Vitamins for Diabetes

by Tom alter - Date: 2007-02-05 - Word Count: 853 Share This!

Vitamins For Diabetes

Vitamins are essential to sustain life and we need to take the required amounts from our daily foods or dietary supplements. The benefits they provide help people feel more energetic, and assist the body in its regular functions.

As a diabetic patient is not able to get all the required nutrition from diet because of impaired functioning of the system, some vitamins may be required to take along with the regular medication. But, before taking any vitamin supplements, it is important to check with a doctor for what affect it may have upon diabetes.

Some of the essential vitamins for diabetics are -

Vitamin E

People with diabetes need extra vitamin E, which improves insulin activity and acts as an antioxidant (helps reduce the risk of diabetic complications), fights toxins and oxygenates the blood. Research has shown that people with low blood levels of vitamin E are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. In type 2 diabetics, it improves glucose tolerance.

It may require at least 2-3 months or more of regular intake of Vitamin E supplementation for benefits to become apparent. If one is taking an anticoagulant like ecospirin, aspirin (blood thinner), consult a physician before taking supplemental vitamin E.

Dietary sources include fortified & multi-grain cereals, nuts, wheat germ, vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin C

Type 1 diabetic patients generally have low vitamin C levels. By increasing the amount of vitamin c in the bloodstream, the amount of sorbitol may get reduced. Sorbitol is a destructive sugar that can accumulate and lead to increased risk of diabetic complications such as retinopathy (eye), neuropathy (nerves) and renal damage. Vitamin C also helps improve glucose tolerance in the case of type 2 diabetic people. Doctors recommend between 1 - 3 g of Vitamin C dosage per day for diabetics.

Dietary sources include fresh vegetables and citrus fruits, such as broccoli, green and red pepper, cauliflower, lemon, cabbage, pineapples, strawberries, oranges, olives, citrus fruits.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine. Diabetics who have a deficiency of this vitamin mostly suffer from neuropathy (nerve damage), and benefit from its supplementation. Peripheral neuropathy is a common outcome of vitamin B6 deficiency. Pyridoxine supplements are able to improve glucose tolerance, particularly for women with gestational diabetes, or impaired glucose tolerance caused by intake of birth control pill.

Vitamin B6 is also important in preventing other diabetic complications as it is an important non-protein compound that combines with the protein - collagen to form an active enzyme.

Dietary sources include chicken, fish, liver, whole grains, nuts, and legumes.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 supplementation does to quite an extent help treat diabetic neuropathy. The presence of Vitamin B 12 is necessary for the correct functioning of nerve cells, and therefore taking it as a supplement may help reduce nerve damage.

Vitamin B12 may be taken orally in capsule form or intravenously or by injection to reduce nerve damage caused by diabetes in most people.

Recommended dosage is up to 500 mcg of Vitamin B12 three times a day.

Dietary sources include liver, yogurt, dairy products, fish, non fat milk.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is both a hormone and a vitamin. Vitamin D deficiency predisposes individuals to type 1 and type 2diabetes. Low levels of vitamin D interfere with the proper functioning of insulin-producing cells. If not enough insulin is present, blood glucose levels will begin to rise.

Those with higher blood levels of vitamin D have better sensitivity to insulin and lower blood glucose levels compared to those with low vitamin D levels.

The skin is the most plentiful source of vitamin D. When exposed to ultraviolet light, our skin can produce as much as 20,000 IU of vitamin D. Food sources are limited to egg yolks, liver, cod liver oil and fortified milk.

Biotin (Vitamin B8) -

Biotin is a B vitamin needed to process glucose. It works in harmonization with insulin in the body, and independently increases the activity of the enzyme glucokinase (responsible in the primary step of glucose utilization). Glucokinase is formed only in the liver, and its concentration may be extremely low in diabetic patients.

Supplements of biotin may have a significant effect on glucose metabolism for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. It might to an extent help reduce pain from diabetic nerve damage.

Experts advise taking 16mg of biotin for a few weeks to see for any changes in blood sugar levels.

Dietary sources include cereal, grain products, yeast, liver, legumes.

Niacin (Vitamin B3)

High levels of niacin may actually weaken glucose tolerance, and should therefore be avoided by diabetics. However, smaller amounts (500-750 mg per day for one month followed by 250 mg per day) can help some type 2 diabetics to lower their glucose levels.

Dietary sources include liver, poultry, milk, leafy green vegetables.


ALA (alpha-lipoic acid) is a potent and natural antioxidant, and may function to help diabetic neuropathy and reduce pain from free-radical break up. Some studies link ALA to decreased insulin resistance and thus, the control of blood sugar.

GLA (gamma-lipoic acid) is another naturally occurring antioxidant. It is helpful for improving damaged nerve function, which is common in diabetes.

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For diabetes information, Diabetes Testing, diabetes treatment, diabetes causes visit

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