Energy booster for diabetics

How to Beat Fatigue in Everyday Life

By Genevieve Cunningham

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re at in life, fatigue is likely a thing that is dealt with on a regular basis. Being an adult is hard … but even more than that, it’s exhausting. While a certain amount of fatigue is probably considered normal (after a late night or a stressful event), excessive fatigue shouldn’t be a staple in anyone’s life. To get a handle on that everyday exhaustion, check out these tips for beating that tired feeling and gaining a bit more energy for the tasks of everyday life.

Exercise is a Must

It sounds counterproductive to many people. They think that if they exercise, they’ll just be more tired since all of that physical activity can be exhausting. But it actually works the opposite way. Exercise helps to produce positive chemicals in the body that boost both the mood and energy levels. If exercise is not currently a part of life, it’s time to seriously think about getting a routine. Walking, jogging, a local class, swimming … find something that is enjoyable and a better body and more energy may become a normal part of life.

Try Drinking More Water

Dehydration can significantly fatigue the body. Our bodies rely heavily on water to function efficiently. Without it, it’s possible to feel rundown, easily irritable, achy, and especially fatigued. If you’re not already getting close to eight cups a day, try to increase that intake of water and see if it makes a difference in everyday basic energy levels.

Eat Foods That Induce Energy

Believe it or not, there are some foods that can cause fatigue, and similarly, there are foods that can create a little pep in your step. Try to stay away from heavy carbs and starches like white rice and potatoes. Instead, go for fresh fruits and veggies. It also helps to avoid all day caffeine intake and opt for water (see above!) instead.

It’s OK to feel tired sometimes. It’s OK to get rundown and need a little more sleep than usual. But it’s not OK to have your entire life ruled by exhaustion. Take steps every single day to improve both health as well as energy. If you’re more tired than what is called for or is necessary, use these tips to beat the fatigue and gain a little more energy in your life every day.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.

7 causes of fatigue and how you can beat them

Social jetlag

© Getty Images

Many of us like to treat ourselves to a weekend lie-in after getting up early for work all through the week. But going to sleep and waking up at different times can disrupt your circadian rhythms – the brain’s natural timing of sleep and wakefulness hormone release. This ‘social jetlag’ is associated with sleepiness, feelings of fatigue, bad mood and health problems.

Advertisement

A recent study from the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona suggests that each hour of weekday to weekend lag brings an 11 per cent increase in the likelihood of heart disease.

Tip: Avoid weekend lie-ins and late nights, and keep to the same sleep-wake pattern whether you’re a night owl or a morning lark. Using an app or a tracker to chart your sleep patterns can help.

2

Lack of exercise

© Getty Images

Although excessive exercise can cause short-term fatigue, long-term tiredness is associated with too little activity. A University of Georgia review of research found 90 per cent of studies agree that people who regularly exercise report less fatigue than groups who don’t. Exercise increases levels of energy-promoting and mood-enhancing neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. It also resets the SCN, the part of the brain that regulates sleep and wakefulness hormones. And exercise reduces fat stores, which seem to be associated with long-term fatigue.

Tip: Try and find forms of exercise that fit in with your lifestyle and what you enjoy, rather than automatically investing in a gym membership. This way, you’ll probably be more inclined to stick to it.

3

Cabin fever

© Getty Images

Light, fresh air and stimulation are all important for brain health and SCN functioning, so being cooped up indoors all the time can worsen mood and lower energy levels. We’re particularly prone to this during the winter, when days are dark, we’re stuck indoors, and short-term cabin fever can eventually become seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD, characterised by depression and feelings of tiredness, is believed to be caused by lack of sunlight, which disrupts the brain’s production of mood and sleep-regulating brain chemicals such as melatonin and serotonin.

Tip: Try and pop outdoors every couple of hours, even if it’s just for a few minutes. It will clear your brain and may help with lethargy and fatigue. Go outside during your lunch break, rather than spending it at your desk.

4

Diet

© Getty Images

Being overweight can cause tiredness because your body is having to work harder to perform everyday activities. It also increases your risk of a condition called obstructive sleep apnoea – where the tissues in the throat collapse during sleep, causing airway blockage. This leads to constant sleep interruption and daytime tiredness.

What you eat is also important. Low levels of iron and B vitamins can cause tiredness. And having a diet high in fast-burning sugary carbohydrates, like cakes and biscuits, can leave you feeling tired when the energy rush quickly wears off.

Tip: Dietitians recommend a balanced diet, including complex carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread, brown rice, beans, oats and pulses which are slowly metabolised by the body and lead to less of an energy dip.

5

Caffeine and alcohol

© Getty Images

The trouble with drinking coffee is that you need to keep drinking it: one of the commonest symptoms of caffeine withdrawal is fatigue. Research from the Johns Hopkins Medical School found that although caffeine drinkers think their drink of choice improves their performance and mood, in fact it just counteracts the adverse effects of caffeine withdrawal by bringing them back to normal levels of functioning.

Alcohol causes tiredness too. Short-term, it can result in restless sleep and dehydration. Long-term, it can lead to anxiety and depression, which are linked to lethargy and sleeplessness.

Tip: Test whether caffeine or alcohol are the culprits for making you tired. Don’t drink them for at least a week, so you get over any withdrawal symptoms, and see whether you start feeling better.

6

Drugs

© Getty Images

Fatigue can be caused be prescribed and recreational drugs. It has been reported as a side effect of statins, allergy medications, hormone therapy and many cancer treatments. According to Frank, the drug information organisation, the high experienced with drugs such as cocaine, speed and ecstasy is often followed by a comedown of tiredness and depression. Scientists at Imperial College London demonstrated that smoking marijuana long-term lowers levels of brain dopamine – a chemical that plays a key role in how we experience motivation, pleasure and reward. This can result in a lack of energy and motivation.

