Supplements For Diabetes
Supplements are usually formulated around a combination of the following ‘diabetic vitamins and minerals, specialty nutrients and supporting herbal extras with perhaps only one or two of the above key herbals included:
• Valeriana wallichii extras
• Milk Thistle extras
• Alpha lipoic acid
Effective diabetes supplements must be good multi taskers!
A broad spectrum of efficious and compatible ingredients addresses not only the first two of these key aims but also helps protect organs from serious associated disease:
• kidney failure
• heart disease and stroke
• high blood pressure
• non-traumatic amputations
• High cholesterol
• Nervous system damage
• cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and blindness
by enhancing immune system reactions and antioxidant action.
The general types of imbalances at the source of most chronic conditions, including diabetes, include:
• Accumulating toxins
• Poor nutrition
• Poor digestion
• Nervous system imbalance
• A lowered natural resistance (immune system damage)
• Disruption of natural biological and hormonal rhythms
This is where supplements form an integral part of natural cures for diabetes because unlike drugs there are no dangerous side effects and –
They address the root cause of the problem! (E2)
Diabet-Eze has 31 precise bioavailable compounds all of which play a specific role in helping achieve the desired results. Some encourage beta-cell regeneration, whereas others help with blood sugar controls, and yet others help improve glucose metabolism and glycogen synthesis in the liver.
Niacin , Biotin , Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc , Selenium , Copper , Manganese , Chromium, Molybdenum, Bitter melon extras (from Momordica charantia, fruit) , Gymnema extras (from (Gymnema sylvestre, leaf) (providing of gymnemic acid) , Green tea extras (from Camellia sinensis, leaf) (providing of catechins) , Milk thistle extras (from Silybum marianum, seed) (providing of silymarins) , Indian kino tree extras (from Pterocarpus marsupium, stem) (a source of pterostilbene) , Quercetin (from Saphorae japonica, flower), Valerian extras (from Valerian officianale, root) (providing 1.8 mg of valerenic acid) , Rutin (from Saphorae japonica, bud), Luteolin (from Arachis hypogaea (Peanut), shell) , Inositol , Banaba extras (from Lagerstroemia speciosa, leaf) (providing of corosolic acid) , Betain HCL , Bromelain (from pineapple stem), Myricetin (from Myrica cerifera (Bayberry), leaf) , Alpha lipoic acid , Amylase (from fermentation of Aspergillus oryzae) , Lipase (from fermentation of Aspergillus niger) MSM (Methyl sulfonyl methane) , Black cumin extras (Nigella sativa, seed), (equivalent to 114 mg of Black cumin seeds) , Piperine (from Piper nigrum (Black pepper), fruit) , Tungsten.
Diabet-Eze contains 31 bio-available compounds, including enzymes, minerals, herbal extrass, and specialty supplements, each of which plays a specific role in helping to bring about the desired results. (E1)
Chromium and Biotin: The combined benefits of these two nutrients for diabetics are well known with studies suggesting that they can help improve glycemic control in overweight to obese individuals with type II diabetes.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA): Apart from helping to repair damaged tissues and peripheral nerves, ALA also improves glucose metabolism by increasing insulin sensitivity. It is thought to improve blood flow in the tiny blood vessels surrounding nerves.
Gymnema Sylvestre: There is scientific evidence of the effectiveness of this herb in both types I and II diabetes as it helps to improve blood sugar control and to raise insulin levels, possibly by regenerating insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. It is also known to lower serum cholesterol and triglycerides, which help in preventing diabetes-associated diseases.
Luteolin: A natural flavonoid with strong anti-diabetic activity, Luteolin contains anti-hyperglycemic agents that can reduce the rise of post-prandial blood glucose. Due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and vaso-protective properties, it can also help to prevent diabetes complications.
Momordica Charantia (Bitter Melon): This nutrient helps to regulate glucose uptake in the body, producing a response similar to that of insulin. It is helpful in improving glucose tolerance and glycogen synthesis in the liver, as well as in regenerating beta-cell function in the pancreas.
Myricetin: This naturally occurring flavonoid mimics insulin stimulation and glucose transportation and is important in lowering plasma glucose.
Pterocarpus Marsupium: Long used as a diabetes aid in India, this potent flavonoid is mimetically similar to insulin and has been shown to help regenerate beta cells in the pancreas as well as control blood sugar levels.
Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin): A number of studies have concluded that Black Cumin plays a significant role in increasing glucose-induced insulin release from the pancreas islets.
