10 Best Vitamins And Supplements For Diabetics, According To A Functional Medicine Expert

10-Best-Supplements-And-Vitamins-For-Diabetics

More than 500 million people around the world have diabetes. It affects men, women, and kids of all ages in every country. Shockingly, this number is expected to more than double and reach 1.3 billion people in the next 30 years. (1)

Clearly, we need a more effective way to combat this health emergency. Diabetics usually get told one of three things: to lose weight, to take a pill, or to come back in several months. Sometimes, they’re told all three at once. If a pill doesn’t help, or if you want to get to the root of what’s going on, you’re left to fend for yourself. 

Though you may try to do all the right things, the misinformation you’ll find with an internet search is overwhelming, and sources often conflict on what you should do. 

That’s why I’ve put this guide together. It’s designed to help you sort through the sea of search results that will leave you feeling lost and helpless. 

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Your Guide to Vitamins for Diabetes

Here, you’ll find my favorite vitamins and supplements for diabetes that you might benefit from looking into, with an explanation of how and why I believe they can be most helpful to you. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, often referred to as the sunshine vitamin, is crucial for overall health and exhibits links to diabetes management. Research indicates that maintaining optimal Vitamin D levels may positively influence insulin sensitivity (2), a key factor in diabetes. Incorporating sources such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), fortified dairy, and safe sun exposure can contribute to your Vitamin D intake.

If you’re not sure which supplement to take, or if you’re uncertain that your supplement is a quality one, I have one in my online shop that you might be interested in. It’s carefully formulated with highly bioavailable forms of vitamin D and K2, working in harmony to promote noticeable and sustainable healing.

Our D3-K2 goes beyond typical synthetic forms of vitamin K by incorporating Vitamk7™—a naturally derived and solvent-free vitamin K2 obtained through a patented biofermentation process of Bacillus subtilis natto cultures.

Vitamin B Complex

The B-vitamin family plays a pivotal role in glucose metabolism. Biotin, in particular, has been associated with improved blood sugar control. Natural sources like eggs, nuts (almonds, peanuts), and leafy greens (spinach, kale) offer B-vitamins, and it’s great if you can try to work many of these into your diet. If you don’t eat much of these foods, or suspect you’re not getting enough, consider a high-quality B-complex supplement. I have the B-Better Complex in my shop that includes biotin and will support healthy blood sugar levels and your overall well-being.

Vitamin C


Renowned for its antioxidant properties, Vitamin C is highly beneficial for individuals with diabetes. (4) Antioxidants combat oxidative stress, a factor linked to diabetes complications. Incorporate vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits), berries (strawberries, blueberries), and bell peppers into your diet.

Beyond diabetes, vitamin C plays a crucial role in collagen formation, contributing to skin health and wound healing. It also supports the immune system, offering multifaceted benefits.

Again, if you’re not happy with your current supplement, or you want to explore one that you know is premium quality, I have Brillian-C in my curated collection. It involves a potent vitamin C formulation enriched with 7.5 mg of BioPerine® per capsule. BioPerine, our proprietary black pepper extract, is carefully incorporated to enhance the absorption and bioavailability of Vitamin C. But it won’t cause stomach upset like other C supplements may, because it includes buffering minerals to mitigate that risk. 

Vitamin E


Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, plays a crucial role in protecting cells from oxidative stress. Studies show this is the case even for individuals with diabetes. (5) For individuals with diabetes, where oxidative stress is a concern, incorporating Vitamin E-rich foods like nuts (almonds, hazelnuts) and seeds (sunflower seeds) or opting for a supplement can be beneficial.

Vitamin E's antioxidant properties extend to skin health, protecting against oxidative damage and promoting a youthful appearance. Additionally, it supports immune function, contributing to overall well-being. 

Natural Supplements for Diabetes

While the vitamins above may offer you what you need, there are further avenues to explore if you want to look at a holistic approach to diabetes. Here are some of my other favorite natural remedies: 

Berberine

Berberine may benefit diabetes management in several ways. It helps regulate blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing glucose production in the liver. Its anti-inflammatory properties also aid in managing diabetes-related inflammation. Research suggests that berberine works through different pathways in the body, including ones involved in energy regulation and fat metabolism. It may also help regulate insulin production and slow down the digestion of carbohydrates. Clinical studies have shown promising results in lowering blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes when taking doses typically ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 mg per day. However, it's crucial to consult a healthcare professional before using berberine alongside conventional diabetes medications.

Curcumin

The active compound in turmeric, curcumin possesses potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Research suggests that curcumin may offer potential benefits for diabetes management, including improved insulin sensitivity (6). Consider incorporating turmeric into your daily routine or explore curcumin supplements.

Curcumin's anti-inflammatory properties extend beyond diabetes, supporting joint health and reducing inflammation throughout the body. It also exhibits neuroprotective effects, contributing to overall cognitive well-being.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids


Omega-3 fatty acids, abundant in fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), flaxseeds, and chia seeds, are renowned for their anti-inflammatory properties. They may provide cardiovascular benefits for individuals with diabetes. (7) Integrate Omega-3-rich foods into your diet or opt for a high-quality fish oil supplement.


Omega-3 fatty acids support heart health, contributing to lower triglyceride levels and reducing the risk of cardiovascular events. They also promote brain health, supporting cognitive function.

Chromium


When your body is low on chromium, it can lead to some problems–things like HDL levels dropping, insulin resistance developing, and triglyceride levels rising. These events can increase the risk of diabetes or pre-diabetes and make heart disease more likely.