Tip: If you’re on prescription medications, look up possible side effects on the leaflet that comes in the box. Visit your doctor or pharmacist to discuss any concerns. For info about drugs, visit talktofrank.com.

7

Worry and depression

© Getty Images

Lack of sleep and fatigue are strongly linked with depression and anxiety. Some researchers believe that widespread depression could be the reason why so many of us feel constantly tired. Studies carried out by the Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience back up this link. Researchers measured brain oxygen levels when people undertook various physical and mental tasks, and found that they fatigued more quickly when completing complex mental activities. The brain’s resources were being divided. So stress and mental frustration are likely to make us tire more easily, the researchers say.

Tip: Try an NHS mood self-assessment quiz to help establish whether your state of mind is behind your tiredness. If you’re concerned that you or a loved one is suffering from depression, visit your doctor.

This is an extract from issue 313 of BBC Focus magazine.

Subscribe and get the full article delivered to your door, or download the BBC Focus app to read it on your smartphone or tablet. Find out more

Advertisement

Follow Science Focus on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Flipboard

Herbs and Supplements for Diabetes

It is always best to let the foods you eat provide your vitamins and minerals. However, more and more people are turning to alternative medicines and supplements. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics are more likely to use supplements than those without the disease.

Supplements should not be used to replace standard diabetes treatment. Doing so can put your health at risk.

It is important to talk to your doctor before using any supplements. Some of these products can interfere with other treatments and medications. Just because a product is natural does not mean it is safe to use.

A number of supplements have shown promise as diabetes treatments. These include the following.

Cinnamon

Chinese medicine has been using cinnamon for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. It has been the subject of numerous studies to determine its effect on blood glucose levels. A 2011 study has shown that cinnamon, in whole form or extract, helps lower fasting blood glucose levels. More studies are being done, but cinnamon is showing promise for helping to treat diabetes.

Chromium

Chromium is an essential trace element. It is used in the metabolism of carbohydrates. However, research on the use of chromium for diabetes treatment is mixed. Low doses are safe for most people, but there is a risk that chromium could make blood sugar go too low. High doses also have the potential to cause kidney damage.

Vitamin B-1

Vitamin B-1 is also known as thiamine. Many people with diabetes are thiamine deficient. This may contribute to some diabetes complications. Low thiamine has been linked to heart disease and blood vessel damage.

Thiamine is water-soluble. It has difficulty getting into the cells where it’s needed. However, benfotiamine, a supplemental form of thiamine, is lipid-soluble. It more easily penetrates cell membranes. Some research suggests that benfotiamine can prevent diabetic complications. However, other studies have not shown any positive effects.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a potent antioxidant. Some studies suggest it may:

  • reduce oxidative stress
  • lower fasting blood sugar levels
  • decrease insulin resistance

However, more research is needed. Furthermore, ALA needs to be taken with caution, as it has the potential to lower blood sugar levels to dangerous levels.

Bitter Melon

Bitter melon is used to treat diabetes-related conditions in countries like Asia, South America, and others. There is a lot of data on its effectiveness as a treatment for diabetes in animal and lab studies.

However, there is limited human data on bitter melon. There are not enough clinical studies on human. The human studies currently available are not of high quality.

Green Tea

Green tea contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants.

The main antioxidant in green tea is known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Laboratory studies have suggested that EGCG may have numerous health benefits including:

  • lower cardiovascular disease risk
  • prevention of type 2 diabetes
  • improved glucose control
  • better insulin activity

Studies on diabetic patients have not shown health benefits. However, green tea is generally considered safe.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a chemical found in wine and grapes. In animal models, it helps prevent high blood sugar. Animal studies have also shown that it can reduce oxidative stress. However, human data is limited. It is too soon to know if supplementation helps with diabetes.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential nutrient. It helps regulate blood pressure. It also regulates insulin sensitivity. Supplemental magnesium may improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics.

A high magnesium diet may also reduce the risk of diabetes. Researchers have found a link between higher magnesium intake, lower rates of insulin resistance, and diabetes.

6 Supplements Every Diabetic Should Take

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a complex condition that impacts (and is equally impacted by) the immune system, metabolism, hormones, and every other system and function within the body.

At this point in time, diabetes is widely considered an inflammatory disease. While chronic inflammation is thought to be a precursor to T2D, high blood sugar and insulin resistance perpetuate inflammation, resulting in a vicious cycle. This stressful state affects energy, sleep, weight, circulation, digestion, mood, and concentration, which can lead to diabetic complications and disease progression.

While a whole food and nutrient-dense diet is the first step, diabetics have increased nutritional needs due to the stress their bodies are under.

High potency supplementation provides an increase in micronutrients and plant extracts that act as therapies for the body to help it balance and heal, often without the nasty side effects of pharmaceuticals. These six supplements improve the body’s ability to regulate glucose and are well-supported by scientific research to benefit people suffering from high blood sugar and diabetes.

While vitamin D is considered a vitamin, it is also a hormone critical to signaling and supporting countless functions within the body. Vitamin D is referred to as the conductor of the orchestra of bodily functions. It is required for everything from calcium absorption to immune function. Low levels are linked to increased inflammation, osteoporosis, depression, cognitive decline, autoimmunity, cancer, and more. Unsurprisingly, vitamin D deficiencies have also been linked to poor glucose control, and when diabetics supplement vitamin D, their glucose metabolism improves. Diabetics may need more vitamin D than a healthy individual due to the stress and inflammation within their bodies.

