with diabetes to take measures to control the condition and keep blood sugar at a healthy level. Supplements are becoming more and more popular among people who want to lose weight or add extra vitamins and minerals to their diet.
People with certain health conditions may also take supplements to relieve symptoms or stock up on key nutrients their bodies may be lacking.
As well as vitamins and minerals, key nutrients found in supplements can include amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and digestive enzymes.
They are available in various forms, including tablets, capsules, powders and liquids.
So what about people with diabetes? Are there supplements you can take to lower blood sugar and control diabetes symptoms?
According to Diabetes.co.uk, there is currently “insufficient scientific evidence” to suggest dietary supplements can help prevent or many diabetes, unless there is a known deficiency.
“Dietary supplements are appropriate for people who have a clinical need for them. This may include nutrient deficiencies or if people have a condition that requires supplements to compensate,” said Diabetes.co.uk.
Several studies have assessed the benefits of dietary supplements for diabetes management, according to the diabetes expert, but none have conferred “strong benefits”.
This means there are currently no supplements that have been shown to directly benefit diabetes.
Diabetes.co.uk therefore recommends that supplements are only taken if there is a clinical need for them, such as a nutrient deficiency.
“Dietary supplements are products that can help us get the right balance of important nutrients in our diets,” said the diabetes expert.
“They are designed to supplement a diet, and should not be used as a replacement for healthy foods which provide a rich, natural source of essential nutrients.”
“It’s best to consult your doctor before taking a supplement to ensure it will be appropriate and to prevent side effects from occurring or any interactions with medication you are currently taking.”
Instead, health professionals advise people with diabetes to follow a healthy, balanced diet in order to control blood sugar.
This involves limiting the amount of sugar, calories, saturated fat and high GI carbohydrates consumed.
Instead, these should be replaced with fruit and vegetables, fibre and protein.
People with diabetes are also advised to exercise regularly and keep to a healthy weight in order to minimise the risk of complications.