Quercetin and Rutin: Quercetin may help to control diabetes by enhancing insulin secretion and inhibiting an enzyme associated with glucose conversion into sorbitol, which has been implicated in the development of many diabetic complications, including neuropathy and retinopathy. It also helps to protect the eye lens from high glucose damage as well as the pancreas beta-cells from free radical damage.
Banaba extras (Corosolic Acid): A mimic for insulin, Corosolic acid is important in the transportation of glucose into tissue cells. It is an essential part of the metabolic process required for the conversion of dietary elements into energy.
Selenium: An anti-oxidant mineral, selenium, when combined with Vitamin E, has a significant protective effect against diabetes-associated oxidative damage in the blood, liver, and muscles.
Sulfur (MSM): A component of insulin as well as glucokinase (the enzyme involved in glucose utilization), sulfur plays an important role in balancing blood sugar levels. A deficiency of sulfur in the diet can result in low production of biologically active insulin. Studies have indicated that MSM improves cell permeability and therefore cellular glucose uptake, thereby balancing blood sugar levels and returning the pancreas to normal function. (E3)
Numerous studies have found that chromium is helpful in glucose management. (Aschwanden 2000) Indeed, a deficiency in this mineral can interfere with the production and utilization of insulin. A chromium deficiency can result in three conditions directly related to blood sugar: high blood sugar levels (hyperlycemia), an inability of the cells to pick up and use blood sugar (impaired glucose tolerance), and higher insulin levels.
Chromium actually mimics insulin. It is thought to improve the processing of insulin, especially in people with prediabetic tendencies. It increases the ability of insulin to bind to cells and leads to increased insulin sensitivity of body tissue. (Anderson 1998) This means that the body better absorbs and uses the blood sugar. In other words, chromium helps the insulin get to more cells, which allows more blood sugar to enter the cells. Doubleblind studies show that chromium improves glucose tolerance levels. The major benefit of chromium is seen when it is used in combination with exercise as it has been shown to help regulate the body’s use of glycogen, or stored sugar. (Mindell and Hopkins 1997)
Although as early as 1899 it was found that a form of vanadium resulted in a decrease in blood sugar levels, it was not until the late 1970s that vanadium’s insulin-like action was first described. Vanadium may activate insulin receptors—making the cells more receptive to insulin— and through this, exert insulin-like action.
This has been supported in two small clinical trials. In one, eight patients with Type II diabetes received 50 mg of vanadium sulfate two times per day for four weeks. The abstract of this study notes that the vanadium was welltolerated and resulted in modest reductions of blood sugar and hepatic insulin resistance. (Boden et al. 1996)
In another small trial, six patients with Type II diabetes were given vanadium. The authors note that after three weeks, insulin sensitivity was improved. (Cohen et al. 1995) In another trial, the effects of vanadium were compared in moderately obese nondiabetic and Type II diabetic subjects. The authors note in their abstract that “In conclusion, small oral doses of vanadyl sulfate do not alter insulin sensitivity in nondiabetic subjects, but it does improve both hepatic and skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity in NIDDM [Type II] subjects in part by enhancing insulin’s inhibitory effect on the breaking down of fats. These data suggest that vanadyl sulfate [vanadium] may improve a defect in insulin signaling specific to NIDDM.” (Halberstam 1996)
Vanadium is also thought to decrease hypersecretion of insulin. (Head 1997)
Bitter melon does much the same as chromium: it improves the processing of insulin, thereby improving glucose tolerance levels—that is, the body’s ability to get the blood sugar into the cells.
In one small study, using 100 ml of bitter melon juice was found to improve glucose tolerance by 73 percent in a standard glucose tolerance test. (Welihinda 1986) In another small study, an aqueous extras of bitter melon fruit was found to decrease blood sugar levels by 54 percent. (Srivistava 1993) In another study, bitter melon was shown to reduce blood sugar by improving glucose utilization by the liver. (Sarkar 1996)
Bitter melon also has an important additional benefit: at least one animal study has noted that bitter melon fruit juice results in an increase in the number of beta cells—the cells that produce insulin—in the pancreas of diabetic rats when compared with untreated diabetic rats. The authors of the study suggest that bitter melon may cause a renewal and recovery of the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. (Ahmed 1998)
Gymnema sylvestre also helps raise insulin levels, notably in the pancreas, thereby lowering blood glucose levels.