Vitamin D should normally be taken in conjunction with vitamin K2 (which helps calcium move from the blood into the bones) and a combination of supplements that contain both vitamins. The dosage varies based on the level of deficiency, but most adults can safely take up to 25,000 IU per week. Vitamin D can be synthesized within the skin through sun exposure; however, most people do not spend enough time in direct sunlight to produce a sufficient amount. Vitamin D can also be consumed through cod liver oil, fatty fish, and fortified foods. However, therapeutic doses are necessary when supporting diabetes, so supplementation is often a better option than sun or food to increase levels. Vitamin D levelsshould be monitored, and healthy levels range from 50-80 nmol/L.

2. Melatonin

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pineal gland. Melatonin is responsible for regulating sleep cycles, so levels should be highest at night. Typically, people with T2D have lower levels of circulating melatonin, which may lead to insomnia. While supplemental melatonin is popular to improve sleep, it has additional benefits for those with diabetes. Poor glucose control leads to increased production of free radicals that damage cells and promote disease. Studies have found that melatonin acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, curtailing the production of specific free radicals called reactive oxygen species (ROS) in diabetes. The same studies also found that melatonin protects the pancreatic beta cells, which are responsible for producing insulin and are often damaged as T2D progresses. Most people find that they can tolerate 3-5 mg per night before bed.

3. Probiotics

The microorganisms that live in the gut have a wide-reaching effect on human health. The community of microbiota that colonizes the digestive tract is referred to as the microbiome. Some species within that biome are beneficial to health, and some can be dangerous and toxic. Healthy and unhealthy microbes compete for space and resources within the gut. Diet, stress, prescription drugs and antibiotics, environmental exposures, and genetics all affect the balance of the microbiome.

In diabetics, microbes in the gut are involved in the increased levels of inflammation seen throughout the body. Unhealthy microbesinterfere with insulin sensitivity and, therefore, the glucose metabolism. Researchers have found that probiotics, which are concentrated doses of healthy bacterial strains, can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, improve digestive health, and increase sensitivity to insulin, which improves the glucose metabolism. Not all probiotics are created equal, and different strains provide various benefits. It is best to consult your functional medicine doctor to decide on the best probiotic strains for your specific situation.

4. Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Diabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, and neuropathy largely due to high levels of inflammation and oxidative stress. Diabetes impairs blood flow by reducing the production of nitric oxide in vascular tissue, therefore reducing the cardiovascular system’s flexibility. Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a powerful antioxidant with insulin-like and anti-inflammatory activity and is also referred to as the universal antioxidant. Studies have shown that supplementing ALA improves insulin sensitivity and can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and neuropathy in diabetics. ALA can be found in spinach, broccoli, tomato, green peas, brussels sprouts, rice bran, and the organ meat of a cow. However, for therapeutic doses, it is best to use a high-quality supplement. Adults tolerate ALA in doses ranging from 600-1000 mg/day.

5. Magnesium

Magnesium is a critical mineral to the function of the human body and is involved in over 300 reactions throughout the body. One of those vital processes is the metabolism of ATP, the molecule responsible for energy storage within cells! In fact, magnesium is the fourth most plentiful mineral in the body, and unfortunately, most people are deficient due to poor diets and the reduced magnesium content in crop-growing soil.

Magnesium is required for the control of muscular contractions, blood pressure, cardiac function, vascular tone, nerve transmission, and neuromuscular communication. Magnesium is also required for the proper metabolism of insulin and glucose, so it is not surprising that people with diabetes tend to be magnesium deficient. Low levels of magnesium have been associated with several chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, insulin resistance and T2D mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, migraines, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Good dietary sources of magnesium include cooked greens like spinach and Swiss chard, dark chocolate, almonds, pumpkin seeds, avocado, figs, and bananas. Most people can safely take 300-600 mg/ day, and many prefer to take it at night, as it helps to relax muscles.

6. Berberine

Berberine is a natural plant alkaloid found in the stem, bark, roots, and rhizomes of plants such as goldenseal, barberry, goldthread, Oregon grape, tree turmeric, and philodendron. When this alkaloid is extracted from plants, it is a high-potency supplement that has been widely used in traditional medicine throughout India and China for centuries. One reason that berberine is so beneficial for diabetes management is for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Berberine alone is thought to improve the glucose metabolism alone, or it can be beneficial in the form of oral medications such as Metformin. It has the added benefits of lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, increasing HDL cholesterol and improving blood pressure.

A closing note about supplements

While supplementation can be extremely therapeutic, it is important to follow a few safety rules when introducing supplements to your routine. First, consult a functional medicine practitioner and utilize supplements based on your unique situation, history, blood work, and symptoms.

Many doctors have not been trained on the biochemistry of vitamins and plant-based nutraceuticals, so a trained functional medicine doctor is your best resource.

It is also important to buy reputable pharmaceutical-grade brands. Time and again, consumer watch groups have found that supplements in chain stores such as GNC, Walgreens, and Target do not have quality supplements, and often, upon testing, the supplements are not what they are labeled as. Find brands that your doctor recommends and that have been tested for quality.

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death worldwide (1). Because of this, it’s important that you take the prevention and management of this chronic condition seriously.

There are two types of diabetes that will help determine the proper course of treatment.

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults and occurs when the body does not produce insulin (2).

On the other hand, type 2 diabetes can be developed at any age and occurs when the body does not make or use insulin well.

How Is Diabetes Managed?

Diabetes is typically managed with certain medications as well as diet and exercise. Those with diabetes are encouraged to limit or avoid high fat, high sodium, and sugary foods and drinks (3).

