I may receive a commission if you purchase through links in this post. I am not a doctor; please consult your practitioner before changing your supplement or healthcare regimen.
Most medical sites don’t recommend natural supplements as a means of controlling or reversing type 2 diabetes. But medical peer reviewed studies say just the opposite: “Medical doctors are therefore encouraged to incorporate dietary supplements into the regimen employed for … diabetes management.” (source)
I won’t go into the corruption that drives the medical field, but it’s time medical doctors stop doubting the power of diet and supplements to help the body heal. Insulin dependence is not a given. While many with type 2 diabetes may choose to continue using insulin as well as making lifestyle and supplement amendments, insulin dependence is what most medical doctors are educated to recommend. They do not know safe alternatives and doubt that safe alternatives exist.
Multiple studies (here, here and here) have shown that a Paleo diet, rich in pasture-raised meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds, fruits and starchy roots like cassava and sweet potato, is an effective approach for diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
What about type 1.5 diabetes, (which is late onset type 1 and autoimmune in nature); can it be helped with diet and lifestyle? The answer is Yes. Type 1 and 1.5 diabetes (also called LADA for “latent autoimmune diabetes in adults”) are autoimmune diseases. So diet and lifestyle absolutely can positively affect change and improvement. (source)
This article can not encompass the full scope of which of the below supplements fully apply to type 1 and 1.5 diabetes but many of them will still be beneficial. Talk to your functional or naturopathic doctor about each of them as well as low-dose naltrexone and intermittent fasting.
Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease. Caused largely by poor diet, sitting too much, not enough exercise, not enough sleep, over-eating and an imbalance of nutrients, it’s hard for patients to turn off and change the very behavior that’s caused their illness. Although eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia have gotten more coverage, chronic overeating is also an eating disorder. (source, source, and source)
You might be saying, I know person ABC who is thin and she has type 2 diabetes. Absolutely. There are two categories of patients who are not overweight but who still have this autoimmune disease.
The first person, while not overweight, still has an unhealthy diet, perhaps poor sleep, perhaps sits too much. In other words, she still struggles with many of the same causes, even if she doesn’t overeat or overeat as much as an obese patient.
The second thin patient who has type 2 diabetes had a genetic predisposition to the disease and then she fits the profile that many of the rest of us with autoimmune diseases have: she has leaky gut (intestinal permeability), stress, inflammation, and environmental triggers are present. (source and source)
We’ve established cause. The solution is often up to the patient. If the patient is determined to get well and understands the long-term dangers associated with medical treatments (read about these here), the solution can be sought out with whatever emotional support may be needed to maintain the dietary changes.
Long term goals to maintain to keep type 2 diabetes at bay? Sit less. Exercise more. Get 7-8 hours sleep nightly. Eat a Paleo diet. Reduce stress. Heal your gut.
By the way, I don’t just say “exercise more” in a broad sense, because I know that any kind of exercise, like more cardio, won’t do the trick, especially where goals of weight loss are concerned. Rather read here about high-intensity strength training and how to exercise in a more effective way. Take to heart the full article, including how to prevent injury and be gentle with high-intensity strength training, how to be more active in general and how to change eating habits associated with heavy cardio workouts.
One of my favorite methods for weight loss is to go on a long and preferably pleasurable walk after dinner (instead of doing a big cardio workout followed by a big meal). Regular walking (2 miles or more several times per week) reduces body fat and stimulates glucose metabolism. I have seen this in my own life! Walking is also gentle and reduces stress. (source)
10 Best Supplements for Diabetes
Just as lifestyle is the most important step for controlling diabetes, supplements that aid diabetes are largely nutrient-dense. They’re providing key nutrition the body needs for wellness.
My tip for taking fewer pills is to find reliable supplement companies that create combination supplements designed to meet your needs. Number 4 below is a great example. This supplement saves time, money and energy by combining key nutrients the diabetic needs. This article would have been titled The 15 Best Supplements for Diabetes if it wasn’t for companies like Designs for Health.