Gymnema has been used with patients suffering from both Type I and Type II diabetes. In one study with 27 Type I diabetic patients, the Gymnema extras reduced the insulin requirements and lowered the fasting blood glucose levels. The abstract notes that Gymnema extras enhances the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin, possibly by regeneration/revitalization of the residual beta cells in Type I diabetes. (Shanmugasundaram and Rajeswari 1990)
An animal study supports this. In diabetic rat pancreas, extrass of Gymnema were able to double the islet number (clumps of pancreatic cells) and beta cell number (insulin-producing cells). These results show that Gymnema may improve the health of the pancreas. (Shanmugasundaram and Gopinath 1990)
As far as Type II diabetes goes, in one study, Gymnema extras was administered for 18 to 20 months to 22 Type II diabetic patients taking conventional medication. All the patients showed a significant reduction in blood sugar levels, and five of the 22 diabetic patients were able to maintain their blood sugar levels without conventional drugs. Similar to the above studies, the results also showed higher levels of insulin in the blood, indicating that the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas may be regenerated/ repaired in Type II diabetic patients on Gymnema supplementation. (Baskaran 1990) (E1)
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that is manufactured in the human body. Antioxidants are substances that work by attacking “free radicals,” waste products created when the body turns food into energy. There are also many sources of free radicals in the environment such as ultraviolet rays, radiation, and toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke, car exhaust, and pesticides. Free radicals cause harmful chemical reactions that can damage cells in the body, making it harder for the body to fight off infections. As a result a person becomes more susceptible to long term diseases such as diabetes and liver damage.
Alpha-lipoic acid works together with other antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. It is important for growth, helps to prevent cell damage, and helps the body rid itself of harmful substances. Several studies suggest that treatment with ALA may help reduce pain, burning, itching, tingling, and numbness in people who have nerve damage (called peripheral neuropathy) caused by diabetes. Alpha-lipoic acid has been used for years for this purpose in Europe.
Other studies have shown that alpha-lipoic acid speeds the removal of glucose (sugar) from the blood of people with diabetes and that this antioxidant may prevent kidney damage associated with diabetes in animals. Several studies suggest that treatment with ALA may help reduce pain, burning, itching, tingling, and numbness in people who have nerve damage (called peripheral neuropathy) caused by diabetes. Alpha-lipoic acid has been used for years for this purpose in Europe. Other studies have shown that alpha-lipoic acid speeds the removal of glucose (sugar) from the blood of people with diabetes and that this antioxidant may prevent kidney damage associated with diabetes in animals.
The spice capsicum, the fruits of the genus Capsicum (Family Solanaceae), is a very popular food additive in many parts of the world, valued for the important sensory attributes of color, pungency, and aroma. A large number of varieties of cayenne pepper are widely cultivated and traded. The characteristic cartenoids of the bright red paprika and cayenne-type chilies, the high character impact aroma stimuli, the methoxy pyrazine of green bell capsicum, the esters of ripe tabasco and the highly potent pungency stimuli, and the capsaicinoids of African and other Asian varieties of chillies, have been of great interest to chemists and biochemists.
Cayenne contains carotenoids and capsaicinoids. In patients suffering from Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas fails to produce sufficient levels of insulin, causing inflammation and death of insulin-producing islet cells in the pancreas.Experts have long believed that the condition was caused by the body’s immune system turning against itself, but the Toronto researchers, immunologist Dr. Hans Michael Dosch and pain expert Dr. Michael Salter, theorized that faulty pancreatic pain neurons could be to blame. Dosch had observed in previous research that islet cells in diabetics were surrounded by an “enormous” number of pain nerves that signaled the brain that the pancreatic tissue was damaged. To test their theory, Dosch and Salter injected capsaicin into mice that had Type 1 diabetes, to kill the animals’ pancreatic pain nerves. The researchers said they were stunned to discover that the injected mice’s islet cells began producing insulin normally almost immediately. “I couldn’t believe it,” Salter said. “Mice with diabetes suddenly didn’t have diabetes anymore.”