Also, it is recommended that those with diabetes or at risk for the condition consume plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats like plant-based oils, nuts, and seeds.

Not to mention that staying active most days of the week can help lower insulin resistance, regulate blood glucose levels, as well as reduce heart disease risk (4). It can also help reduce HgA1C levels, which is an average of about three months of blood glucose levels.

This video does a great job of visualizing the process:

Medications like insulin or metformin are common medical treatments for either form of diabetes (5). However, type 1 diabetes will require insulin, while type 2 diabetes will likely involve a healthy eating and exercise component.

For individuals at risk for diabetes or those with pre-diabetes, along with healthy eating and exercise, it may be useful to add a supplement to support healthy blood glucose levels.

8 Herbs & Supplements for Diabetics

Those who have already been diagnosed with diabetes may also benefit, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their current regimen (6).

Here’s a quick look at the ones we are about to go over in detail in this article.

Now, let’s go over the list of natural herbs and supplements that show some promise for those at risk or with diabetes, in supporting healthy blood glucose levels and overall metabolic health.

Vitamin D

First up is Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods and fortified in some others (7). The “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D, is traditionally known for its impact on bone health. However, it can also help support diabetes health.

ⓘ A level of vitamin D at or above 50 nmol/L is recommended for optimal health (7). A level of vitamin D below 30 nmol/L would be considered a vitamin D deficiency.

What Does It Do

About 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in vitamin D (8). Such a deficiency can pose serious health risks. This is because, as mentioned before, vitamin D plays an important role in bone health. It also helps the body to absorb calcium, so without it, bones can become weakened and a person can be at risk for developing osteoporosis (7).

It has also been found that vitamin D helps to oppose oxidative stress and related inflammation, which can decrease the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease (8,9).

How Does Vitamin D Help Diabetics

Although more studies need to be done before vitamin D supplementation is recommended as part of a type 2 diabetes treatment plan, it does show promise.

Vitamin D supplementation has shown the ability to slightly lower fasting plasma glucose and improve insulin resistance (10). However, these study results were mainly seen in those with vitamin D deficiency and impaired glucose tolerance at baseline.

Another study analysis found that those who were vitamin D deficient had reduced HgA1C levels and fasting blood glucose after vitamin D supplementation (11). Also, those non-obese type 2 diabetes patients had significantly reduced HgA1c levels after vitamin D supplementation.

How to Take Vitamin D

The recommended daily intake of vitamin D for most adults is 600 IU, which is equal to about:

  • 3 ounces swordfish,
  • ½ tablespoon cod liver oil,
  • or 4-5 cups of fortified orange juice or milk.

The easier way for most adults to meet their daily intake of vitamin D is to soak up the sun for 5 to 30 minutes in the late morning or afternoon twice a week to skin not covered with sunscreen.

However, if a person is unable to go outdoors because of a disability, or lives in a climate that is cloudy a lot, then vitamin D supplementation would be ideal for such people.

Official Rankings

  • Top 10 Vitamin D Supplements

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

You may have heard about healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids when it comes to heart health. However, since diabetes and heart health are both inflammatory conditions, it is no surprise that omega-3 has shown to be an effective diabetes health support supplement.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid present in flaxseed, chia seed, walnuts, and fish like salmon as well as in fish oil supplements (12).

The major forms of omega-3 fatty acids that have been researched include:

  • alpha-linolenic acid (ALA),
  • eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA),
  • and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

How Does Omega-3 Help Diabetics

Research shows that the appropriate dosage and composition of omega-3 fatty acids supplementation might be beneficial for type 2 diabetes prevention (13).

Another study using a similar population of patients shows that a daily combination treatment of metformin and two grams of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can lower triglyceride levels better than those taking one gram of omega-3 and metformin daily (15).

These study results suggest that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation significantly reduces triglyceride levels as compared to placebo in those with diabetes.

A meta-analysis of studies confirmed such findings that omega-3 fatty acids can provide hypolipidemic effects that are favorable to health outcomes (16). Also, this same study showed that this supplement can reduce levels of pro-inflammatory immune health markers as well as lower blood glucose levels.

These findings show promise of omega-3 fatty acids as a diabetes health support supplement. However, until further studies confirm such findings, such supplements should only be used in conjunction with current type 2 diabetes treatment options prescribed by your healthcare provider.

How to Take Omega-3

The adequate intake for omega-3 fatty acids is about 1.1 to 1.6 grams a day for most adults (12). In patients with type 2 diabetes and high triglycerides, 4 grams of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation a day helped to maintain renal function better than lower doses (14).

Official Rankings

  • Top 10 Fish Oil Supplements
  • Top 10 Krill Oil Supplements

This mineral is found in large amounts in the body as well as in many foods. Magnesium is a co-factor in the body, which means that it helps activate enzymes that regulate different bodily processes (17).

Such processes include protein synthesis, blood pressure control, muscle and nerve function, and blood glucose control. It is the latter function that makes magnesium an effective supplement for diabetes health support.

How Does Magnesium Help Diabetics

Research shows that low magnesium levels in the body have been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome (18).

Also, a meta-analysis of research regarding magnesium’s impact on diabetes found that magnesium supplementation can reduce fasting blood glucose levels in those with diabetes (19). This study also found that parameters of insulin-sensitivity were improved in those at risk for developing diabetes.

Further research looked at the impact of magnesium supplementation on children with type 1 diabetes. Study results show that these children, who had hypomagnesemia, or low magnesium, saw improvements in glycemic control as well as reductions in triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, after magnesium supplementation (20).

