Blood Sugar Support
Diabetic SupplementsBlood glucose control supplements are not the same as diabetes medication. Blood sugar support covers a range of products, from dietary supplements such as vitamins and minerals to diabetic nutrition such as meal-replacement shakes and snack bars.
Supplements for diabetics, and diabetic nutritional supplies, should be part of a comprehensive diabetes management plan under the supervision of your doctor and other members of your diabetes care team.
Nutritional Shakes and Snack Bars for Blood Sugar SupportNutritional shakes and snack bars can replace all or part of a meal or snack. They’re formulated to provide the optimal protein, fat, and carbohydrates balance for those with diabetes. When used correctly, they can reduce the likelihood of post-meal spikes in blood glucose. They may also be helpful as a part of a weight-loss or weight control program, which is often part of diabetes treatment.
Carbohydrates have the largest effect on blood sugar, so nutritional shakes and bars intended for people with diabetes rely on carbohydrates with a low glycemic index. These “slow-release” carbohydrates take more time for your body to digest and convert to glucose. That helps minimize blood sugar spikes. They also contain a variety of important nutrients (specific nutrients vary depending on the brand) to help support glucose control.
The downside to shakes, snack bars, and other nutritional products is that they often contain artificial sweeteners, which may be a problem for some people. Standard meal replacement products — those not specifically designed for people with diabetes — are likely to rely on sugar for their carbohydrate content. So, when choosing the right product for you, look for something intended for people with diabetes.
Supplements for Blood Sugar SupportThere are many dietary supplements intended to support healthy blood sugar. These range from single nutrients or herbs such as chromium or cinnamon to proprietary formulations with ingredients that lower or stabilize blood glucose levels. Common ingredients include:
- Cinnamon or cinnamon extract (botanical)
- Turmeric or turmeric extract (botanical)
- Bitter melon (botanical)
- Fenugreek (botanical)
- Ginseng (botanical)
- Milk thistle (botanical) or silymarin, one of its active components
- Green coffee bean extract (botanical)
- Magnesium (mineral)
- Chromium (mineral)
- Alpha-lipoic acid (antioxidant)
- Psyllium (source of soluble fiber)
- Vitamin D
If a supplement works well for you, you may need to have your medication adjusted. Always let your doctor know before you start a new supplement.