According to some studies, cinnamon may improve blood glucose and cholesterol levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. The results of a study from 2003 in Pakistan showed lower levels of fasting glucose, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol after 40 days with levels continuing to drop for 20 days after that. The study was made up of 60 people with Type 2 diabetes who were divided into six groups of ten. Three groups received cinnamon in the form of capsules totaling 1, 3 or 6 grams of cinnamon a day. The other three groups received placebo capsules. The capsules were taken three times a day, after meals. All three levels of cinnamon showed results, leading researchers to believe that as little as 1 gram a day of cinnamon may benefit people who have Type 2 diabetes. There has been some debate in this country on whether “true” cinnamon was used for the study.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are two types of cinnamon sold in the United States; cinnamomum zeylanicum or cinnamomum cassia (L.) blume. Most of the cinnamon sold in our grocery stores is cinnamomum cassia. The Pakistani study does list cinnamomum cassia as the cinnamon that was used. Richard A. Anderson, Ph.D., CNS, of the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC), is one of the original researchers in the Pakistan study. The BHNRC is under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). From results of his continued study of the components of cinnamon and their effect on blood glucose and cholesterol, he states: “We have also shown that the active components of cinnamon are found in the water-soluble portion of cinnamon and are not present in cinnamon oil, which is largely fat-soluble.”
Based on these studies, it seems that cinnamon may lower blood glucose, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol in people with Type 2 diabetes. The fact that studies so far have involved a small amount of people and have not yet explored the long term benefits of cinnamon, would lead to the conclusion that there may not be enough evidence gathered yet, to support cinnamon as a major player against Type 2. But adding more cinnamon to already healthy lifestyle changes probably wouldn’t hurt either.
Also, to be safe, if you have high blood pressure or heart trouble, avoid large amounts of licorice. The overconsumption of candies containing licorice extract has caused some people to develop symptoms of edema, or swelling, and related problems. Large amounts of licorice should be avoided since the herb can deplete your body of potassium, causing an electrolyte imbalance. Advanced DiabeCare employs a small amount of licorice, 25 mg as a stomach soothing aid and to assist absorption of the other ingredients. If you have advanced kidney disease or have problems retaining potassium, licorice should be avoided. In all cases seek the advice of your regular healthcare provider.
BITTER MELON EXTRACT
The blood lowering action of the fresh juice of the unripe Bitter Melon has been confirmed in scientific studies in animals and humans. At least three different groups of constituents in Bitter Melon have been reported to have hypoglycemic (blood sugar lowering) or other actions of potential benefit in diabetes mellitus. These include a mixture of steroidal saponins known as charantin, insulin-like peptides, and alkaloids. It is still unclear which of these is most effective or if all three work together. Nonetheless, Bitter Melon preparations have been shown to significantly improve glucose tolerance without increasing blood insulin levels, and to improve fasting blood glucose levels.
Rich in iron, bitter melon has twice the beta carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, twice the potassium of bananas, and contains vitamins C and B 1 to 3, phosphorus and good dietary fiber. It is believed to be good for the liver and has been proven by western scientists to contain insulin, act as an anti-tumor agent, and inhibit HIV-1 infection. At least 32 active constituents have been identified in bitter melon so far, including beta-sitosterol-d-glucoside, citrulline, GABA, lutein, lycopene and zeaxanthin. Nutritional analysis reveals that bitter melon is also rich in potassium, calcium, iron, beta-carotene, vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C. Even more effective than a conventional drug in lowering blood sugar! Recently, the Department of Health in the Philippines has recommended bitter melon as one of the best herbal medicines for diabetic management. And multiple clinical studies have clearly established the role of bitter melon in people with diabetes.
Scientists have now identified three groups of constituents that are thought to be responsible for its ‘blood sugar lowering’ action. One of these, a compound called charantin, which is composed of mixed steroids, was found to be more effective than the oral hypoglycemic drug, tolbutamide, in reducing blood sugar. Another, an insulin-like polypeptide, called polypeptide P, appears to lower blood sugar in type I (insulin dependent) diabetics, while alkaloids present in the fruit have also been noted to have a blood sugar lowering effect. As yet, researchers are unclear as to which of these compounds is most effective or if it is the synergistic effect of all three. Further research is required to understand how these compounds actually work. Compounds known as oleanolic acid glycosides have been found to improve glucose tolerance in Type II (maturity onset) diabetics by preventing the absorption of sugar from the intestines. Bitter melon has also been reported to increase the number of beta cells (cells that secrete insulin) in the pancreas, thereby improving your body’s capability to produce insulin (insulin promotes the uptake of sugar from your blood by cells and tissues).