A 2017 study analysis further confirmed the impact of magnesium supplementation on improving blood glucose levels and reducing LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (21). It also revealed that such supplementation could also improve blood pressure levels and HDL, or “good” cholesterol levels.

How to Take Magnesium

Most adults should consume between 320 and 420 milligrams of magnesium a day for optimal health (17).

Rich sources of magnesium include:

  • nuts, like
    • almonds,
    • cashews,
    • and peanuts.
  • vegetables, like
    • spinach,
    • black beans,
  • and whole grains, like
    • shredded wheat,
    • whole wheat bread,
    • and brown rice.

However, if you feel you don’t consume enough of these foods, or if your labs show decreased levels of magnesium, then you may benefit from magnesium supplementation.

Official Rankings

  • Top 10 Magnesium Supplements

Alpha-lipoic acid, also known as thioctic acid, is a compound well-known for its antioxidant properties (22). It is these properties that have shown its effectiveness as a diabetes health support supplement.

Alpha-lipoic acid is found in foods like animal organs and leafy green vegetables (22). However, the lipoic acid found in supplements is not bound to protein like it is in foods. Therefore, alpha-lipoic acid in supplements is more bioavailable.

How Does It Help Diabetics

Animal studies have found that alpha-lipoic acid supplementation increased HDL cholesterol and prevented weight gain in rats fed a high-fat diet (23). The supplement also improved insulin sensitivity and lowered the risk of heart disease.

Perhaps the strongest finding when it comes to alpha-lipoic acid and diabetes is the compound’s impact in patients with diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage (24).

One such study treated patients with diabetic neuropathy for 40 days with daily doses of 600 milligrams alpha-lipoic acid. Study results show that compared to baseline, those who were treated with the alpha-lipoic acid had:

  • reduced triglyceride levels,
  • reported neuropathy symptom improvement,
  • and reported improved quality of life (25).

Finally, a study analysis found a link between alpha-lipoic acid supplementation and reduction of inflammation markers (26). Since diabetes is an inflammatory chronic disease, this finding shows a positive association between the compound and improvement of diabetes risk factors.

In particular, this study revealed a link between alpha-lipoic acid supplementation and lower levels of the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein, interleukin-5, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha.

How to Take Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid is generally safe in moderate doses up to 1,800 milligrams a day for six months. However, those women that are pregnant or lactating should avoid taking this supplement since side effects have not been established.

ⓘ Also, those at risk for hypoglycemia should be closely monitored while taking the supplement since this compound has been found to improve blood glucose levels.

Official Rankings

  • 10 Alpha-Lipoic Acid Supplements

Thiamine

This water-soluble vitamin, also known as vitamin B1, is known for its function in energy production (27). Although it’s easy to equate this energy with staying power, this function of thiamine is also important in diabetes health.

How Does Thiamine Help Diabetics

This is because thiamine helps the body to use carbohydrates for energy in a process known as glucose metabolism. The process of glucose metabolism depends on thiamine as an enzyme co-factor (28).

In other words, thiamine helps enzymes accelerate such reactions. This function suggests that thiamine supplementation could potentially improve the glucose regulation processes in those with diabetes.

Also, research shows that thiamine can prevent the activation of biochemical pathways that are caused by high blood glucose levels in diabetes mellitus (29). To explore this, researchers have looked at the link between diabetes and thiamine deficiency.

Studies show that thiamine deficiency is common in those with diabetes complications like diabetic ketoacidosis (30,31). These complications can worsen after insulin therapy (30). Research suggests that thiamine supplementation may help prevent metabolic complications of type 1 diabetes (31).

Also, recent research reveals that there may also be a link between thiamine deficiency and heart disease (32). Since diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease, this link may reveal another way thiamine can improve the health of those with diabetes.

One study, in particular, looked at the effect of thiamine deficiency on the metabolic health of mice. Study results show that mice on thiamine deficient diets exhibited impaired glucose metabolism and that thiamine is vital for maintaining metabolic balance in the body (33).

How to Take Thiamine

Most adults should consume between 1.1 and 1.2 milligrams of thiamine each day (27).

It can be found in foods like:

  • fortified breakfast cereals,
  • enriched rice or pasta;
  • as well as in smaller amounts in proteins like:
    • pork,
    • trout,
    • black beans,
    • blue mussels,
    • and bluefin tuna.

If you don’t consume enough of these foods each day but aim to increase your B1 intake, then it may be helpful to add a thiamine supplement to your daily routine.

Official Rankings

  • Top 10 Vitamin B1 Supplements

This savory and sweet spice is well-known for its presence in many fall-themed recipes. However, the power of cinnamon goes well beyond its delicious flavor. In fact, research shows that cinnamon may help improve glucose tolerance (34).

Cinnamon, which comes from the dried inner bark of the True or Ceylon Cinnamon evergreen tree, is found in many inflammatory treatments such as for hyperlipidemia, arthritis, and of course, diabetes.

How Does Cinnamon Help Diabetics

Although it should not be taken alone as the sole treatment for diabetes, cinnamon has been found to be an effective supplement to other treatments.

One study shows that cinnamon supplements added to hypoglycemic medications and other diabetes lifestyle changes helped improve fasting plasma glucose and HgA1C levels (35).

Another study looked at the impact of cinnamon supplementation on those with metabolic syndrome. Study results show that a single dose of 3 grams of cinnamon for 16 weeks helped significantly improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood fats (36). This shows that cinnamon supplementation may help improve the metabolic health of those at risk for or with metabolic syndrome.

Furthermore, a placebo-controlled double-blind trial looked at the impact of dried water extract of cinnamon on those with impaired metabolic health. Study results show that supplementation with 500 milligrams of this extract for two months helped reduce levels of fasting insulin, glucose, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol (37).