But here's some good news: studies (8) have found that taking chromium supplements can help. It's like a powerful solution to these issues. Chromium supplements are linked to better insulin receptor function, lower hemoglobin A1c (which shows how well you control your blood sugar over time), less inflammation, and normal glucose levels.

You can also find chromium in certain foods like onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and sea vegetables. These are natural sources that can give your body the chromium it needs. So, whether through supplements or delicious foods, you have ways to support your body's balance and well-being.

EGCG


If you’re not already drinking green tea for its health benefits, you might want to consider it. EGCG is a compound that is abundant in green tea, and studies show that it stabilizes blood sugar levels in diabetic mice, with the effectiveness of a prescription diabetic medication. (9)

Cinnamon


Cinnamon, that tasty spice in your kitchen, may hold some good news for people with diabetes. Scientific studies suggest that cinnamon could be a helpful tool in managing blood sugar levels. It seems to make cells more responsive to insulin, the key hormone that helps control blood sugar. (11) Imagine insulin as a key unlocking doors for sugar to enter cells, and cinnamon can be thought of as helping that key work better.

An Effective All-In-One


I have developed a specifically curated supplement called
Stabilize that has a range of benefits that may help people with diabetes, such as

  • Supports healthy glucose metabolism
  • Supports healthy blood lipid levels already in the normal range
  • Improves/maintains healthy nerve function

The ingredients include CinSulin®, a safe, patented, 100% water-soluble, 10:1 concentrated form of cinnamon that provides polyphenol polymers; standardized American ginseng, green tea, gymnema, and alpha-lipoic acid. Alpha-lipoic acid helps protect pancreatic cells, support insulin sensitivity, and provide antioxidant activity. Albion®’s TRAACS® patented chromium is added to the blend for its role in enhancing insulin activity."

Holistic Treatment Approaches for Diabetes


Remember, there is no single magic bullet supplement that will treat diabetes. As a functional medicine expert, I advocate for a personalized approach to health. While these vitamins and supplements show promise, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have diabetes or any other health condition. Individual needs may vary, and a comprehensive, tailored plan is key to optimal well-being.

Want to take the next step in healing yourself? Book a telehealth consultation today to learn more about what we may be able to offer you with functional medicine. 

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References:

  1. GBD 2021 Diabetes Collaborators. Global, regional, and national burden of diabetes from 1990 to 2021, with projections of prevalence to 2050: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2021. The Lancet. June 22, 2023; 402(10397):203-234. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(23)01301-6
  2. Forouhi NG, Ye Z, Rickard AP, Khaw KT, Luben R, Langenberg C, Wareham NJ. Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and the risk of type 2 diabetes: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk cohort and updated meta-analysis of prospective studies. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. 2014;2(4):298–306. DOI: 10.1016/S2213-8587(13)70112-2
  3. Albarracin CA, Fuqua BC, Evans JL. Biotin supplementation improves glucose and insulin tolerances in genetically diabetic KK mice. Life Sciences. 2008;83(25-26):815–821. DOI: 10.1016/j.lfs.2008.09.008
  4. Maritim AC, Sanders RA, Watkins JB. Diabetes, oxidative stress, and antioxidants: a review. Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology. 2003;17(1):24–38. DOI: 10.1002/jbt.10058
  5. Miller ER, Pastor-Barriuso R, Dalal D, Riemersma RA, Appel LJ, Guallar E. Meta-analysis: high-dosage vitamin E supplementation may increase all-cause mortality. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2005;142(1):37–46. DOI: 10.7326/0003-4819-142-1-200501040-00110
  6. Chuengsamarn S, Rattanamongkolgul S, Luechapudiporn R, Phisalaphong C, Jirawatnotai S. Curcumin extract for prevention of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2012;35(11):2121–2127. DOI: 10.2337/dc12-0116
  7. Hartweg J, Perera R, Montori V, Dinneen S, Neil HA, Farmer A. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) for type 2 diabetes mellitus. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009(11):CD003205. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003205.pub2
  8. Havel PJ. A scientific review: the role of chromium in insulin resistance. Diabetes Educ. 2004;Suppl:2-14. PMID: 15208835.
  9. Wolfram S, Raederstorff D, Preller M, Wang Y, Teixeira SR, Riegger C, Weber P. Epigallocatechin gallate supplementation alleviates diabetes in rodents. J Nutr. 2006 Oct;136(10):2512-8. doi: 10.1093/jn/136.10.2512. PMID: 16988119.
  10. Silva ML, Bernardo MA, Singh J, de Mesquita MF. Cinnamon as a Complementary Therapeutic Approach for Dysglycemia and Dyslipidemia Control in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Its Molecular Mechanism of Action: A Review. Nutrients. 2022 Jul 5;14(13):2773. doi: 10.3390/nu14132773. PMID: 35807953; PMCID: PMC9269353.
  11. Silva ML, Bernardo MA, Singh J, de Mesquita MF. Cinnamon as a Complementary Therapeutic Approach for Dysglycemia and Dyslipidemia Control in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Its Molecular Mechanism of Action: A Review. Nutrients. 2022 Jul 5;14(13):2773. DOI: 10.3390/nu14132773. PMID: 35807953; PMCID: PMC9269353.

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BY DR. WILL COLE

Evidence-based reviewed article

Dr. Will Cole, DNM, IFMCP, DC is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the globe, starting one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers in the world. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole provides a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is the host of the popular The Art Of Being Well podcast and the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian, The Inflammation Spectrum and the brand new book Gut Feelings: Healing the Shame-Fueled Relationship Between What You Eat and How You Feel.

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Gut Feelings

Healing The Shame-Fueled Relationship
Between What You Eat And How You Feel