CHROMIUM – AMINO ACID CHELATE (PICOLINATE)
Chromium is an essential trace mineral that occurs naturally in small amounts in some foods, including brewer’s yeast, lean meat, cheese, pork kidney and whole grain bread and cereals. It is poorly absorbed by the human body but is known to play an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat and protein. Several reports have indicated that chromium picolinate is better absorbed by humans than other forms of the mineral. The review, co-authored by Philip Domenico from Nutrition 21 who produces chromium picolinate supplements, is a timely summary of the state-of-play for the mineral that could offer significant benefits to the growing number of diabetics. An estimated 39 million people are affected by diabetes in the US and EU 25.
The total costs in the US alone are thought to be as much as $132 billion, with $92 billion being direct costs from medication, according to 2002 American Diabetes Association figures. C. Leigh Broadhurst and Domenico reviewed data from fifteen studies (14 focused in type-2 diabetes) with a total of 1,690 subjects, including 1,505 receiving chromium picolinate. Doses ranged from 200-1000 micrograms of chromium per day and supplementation periods ranged from one week to nine months.
“The data indicate that chromium picolinate supplementation represents a uniquely efficacious modality for glycaemic control in subjects with diabetes,” wrote reviewers C. Leigh Broadhurst and Philip Domenico. “Indeed, 13 of 15 clinical studies reported significant improvement in at least one outcome of glycaemic control.”
Broadhurst and Domenico report that six out of ten studies measuring fasting glucose levels showed a significant improvement of 15.3 per cent, and postprandial glucose levels of 18.9 per cent. Fasting insulin levels, measured in four studies, improved by 29.8 per cent, while postprandial insulin improved by 15 per cent from baseline as a result of chromium picolinate supplementation. The authors note that a recent meta-analysis of chromium supplementation with respect to diabetes did not report significant benefits, but this may due to the form of the mineral and that people with type-2 diabetes may need higher doses than normal people for a benefit to be observed.
“The main messages are that all forms of chromium are not equivalent, and that higher doses of chromium picolinate are required for people with type 2 diabetes,” said Broadhurst in a statement. “Previous chromium reviews examined all types of chromium at widely varying doses. But separating out chromium picolinate, which yields highly consistent results in research studies, compared to other chromium supplements shows that at doses between 200–1000 mcg it is a superior nutritional adjunct to diabetes treatments.”
The supplement has a “compelling safety profile”, said the researchers, and is an inexpensive and efficacious way of improving diabetes control and could be used in combination with existing medications, as well as reducing the requirement of these expensive medications.
“Though the data supporting the benefits of supplemental chromium picolinate for subjects with diabetes are strong, future studies may require a more careful selection of subjects to pinpoint its usefulness,” they concluded.
People with diabetes tend to have low levels of antioxidants. This may explain, in part, their increased risk for conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Vitamin E supplements and other antioxidants may help reduce the risk of heart disease and other complications in people with diabetes. In particular, antioxidants have been shown to help control blood sugar levels, to ower cholesterol levels in those with type 2 diabetes, and to protect against the complications of retinopathy (eye damage) and nephropathy (kidney damage) in those with type 1 diabetes. Vitamin E may also play a role in the prevention of diabetes. In one study, 944 men who did not have diabetes were followed for 4 years. Low levels of vitamin E were associated with an increased risk of becoming diabetic in that time course.
Many studies have shown that both mean plasma and intracellular free magnesium levels are lower in patients with diabetes than in the general population. This magnesium deficiency, which may take the form of a chronic latent magnesium deficit rather than clinical hypomagnesaemia, may have clinical importance because the magnesium ion is a crucial cofactor for many enzymatic reactions involved in metabolic processes. Many studies show that mean plasma levels are lower in patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes compared with non-diabetic control subjects.
In a study from Taiwan, the risk of dying from diabetes was inversely proportional to the level of magnesium in the drinking water. This was all the more striking because the greatest increase in chronic disease mortality in Taiwan since 1970 has been due to diabetes. Because the dysregulation caused by a chronic latent magnesium deficit is probably more important than clinical hypomagnesaemia in the pathogenesis of diabetes, this may suggest that dietary magnesium (including that in a water supply) is protective against diabetes and its dreaded complications.
The concentration of intracellular free magnesium in erythrocytes is a more sensitive marker in people with diabetes and insulin resistance than are plasma levels of magnesium. Decreased levels of free intracellular magnesium in erythrocytes have been reported in the majority of patients with type 2 diabetes. Resnick and Associates suggest that extra cellular and intracellular magnesium deficiency is typical in chronic, stable, mild type 2 diabetes and may be a strong predisposing factor for the development of the excess cardiovascular morbidity associated with diabetes. These investigators showed that the levels of serum, ionized, magnesium and erythrocyte, intracellular free, magnesium were significantly lower in 22 untreated patients with type 2 diabetes and and mild hyperglycemia than they were in 30 healthy control subjects (P<.001) Serum total magnesium was not reduced.