This extract treatment also helped improve insulin sensitivity of those with high blood glucose levels. Findings such as this show that cinnamon, after further study could become a standard supplement to the treatment of metabolic conditions.

Official Rankings

  • Top 10 Cinnamon Supplements

Green tea is well-known for its potent antioxidant and heart health benefits (38). And since heart disease and diabetes are both inflammatory conditions, the anti-inflammatory properties of the antioxidant-rich tea may also help improve diabetes health.

The active ingredients in green tea, called catechins, are thought to hold the health benefits of this beverage. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most abundant catechin found in green tea and is thought to be the most beneficial green tea component to health.

How Does Green Tea Help Diabetics

Although more research needs to be done to confirm the health benefits of green tea on diabetes health, some research is already showing promise. One relevant study looked at the impact of tea or tea extract on metabolic health.

Study results show that tea consumption helped maintain fasting blood insulin levels and reduce waist circumference in those with type 2 diabetes (39).

And since green tea and other teas, like white and black teas, all stem from the same Camellia Sinensis plant, these benefits could potentially be obtained from drinking any of these teas or consuming extracts of such teas (38).

Official Rankings

  • Top 10 Green Tea Extract Products

Probiotics

Research is starting to show that gut health may be the key to overall well-being. Probiotics, or living microorganisms like bacteria that intend to benefit health, may help contribute to such outcomes (40).

Probiotics can be found in fermented foods like:

  • yogurt,
  • kimchi,
  • sauerkraut,
  • or can be consumed in supplement form.

The good bacteria in probiotics help to balance the gut microbiome, which in turn helps to reduce inflammation and related health issues (41).

How Do Probiotics Help Diabetics

Since diabetes is considered an inflammatory condition, it is no surprise that probiotics can help improve diabetes health.

Research shows that probiotics supplementation can significantly improve HgA1C and fasting insulin levels in those with type 2 diabetes (42). And although more studies need to be done to confirm it, probiotics may help control dyslipidemia and hypertension in type 2 diabetes patients (43).

Certain probiotic strains will be more effective than others in providing such diabetes health benefits. One study looked at the impact of probiotic supplements containing Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains on the health of those with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

Study results show that four weeks of probiotic supplementation helped women with diet-controlled GDM in the late second and early third trimester lower fasting glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity (44).

Therefore, adding certain probiotics to your healthy lifestyle routine could help balance your gut and blood glucose levels to improve your diabetes health. However, be sure to use probiotics as a secondary treatment along with your prescribed medication, and let your doctor know you are taking them.

Official Rankings

  • Top 10 Probiotic Supplements

Final Say on Diabetes & Supplements

Sometimes when trying to prevent or treat diabetes, current treatment options like diet, exercise, and certain medications may not be enough on their own. That is why complementary and alternative treatments, like certain natural supplements, may be the key to further supporting diabetes health.

Although not enough studies have been done to make such supplements a primary source of treatment, they can, along with diet and exercise provide secondary support in promoting healthy blood glucose levels while primary medications and other treatments do their job.

If you are feeling like your current diabetes treatment is not working well enough, it may be time to talk to your doctor about alternative treatment options. It will be important to talk with a qualified healthcare provider about all current medications and supplements you are taking, diet changes you are making, as well as your health background to make the best and healthiest decisions for you.

ⓘ You will want to make sure that none of the supplements interact with your current medications since this could cause further health complications.

Also, if you are already living with diabetes, be sure to visit your healthcare provider more than once a year to have your numbers, such as fasting blood glucose, HgA1C, blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides checked.

Keeping up with the progress of your numbers will help you stay on top of your health and lower the risk of diabetes-related health issues.

Keep reading: 10 Useful Supplements for Thyroid Health

ⓘ Any specific supplement products & brands featured on this website are not necessarily endorsed by Staci.

Stock Photos from Image Point Fr / Igdeeva Alena/

Regaining Your Energy With Type 2 Diabetes: Tips to Prevent Fatigue

No, it’s not your imagination: Taking care of yourself when you have type 2 diabetes can be exhausting. Diabetes-related fatigue is common, and you may be feeling it from a variety of sources — your type 2 diabetes symptoms themselves, exhaustion from the responsibilities of managing diabetes daily, ineffective diabetes management, or even from other underlying conditions.

Understanding Diabetes-Related Fatigue

There are strong associations between diabetes and testosterone levels, kidney disease, and other health complications, all of which can cause you to become very tired, says Ronald Tamler, MD, medical director of the Mount Sinai Clinical Diabetes Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. There’s also a link between diabetes and depression, he adds, and depression is a common cause of extreme fatigue.

According to a study published in June 2014 in the journal Current Diabetes Report, depressive symptoms affect up to one-third of people with diabetes. The research also found that depression not only impairs quality of life but also adds to the difficulties experienced in diabetes self-management.

“The research highlights a wide range of potential explanations for the association between diabetes and depression, which include having a sedentary lifestyle, eating a diet high in refined sugars, sleeping poorly, and experiencing brain dysfunction due to low and high blood sugars, as well as chronic inflammation that is associated with diabetes,” says David Lam, MD, associate director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Other causes of fatigue from diabetes include cells being deprived of sugar, high blood sugar, dehydration from increased urination, loss of calories, and sleep apnea. Graham McMahon, bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery, the president and CEO of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education and an adjunct professor of medical education at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, says that high blood pressure, nerve damage, and other underlying physical conditions can be a direct cause of exhaustion.

