Supplements for Reducing Blood Sugar
Scientists are constantly testing supplements to find out which ones can help lower blood sugar levels. Because of this, new supplements are found quite regularly. Here are a couple supplements that are tried and proven to help lower blood sugar levels.
Cinnamon supplements help your body’s cells respond better to insulin, allowing sugar into your cells and lowering your blood sugar. Taking 250mg of cinnamon extract before breakfast and before your dinner for three straight months will decrease blood sugar levels, even in those with type 2 diabetes.
American ginseng is another one that improves the cells’ response to insulin. Taking a gram two hours before each main meal will bring your blood sugar levels closer to where they should be. Be sure not to take American ginseng with immunosuppressant drugs, as it stimulates your immune system and might counteract the effects of the drugs.
Probiotics reduce inflammation and prevents the destruction of pancreatic cells which make insulin, which in turn can help lower blood sugar levels. Try taking a probiotic with a combination of species, like B. bifidum, L. rhamnosus, and L. acidophilus.
Aloe vera, along with a few other mechanisms, stimulates the production of insulin in pancreatic cells. It also has a great deal of other nutrients and benefits and is a recommendable supplement to take regularly, unless you are taking heart medicine, particularly digoxin.
Berberine is a compound taken from stems and roots of plants like phellondendron and goldenseal. It has a bitter taste, but improves insulin sensitivity and enhances the uptake of sugar from your blood to your muscles.
Vitamin D is an important vitamin, and the lack of it can be a catalyst towards type 2 diabetes. To decide what dosage is best for you, get a vitamin D blood test and ask your doctor what would be best for your specific case.
Gymnema is an herb used in India as a traditional treatment for diabetes. Its Hindu name, “gurmar,” even means “sugar destroyer.” It reduces sugar absorption in the gut and promotes the uptake of sugar from your blood to your cells.
Magnesium can also help battle high blood sugar, and a lack of magnesium has been shown to lead to type 2 diabetes. It helps your body secrete and absorb insulin properly.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid, or ALA, is a powerful antioxidant which is produced in the liver. You can also find it in food like broccoli, red meat and spinach. ALA improves insulin sensitivity and the uptake of sugar from your blood to your cells. It’s not uncommon for it to take several months to feel the effects, however.
What is a Good Blood Sugar Level?
When our bodies can’t handle the transportation of sugar from blood into cells it results in high blood sugar. If not dealt with, high blood sugar can lead to diabetes. A body with diabetes either does not produce sufficient insulin or is not able to correctly use the insulin created, causing glucose to accumulate in the blood. With high levels of glucose blood come a range of unpleasant and dangerous symptoms, such as heart disease and exhaustion.
After fasting, or not eating for a long time (8 hours), it’s normal for blood sugar levels to be less than 100 mg/dL. Within two hours after eating, however, blood sugar levels should be less than 140 mg/dL. Throughout the course of the day, blood sugar levels reach their lowest right before meal time. Levels tend to be around 70 to 80 mg/dL before meals for most people who don’t have diabetes. But it may vary, for example for one person 60 might be normal, while for others, 90 is normal.
Maintaining a healthy diet is one very good way to control blood sugar levels. For the most part, food and drinks that our bodies can absorb slowly are ideal since they won’t cause dips and spikes in blood sugar levels.
We measure the effects specific food has on blood sugar levels using the glycemic index (GI). Food with medium or low GI scores are the best for people who are trying to keep their blood sugar levels under control. Sometimes pairing food that has low GI scores with food containing high GI scores can give you a balanced meal.
Following are some of the best types of food recommended for people who are trying to keep their blood sugar at healthy levels.
- Whole wheat bread and pumpernickel bread have low GI scores, which is completely opposite of most kinds of bread which have very high carbohydrate content which rapidly raise blood sugar levels.
Stone-ground whole wheat bread and pumpernickel bread use ingredients that go through far less processing than other types of bread. When ingredients are processed, the outer shell of cereals and grains are removed. Those fibers that re removed serve to stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Most fruits besides pineapples and melons have GI scores as low as 55 and sometimes even less. Most fruit contains a good deal of water and fiber which balances out the fructose, or natural sugar, they have.
It’s important to take note that the riper the fruit, the higher the GI score. Fruit juices have significantly higher scores than raw fruit, since the seeds and fibrous skins have been removed.
- Sweet potatoes and yams have low GI scores. Do not confuse them with regular potatoes, whose GI score is pretty high. Some research even shows that the flesh of sweet potatoes has more fiber than the skin. Substituting regular potatoes with sweet ones when making fries or casseroles is a good idea if you’re trying to watch your blood sugar levels.
- Oats have a low GI score of 55, sometimes even lower. This makes them unlikely to cause blood sugar levels to dip or spike. Besides that, oats are all-round very nutritious and contain B-glucans which reduce insulin and glucose responses after eating as well as improve sensitivity to insulin and help maintain glycemic control.
- Nuts are rich in many nutrients and also have a low GI score. They have high levels of plant proteins, antioxidant vitamins, minerals like potassium and magnesium, and unsaturated fatty acids.
- Beans, chickpeas, lentils, and peas also have very low GI scores and have a high content of fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates. Try and stay away from legume products that have simple starches and added sugars, like the ones you find in sauces, marinades, or syrups.
Metabolism of Glucose
The body needs energy for its organs to function properly. Some tissues also have the ability to use protein or fat as a source of energy, but some others, like red blood cells and the brain, can only glean energy off of glucose.
Glucose is kept in our bodies, mainly in the liver, in the form of glycogen. The body mobilizes and converts glycogen to glucose through gluconeogenesis when the concentration of glucose in the blood is low. Non-carbohydrate precursors like pyruvate, glycerol and amino acids can also produce glucose through gluconeogenesis.
It is important for us to take good care of our bodies through watching what we eat and taking certain precautions to control our blood sugar levels.
Exercising regularly helps you lose weight which in turn increases insulin sensitivity. This means your cells will be better able to use the sugar already available in your bloodstream, putting it to good use powering your muscles and giving you energy which keeps it from causing harm to your body. A few good forms of exercise are swimming, running, dancing, hiking, biking and weight lifting.
Our bodies break down carbohydrates into sugars, like glucose, which is then moved by insulin into cells. Eating too many carbs can cause this process to fail due to an overload in glucose, causing blood sugar levels to rise. You can keep a handle on this by making sure you don’t eat too much food that is high in carbs, such as potatoes, bread, pizza, pasta, or other dough-based foods with white flower and yeast.
The digestion of carbs and absorption of sugar can also be slowed by in-taking fibers. There are two different types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is the key fiber to lowering blood sugar levels. Having a diet high in fiber can even help you manage type 1 diabetes and improve your blood sugar control.
Drinking water regularly and staying hydrated also helps keep your blood sugar level from reaching unhealthy limits. It help our kidneys flush out excess sugar from the blood through urine. Beverages with calories or sugar will not function the same as water and cannot be used as a substitute. As a matter of fact, they will have the opposite effect.
There are a lot of things you can do, as well as a lot of supplements you can take, to ensure your blood sugar levels stay healthy. Consult your physician and try a combination of methods that work for you. But most importantly, make sure your diet and exercise are on point, as this will help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels a whole lot easier.