MAGNESIUM LOSS AND INSULIN RESISTANCE
Among its many actions, insulin stimulates the transport of magnesium from the extra-cellular to the intracellular compartment. Using atomic absorption spectrophotometer and the euglycemic hyperinsu-linemic glucose clamp technique, Paolisso and associates showed that plasma magnesium levels declined and erythrocyte magnesium levels rose significantly (P<.05) in response to insulin in fasting healthy adults with no family history of diabetes. Insulin resistance, central to type 2 diabetes, is associated with reduced intracellular magnesium and can be mitigated with magnesium. It has been demonstrated that insulin resistance in skeletal muscle can be reduced by magnesium administration. Reduced magnesium levels in diabetes are caused by several factors (Figure 2). The link between magnesium deficiency and the development of diabetes is strengthened by the observation that several treatments for type 2 diabetes appear to increase magnesium levels. Metformin, for example, raises magnesium levels in the liver. Pioglitazone, a thiazolidinedione antidiabetic agent that increases insulin sensitivity, increases free magnesium concentration in adipocytes.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS OF LOW MAGNESIUM LEVELS
Reduced intake and reduced levels of magnesium may lead to increased atherosclerosis. In addition, lower serum magnesium levels have been associated with increased likelihood or progression of retinopathy in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Epidemiologic data suggest that populations with low magnesium intake are at increased risk for hypertension, stroke, and other manifestations of atherosclerotic disease. In the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, for example, dietary magnesium intake was inversely correlated with ultrasonographically measured carotid artery wall thickness, which is a surrogate marker for atherosclerosis.
ORAL MAGNESIUM: VALUE OF A HIGH INTAKE
There are potential benefits supporting the use of magnesium supplementation in persons who have diabetes or risk factors for diabetes (Table 3). Increased magnesium intake is associated with decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in populations. In a prospective study of almost 85,000 women, the relative risk of diabetes for women in the highest quintile of magnesium consumption was 0.68 when compared with women in the lowest quintile. (Figure 2). Oral magnesium supplementation is contraindicated in patients with significant renal impairment. Higher dietary intake of magnesium was among the factors associated with a reduced risk of stroke in men with hypertension. In a survey of almost 45,000 men ages 40 to 75, the overall risk of stroke was significantly lower for men in the highest quintile of intake of potassium, magnesium, and cereal fiber, but not of calcium, compared with men in the lowest quintile of intake (Figure 2). A similar relationship was reported this year by Meyer and Colleagues, who observed that a diet rich in magnesium, grains, fruits, and vegetables reduced the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes in a group of almost 36,000 women. While no consistent effect of magnesium on blood pressure has been noted among persons with diabetes, a significant blood pressure reduction was noted in diabetic patients with hypertension after dietary sodium was replaced with potassium and magnesium.
People with type 2 diabetes often have low levels of biotin. Biotin may be involved in the synthesis and release of insulin. Preliminary studies in both animals and people suggest that biotin may help improve blood sugar control in those with diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes. More research in this area would be helpful.
Scientists at Notre Dame* and at the U. of Illinois have discovered that zinc has an insulin-like effect on the manifestation of diabetes. Insulin, they note, promotes the transport of glucose and amino acids (proteins) and decreases the breakdown of muscles while healthfully enhancing their buildup. “Failure to enhance glucose transport, ” they say, “into insulin-sensitive cells is a hallmark of diabetes [emphasis added]. They have found that zinc enhances this glucose movement.
Although results have been conflicting, some research suggests that people with diabetes have significantly lower levels of manganese in their bodies than people without diabetes. It is not clear however, whether this is a cause or effect of the condition. In other words, researchers have yet to determine whether diabetes causes levels of manganese to drop or if deficiencies in this trace element actually contribute to the development of the metabolic disorder. In addition, one study found that diabetics with higher blood levels of manganese were more protected from oxidation of LDL (”bad”) cholesterol than those with lower levels of manganese. (LDL oxidation contributes to the development of plaque in the arteries which can lead to heart attack and stroke.) Further studies are needed to determine whether supplementation with manganese helps prevent and/or treat diabetes and its associated complications. (E4)