Pinpointing a Cause of Fatigue

“Don’t take fatigue for granted,” Dr. McMahon says. “It needs to be investigated.” Some people may need to undergo a sleep study for possible sleep apnea, while others should be tested for anemia, and still others may need to be treated for stress and depression.

Reasons you may be tired from diabetes can be more subtle than you might think. If you’re not getting the energy you need from food, or you’re skipping meals, you’ll be tired. If you’re overweight, you may be at risk for sleep apnea, a serious condition in which breathing problems cause poor-quality sleep that can in turn deplete your energy. These problems can also make diabetes symptoms worse.

Being tired from diabetes is a serious barrier to being active, taking good care of oneself, and properly using medication to stabilize your blood sugar levels. The good news, though, is that a lack of energy doesn’t have to be a permanent way of life.

Boosting Energy

Following these tips to help boost energy may go a long way toward improving your diabetes symptoms and your quality of life:

  • Be sure to see your doctor regularly.
  • Eat a healthy, nutritious diet and don’t skip meals.
  • Move more. Exercise boosts energy and helps you lose extra weight or maintain a healthy weight.
  • Keep blood sugar levels in control.
  • Sleep is critical, so get seven to eight hours a night and never less than six hours.
  • If you’re depressed, get treatment.
  • If you’re stressed, ask your doctor for ways to manage it.
  • If you think you may have sleep apnea or other sleep problems, seek treatment.

Adjusting to a Healthier Lifestyle

Because of the great amount of management it takes to live a healthy life with type 2 diabetes symptoms, you’re likely to experience a lack of energy at times. The more complex the diabetes, the more you’ll need to do to keep your blood sugar levels in normal range. And the more work it takes to control blood sugar levels, the more tired you’ll likely become.

But as you continue to become more educated about diabetes — with as much support as you can get from family and friends — you’ll begin to adjust to eating better, exercising more, sleeping better, and keeping your blood sugar levels in check. Once you’ve made the choice to be healthier, you’ll find yourself less fatigued and more energized.

I’ve never had anyone come into my office at an initial appointment and tell me “Lori, I have too much energy!”

But I have had countless people come back and say “Wow! I didn’t realize how tired I was…I feel so much better!”

Unhealthy habits sneak up on all of us…and usually it’s so gradual that we don’t even notice! Maybe we got busy with work, or raising a family, or taking care of a loved one, or simply checking things off our daily to-do list…so, how do we get ahead without taking two steps back??

The most effective way to IMPROVE our lifestyle is to start slow, with strategies that are proven and provide immediate results.

Enter: Hydration.

It seems so simple, right? But statistics show that nearly 75% of American adults are chronically dehydrated! In other words, on a daily basis we simply aren’t drinking enough water.

Water is used for nearly every cell in our body. It helps dilute our blood, which lowers our blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar is high, one of the most natural ways to help lower it is by drinking an 8 oz glass of water.

Being properly hydrated will also improve our energy levels, sharpen our mental clarity, improve our digestion, and help our body do the million things it is doing all day, every day…but more efficiently!

Exactly how much water do we need?

½ of your body weight, in fluid ounces, is a great starting point. For example, if you weigh 175 lbs, you would need approximately 88 ounces of water per day, which breaks down into about 11 cups per day (8 ounces in 1 cup).

And if you aren’t into measuring how much water you drink everyday, here is an EASIER method….look at the color of your urine! Yep. Pale yellow is the goal all day long and the best indication of adequate hydration.

Still not convinced?

Start increasing your water intake by trying 1 of the below options. Choose whatever method suits you best, but try dedicating yourself to 1 each day, for the entire week.

  1. Chug it! Pour a glass and drink it all immediately. This is my favorite, as I try and keep up with a toddler who’s always on the move 🙂
  2. Flavor it! Because flavor makes everything taste better. My favorite combos: 1.) Basil + strawberry 2.) rosemary + lemon 3.) mint + cucumber
  3. Clock it! Sip it throughout the day, but set a reminder to fill your glass every hour, while at work or juggling your daily to-do’s
  4. Eat it! Consume more water-containing foods (i.e. broth based soups, cucumbers, green bell peppers, and radishes)
  5. Bring it! Fill a big container (32 oz. or larger) and take it with you everywhere throughout the day. Rinse and repeat every few hours
  6. Buy It! Looking for some store-bought options? Here are my favorites: unsweetened iced tea like Teavana, La Croix or Trader Joe’s flavored sparkling waters, freshly brewed hot green or herbal tea, unsweetened almond milk, and good ‘ole plain black coffee. 🙂

Incorporate one of these (or more) into your day, and I promise, you’ll start having more energy while lowering your blood sugar!

And if you are looking for more simple ways to manage diabetes and blood sugar levels, be sure to download your free 7 day diabetes meal plan here. You will love the immediate results!

Good and bad drinks for people with diabetes

The following drinks are good choices for people with diabetes.

Water

Share on PinterestWater has health benefits for everyone, including people with diabetes.

The best drink for health is water. Proper hydration influences physical and mental health and every system in the body needs water.

A person can also mistake signs of thirst for hunger or a craving for sweets. This leads some people to reach for soft drinks and juices. If this craving occurs, it is best to drink a glass of water first and then see how the body reacts.

Learn more here about the benefits of drinking water.

Flavored water

Some people choose juices or sugar-sweetened beverages because they find the flavor of water boring or bland. This does not have to be the case, however.

People can add flavor by mixing water with the juice from citrus fruits, such as lime and lemon or a splash of 100 percent cranberry juice. Infusing water with whole fruits like berries can add some healthful flavor as well.

One study suggests that adding aloe vera pulp to water may benefit people with diabetes. Infused waters are flavorful and healthful.