Most Americans are deficient in magnesium. Low blood sugar and diuretic drugs cause the body to excrete magnesium which affects the body’s ability to produce insulin. Low magnesium levels also affect bone health, sleep quality and good bowel health, to name a few. As a diabetic it’s best to have your magnesium levels checked first by a doctor, before supplementing. Dosage is 300-400 mg. daily. THIS magnesium is excellent.
2. Vitamin D3 + K2
Healthy bones, cellular health, immune system function, heart health, D3 + K2 + Magnesium + vitamin A, they’re all co-factors, needed by one another for optimum health and wellness. Most Americans should supplement, but have your doctor test your levels and then re-test to find your maintenance dose. I take 5000 IU daily of THIS D3 + K2.
3. Fresh fish in the diet
Diabetes creates a higher risk for heart disease. 2 to 3 servings of seafood weekly helps to prevent heart disease. Fatty acids in fresh fish help by lowering levels of triglycerides, reducing inflammation, improving irregular heartbeats and reducing arterial clogging.
This supplement contains ALA (alpha-lipoic acid). Nerve damage and pain or tingling in one’s extremities are not uncommon symptoms with diabetes. Especially when addressed early, ALA may help reduce pain associated with early nerve damage. Metabolic Synergy also includes selenium, green tea extract, chromium, taurine, inositol and B vitamins.
These are all supplements that I would otherwise have listed separately! So many fewer pills to take and bottles to open/store/reorder and money saved. Dosage is 6 capsules daily, 2 with each meal; or ask your doctor for dosage. Get Metabolic Synergy HERE.
Some of the supplements I list below are also in Metabolic Synergy, but only in very small amounts, not in high enough dosages.
Kelp tablets, rich in easy to assimilate iodine, are a great way to support healthy thyroid function. Only take iodine if you’re also taking selenium (which is included in Metabolic Synergy). Check with your doctor first if you have a thyroid autoimmune disease. You can buy Kelp tablets HERE. 325 mcg is the recommended daily dose.
This herbal blend supports healthy blood sugar levels with Gymnema sylvestre, Banaba leaf extract, Cinnamon, Kudzu and Ginseng. Berberine is also used to improve insulin sensitivity. Get GlucoSupreme HERE. 2 capsules 2 times daily with meals.
Prebiotics provide food for probiotics and in so doing improve the overall ecosystem of the gut and immune system, also reducing inflammation. Prebiotics are a source of insoluble fiber. I LOVE THIS one and how much it’s helped my digestion overall. Take 2 capsules daily. If gas occurs, reduce dosage to 1 capsule daily and increase over time.
Prescript Assist is the leading soil-based probiotic. It has the unique ability to colonize the G.I. tract while remaining gentle and easily tolerated, even by those with SIBO and IBS. You can find it HERE. One capsule each am is the recommended daily dose. If it’s hard to budget this one in you can open the capsule and pour out half into your mouth (relatively flavorless), thus splitting one pill between 2 days; or take one every other day.
9. Adrenal support
DSF Formula adrenal support helps to support healthy cortisol function, which in turn helps to control blood sugar levels. DSF Formula combines glandular extracts with nutrients to reduce stress. Consult your practitioner. Find DSF Formula HERE.
Adaptogenic herbs are another approach to reducing stress and balancing cortisol levels. Stress Manager provides this support in tincture form. 40 drops 3-4 times daily in 2 ounces of water, between meals.
We talk too little about vitamin C’s role in healing the gut and maintaining structural integrity. Vitamin C is also a key antioxidant. Liposomal vitamin C is the best, for almost complete absorption. Only 500 mg. daily is needed for a maintenance dose, which means THIS brand will last 2 months, 1/2 a packet daily. THIS acerola cherry powder is also a really nice option. It’s very affordable and acerola cherries boast the highest amount of vitamin C of any food. The dosage is 1 teaspoon daily.
Combined with lifestyle choices, I hope you’ll find these supplements to be supportive and healing to your body.