Those who are struck with Diabetes, especially later in life, are just as surprised as anyone with the diagnosis. Type 2 Diabetes is a game changer for many – dietary, exercise, glucose testing and additional doctors’ visits are things that become a way of life – and there is no fixing or forgetting it. There are people who seem to be healthy, active and conscious of their diet who get struck. So, what can you do to prevent it? For starters, change your diet. This is the most talked about change for a diabetic as hidden sugars and carbs become very apparent when having to keep track of them. Additionally, a change in activity is a must. Not all those who get diabetes are chip-eating, couch potatoes. Some get exercise but not enough. Cardio and resistance training are very important and both should be incorporated in a daily routine. There is a third way to help stave off diabetes – supplements. These alone won’t keep diabetes at bay, but added to the other two elements – diet and exercise – and you’ve got a fighting chance.
The information about supplements that can increase insulin sensitivity is in its infancy. With the rate of diabetes increasing in the modern world, looking for natural answers has become a priority. There are a few supplements that definitely have an impact and some that help at a slightly lower level, but, in a sense, still make an impact. Before diving into which supplements to take, it is important to understand what Insulin Sensitivity is. The most basic definition is simply how well your body uses its insulin supply to reduce high glucose levels. If you are insulin sensitive, it is a good thing because the opposite is Insulin Resistant. Being insulin resistant means your body has to release a lot of insulin to try to get the same amount of high glucose levels down. This is not good. When your body cannot use the insulin to lower the blood glucose, type 2 diabetes begins. So, the goal to maintain healthy insulin sensitivity is very important in the battle against diabetes.
Here are a few proven supplements that directly affect blood glucose, insulin sensitivity and have other beneficial effects. If you are presently taking any other medications or supplements, please check with your physicians to rule out any adverse interactions that could be present.
Magnesium Magnesium is a very important mineral and one that is very effective in gaining insulin sensitivity and increasing glucose tolerance. It is the second most common deficiency in developed countries, which could explain the alarming increase in type 2 diabetes. Magnesium helps reduce blood glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity. It is a must have supplement in the fight against diabetes and unfortunately, not enough green leafy vegetables or nuts are eaten in society today. Most foods are grain based, which is severely lacking in magnesium. Magnesium has a few other perks like lowered blood pressure and an increase in bone mineral density. Magnesium is probably something you are not getting enough of and supplementation is highly recommended. Do not combine Magnesium with zinc as the zinc will interfere with magnesium absorption.
BCAA Branched Chain Amino Acids are found in foods containing protein. BCAA’s are one of the supplements that do not directly affect the glucose or insulin levels. What they do, though, is help build lean muscle. When your goal is to keep diabetes away, building up lean muscle is imperative. Weight training and resistance exercises involve contracting the muscles. Every time you contract the muscles you take up glucose. This helps regulate the glucose and increases muscle tone and strength. BCAA’s help to build these muscles and keep fatigue at bay. As an added bonus, BCAA’s burn fat and even sharpens your reaction time. All of these things play a role in better health and better fitness which help fight diabetes.
Fish Oil This is another supplement that is chock full of good things for your body. In regards to diabetes, one of the most common issues is being overweight. Fish oil lowers the triglyceride levels. This is a big deal as high triglyceride levels are directly linked to obesity. Obesity and diabetes tend to go hand in hand. Taking fish oil will reduce these triglyceride levels. Lowering triglyceride levels secondary effect can be glucose metabolism. Taking fish oil can not only help decrease the risk of diabetes, but, it increases brain activity and decreases depression. This is a big factor as depression and being overweight are often linked. It also acts as a blood thinner – so those on blood thinners and people with high cholesterol should consult their physician (fish oil can sometimes increase cholesterol). Taking a fish oil supplement on a daily basis and losing weight can help your body function more efficiently when it comes to metabolizing sugars. Getting into the habit of taking it daily now can increase your chances of avoiding diabetes in the future.
Green Tea Green Tea has been shown to reduce adipose tissue, which is commonly referred to as belly fat or pouch. It has also been shown to decrease glucose uptake into this adipose tissue. This is a very good thing. Glucose added to fat means more fat. Green tea accomplishes the opposite. On top of this, it increases the glucose intake to the muscles. It also increases insulin sensitivity. Green tea is an excellent addition to your daily dietary menu. You can drink it as a tea or brew it and add it to other juices. The benefits do not stop there though. Green tea is an antioxidant, helps prevent osteoporosis and reduces the risk of stroke. This is an easy addition to your diet with amazingly beneficial properties.
Zinc Zinc is another supplement that is not always associated with insulin or diabetes. It is most often referred to in dealing with colds, due to recent connections made with shortening the duration of the common cold and zinc. In regards to diabetes, zinc has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and that people with more zinc in their blood streams are less likely to get diabetes than those without. Getting a proper amount of zinc is imperative. Zinc supplements are readily available and come in pills or powders. Avoid taking zinc at the same time as calcium and iron as they interfere with its absorption.
Combining dietary changes, aerobic and anaerobic exercises and adding supplements to your daily routine can all help increase insulin sensitivity and reduce your risk of developing diabetes. All of these changes and additions to your diet are well worth the effort to avoid a disease that will last a lifetime.