It can be a good idea to make a pitcher of infused water and keep it on hand.

Herbal tea

Herbal teas or infusions are another way to flavor water. Boiling the leaves of certain plants in water can add both flavor and health benefits.

Licorice root, for example, provides a subtly sweet flavor without raising blood sugar levels.

An animal study from 2007 found that glucose levels fell in rats with diabetes after they consumed licorice extract. This suggests that licorice may have the potential to help reduce blood sugar in people with diabetes.

Inflammation appears to play a role in diabetes, but some herbs may help with this. Find out more here.

A variety of herbal teas are available for purchase online.

Milk

Sometimes a person’s body wants more than just water. Milk may be a good option. Cow milk, soy milk, rice milk, or nut milk can provide calories, vitamins, and minerals. However, it is important to choose unsweetened varieties.

Cow, rice, and soy milk will add carbohydrate to a person’s diet, and so they must account for this in their meal planning.

Most unsweetened nut milk has little carbohydrates, but a person with diabetes must be sure to check the nutrition facts of their milk of choice and be mindful of how many carbs are in one serving. This information is essential to know when managing blood sugar.

Pure fruit juice in moderation

Share on PinterestFresh juice with no added sugar is good in moderation, but whole fruits provide more nutrition.

Pure fruit juices are appropriate, but since fruit juice delivers the sugar from the fruit but not necessarily the fiber as well, people with diabetes should consume these types of drinks in small amounts.

They will also need to account for any juices in a meal plan. For example, one 248-gram (g) cup of fresh, unprocessed orange juice contains nearly 26 g of carbohydrate, of which almost 21 g is sugar.

Portion size is a key factor to managing carbohydrate intake when drinking juice with a meal. Drinking juice alone can lead to a blood sugar spike, but consuming it with other foods, particularly protein or a healthful fat can help to prevent this.

Eating fruit can be a good way to quench thirst, and it delivers more nutritional benefit than juice.

Coffee and tea in moderation

There is a debate about coffee intake for people with diabetes.

In 2004, scientists who carried out a review concluded that coffee consumption may have undesired short-term effects, yet long-term coffee drinking shows some benefits.

However, in 2017, other researchers concluded that “five of the seven studies suggest caffeine intake increases blood glucose levels and prolongs the period of high blood glucose levels.”

Further research is needed to find out exactly how caffeine affects blood sugar levels.

In addition, barista coffees might also contain flavored creamers and syrups that contain high levels of sugar.

Homeostasis Labs’ New Diabetic Direct— “Made By a Diabetic For Diabetics” —Awarded ‘Best New Product Line’ at ECRM Home Health Care EPPS

“We believe that consumers with diabetes will find this line of supplements beneficial to their overall health as well as very convenient and easy to use on a daily basis.”

Greenwich, CT (PRWEB) April 15, 2013

The new Diabetic Direct dietary supplement line was introduced from Homeostasis Labs and won the coveted ‘Best New Product Line’ award at the recent annual ECRM Home Health Care EPPS in March. This unique world class line of diabetic products are manufactured in Austria to exacting standards and feature a revolutionary, sugar free micro crystal formulation that melts in your mouth and does not need to be taken with water.

“We are honored that our new line of supplements for people with diabetes has been recognized as a top new product and has been so quickly embraced by the diabetic community,” explains Kenneth Corroon, president and CEO of Homeostasis Labs. “We believe that consumers with diabetes will find this line of supplements beneficial to their overall health as well as very convenient and easy to use on a daily basis.”

Diabetic Direct is the first supplement line of its kind in the U.S. Each supplement is sugar free and made with 100% naturally flavored micro crystal formulations that melt in your mouth and absorb quickly. With delicious lemon, citrus and orange flavors, they are really pleasant to take—no more choking back huge pills.

The four products in this new line include:

  • Calcium Boost: Aids in maintaining bone health, dental care, can help in the prevention of colon cancer and may assist in reducing obesity
  • Immunity Boost: Contains 17 different vitamins and minerals that can help boost and protect the immune system of diabetics
  • Energy Boost: Features several vitamins including Vitamin B and ingredients like folic acid and green tea extract to provide a safe and sugar free energy boost
  • Magnesium Boost: Helps to maintain healthy blood pressure, promotes heart health, may reduce migraine symptoms and could also help with depression and anxiety

Each Diabetic Direct supplement comes in an individual serving sized packet with 20 to a box that are designed to be taken daily and are safe for people of all ages including children and seniors. Like all of the Homeostasis Labs products, the packaging is produced using 100% renewable energy (wind power) and in a 100% carbon neutral facility. Additionally, a portion of the sales of products in the Diabetic Direct line will be donated to the American Diabetes Association. The Diabetic Direct supplement line from Homeostasis Labs is available now for $9.99.

To learn more about Diabetic Direct, please visit http://www.homeostasislabs.com/diabeticdirect. To coordinate an interview with Homeostasis Labs President and CEO Kenneth Corroon or to request samples from the line, please contact Lauren Verini, lauren(at)adinfinitumny(dot)com, 212.693.2150 x311.

About Homeostasis Labs
Homeostasis Laboratories™ (“Homeostasis Labs™”) was founded by Kenneth M. Corroon to create a greater worldwide awareness of safe and natural remedies and to produce a high quality product line easily understood by consumers. Homeostasis Labs™ brings together the best aspects of traditional homeopathic medicine and the progressive virtues of modern 100% all-natural health remedies. In March 2013, Homeostasis Labs launched the brand’s first dietary supplement line, Diabetic Direct, designed specifically for people with diabetes. For more information, please visit http://www.homeostasislabs.com.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *