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Due to a constant increase in people with diabetes, pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome, I felt it would be a good idea for a quick refresher course on what supplements can be used to help with blood sugar and insulin resistance issues. Be cognizant that supplements are only part of the equation though. You need to maintain healthy eating and activity habits while incorporating these supplements.

With regards to supplements for blood sugar control, I always start with minerals, primarily, Chromium, Magnesium and Vanadium. We are a mineral deficient society due to our over consumption of processed foods. Processing takes out the good in most cases and often times companies need to “fortify” the foods to put back what they just processed out. Recent research has shown that people with blood sugar control issues usually have low blood levels of these three key minerals. Research from the 1900s showed that Chromium-rich Brewer’s yeast was helpful in restoring blood sugar levels. Current research shows that chromium supplementation with doses as high as 1000mcg per day has been helpful at improving glucose tolerance in those with Type II diabetes. You should consult with your health care provider before using high doses of any supplement. Magnesium consumption has shown to improve insulin production in those with Type II Diabetes. The last of the three minerals I recommend is Vanadium. Most people haven’t heard of this mineral yet research has shown that it helps improve glucose control in as little as 6 weeks.

Another supplement that is helpful with supporting healthy blood sugar levels is Alpha Lipoic Acid. Alpha Lipoic Acid could end up being the big winner in the future for those with blood sugar control issues. This supplement has been shown to increase the burning of glucose. It protects not only against the dysfunction that causes diabetes, but also against the damage caused by the disease. Carnipure (l-carnitine) is a popular dietary supplement because it has been shown to produce many health benefits, one of which is control blood sugar. Carnipure improves insulin sensitivity, increases glucose storage, and optimizes carbohydrate metabolism.

Herbs work great (maybe better) too. There are several that stand out above the rest: Gymnema, Cinnamon, Maitake and Bitter melon. Gymnema has been shown to improve the ability of insulin to lower blood sugar levels in both Type I and Type II diabetes. It seems to help in three areas-decreasing insulin resistance, block glucose absorption and increase the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas. Cinnamon (yes, the spice) extract is known to improve blood sugar levels and lipid levels in those with Type II diabetes. The extract of Maitake (Sx Fraction) has also been shown to be extremely helpful for those with interest in blood sugar control. Bitter melon contains different compounds that have a multi-pronged attack against elevated blood sugar levels.

To take some of the guessing work out of picking the right supplements for your blood sugar issues, consider using a combination formula, which is designed to address your specific needs. Formulas like Advanced Sugar Support, Doctor’s Choice for Glucose Regulation and Wellbetx Glucose Management are my favorites. These formulations combine the key nutrients needed to both maintain and achieve healthy blood sugar levels.

Not consuming sugar isn’t enough!

I have been preaching this for years not and until the shift in obesity, weight issues and type 2 diabetes occurs, I will continue to beat this drum….processed CARBS (potatoes, rice, pasta, breads, chips etc. are evil. Why? For most of us we have turned our bodies into Fat-Factories by over-consuming starchy foods.   Starches are easily broken down (digested) by the enzyme amylase into sugar, which is then absorbed rapidly into your bloodstream. Once the sugar is absorbed it is either used as energy or stored as FAT. For most of us, our over-consuming of starchy foods (Pasta, breads, potatoes, rice,chips etc.) has converted us into fat-factories. If you want to positively impact this part of your diet you have 2 choices: Stop eating carbs or take Phase 2 (a patented white kidney bean extract) with all starchy meals and snacks. Phase 2 helps block amylase (the enzyme that breaks starches down into sugar) from breaking down starches and therefore will diminish not only the amount of sugar that makes its way into your bloodstream, but also helps with controlling weight.   There are several published studies on the benefits of Phase 2 as part of a weight loss program and it is now one of my favorite supplements to recommend for those who struggle with their blood sugar and eat starch-containing foods.

If you are looking to take control of balancing your blood sugar, then you need to be aware that popping a pill or pills is not the answer. Even if you subject yourself to the pharmaceutical answers to blood sugar control, you are not going to “cure” yourself of the problem without other lifestyle modifications. I firmly believe that the answer to your problem lies in proper diet and activity. If you can get these two aspects under control, supplementing or taking prescribed medications will not be necessary in most cases. The choice is yours, but in the meantime, you now have some tools to assist your body in overcoming your blood sugar issues.