Supplements to support healthy blood sugar
- Mel’s weekly product picks:
Four supplements (including specific brands) to support healthy blood sugar
- Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
No-Bake Peanut Butter Caramel Coconut Bars
NOTE: Please check with your healthcare provider before beginning any supplement regimen.
First, let me say that you can NEVER supplement your way out of a crappy diet. Never. So don’t even waste your money.
Food is medicine and a healthy diet is essential for managing your blood sugar– there’s no way around it! So if you’re not quite there in the food department, focus on that first and then use supplements to help fill the gaps.
Unfortunately, even if you follow a perfectly balanced diet, you may still be at risk for nutrient depletion due to depleted soils, industrial farming, environmental toxins, stress, and our modern lifestyle. This is where supplementation can be beneficial.
There are four simple supplements that can help regulate your blood sugar and improve the way your body handles carbohydrate foods like fruits and grains. They are:
- WHOLE FOOD-BASED MULTIVITAMIN: with adequate B-complex vitamins, antioxidants, and 1000 IU of vitamin D3.
- PROBIOTIC: with at least ten different probiotic strains and 10-15 billion colony forming units (CFU).
- OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS: 1000-2000 mg/daily with 250 to 500 milligrams of EPA and DHA.
- MAGNESIUM: 300-400 mg/daily
Whole Food-Based Multivitamin
(+ B-complex vitamins, antioxidants, and 1000 IU vitamin D3)
A high quality whole food-based multivitamin offers the benefit of the whole food and all of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes that occur naturally in the food or plant.
B-complex vitamins support healthy sleep, energy levels, metabolism, stress response, and help protect against nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy). They are water-soluble, which means they dissolve in water and therefore your body cannot store them.
Antioxidant vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium, may help reduce oxidative stress, which plays a pivotal role in the development of diabetes complications.
Vitamin D3 treatment has been shown to improved glycemic control and insulin sensitivity in people with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and normal individuals. Conversely, low vitamin D levels in general have been associated with insulin resistance and obesity.
Adequate blood levels of vitamin D (known as the “sunshine vitamin”) can be achieved in just 15 minutes of full-body (minus sunscreen) sun exposure daily between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. Of course this isn’t difficult to achieve in the summer months, however, in most areas of the country it’s impossible to meet this recommendation nearly six months out of the year. This is where extra vitamin D3 supplementation can be beneficial.
Your vitamin D level can be obtained through a simple blood test called 25-hyroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D for short. In his book The Blood Sugar Solution, Dr. Mark Hyman considers a range of 45-60 ng/dl to be optimal. If you are deficient, higher doses of vitamin D will be needed to bring you up to the desired range.
NOTE: For best absorption, take your whole food-based multivitamin with a fat-containing meal, like a smoothie made with avocado and chia seeds.
- Garden of Life Vitamin Code: Women; Men; 50 & Wiser Women; 50 & Wiser Men
- New Chapter Multivitamin: Women (also 40+ and 55+); Men (also 40+ and 55+); Perfect Energy (for energy and vitality); Perfect Calm (for stress support and wellbeing)
(with at least ten different probiotic strains and 10-15 CFU)
Your microbiome is a collection of more than 100 trillion organisms living within your intestines, mouth and nose. It influences practically everything about you, including your: mood, immune system, risk of developing cancer and diabetes, sleep, body weight, digestion, and food cravings!
To grow and sustain the friendly organisms, in addition to eating a balanced diet chock full of a wide variety of plant-based foods and low in processed foods, you’ll also want to eat a steady supply of probiotic-rich foods. Probiotics are foods or supplements containing live bacteria that replace or add to the beneficial bacteria normally present in your gut. They include: raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar (Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar), fermented soybeans (natto, miso, and tempeh), fermented vegetables, kefir, kombucha, unsweetened yogurt, and probiotic supplements.
Unless you eat a regular diet of fermented vegetables and kombucha, I recommend you take a high quality probiotic supplement every day.
- Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Probiotics: Once Daily Men’s; Once Daily Women’s; Fitbiotic (powdered formulation that supports digestion and weight management); Mood+ (promotes emotional wellbeing and digestion)
- Garden of Life Primal Defense: available in powder or capsules
- Garden of Life Raw Probiotics: Women; Men; Women 50 & Wiser; Men 50 & Wiser
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
(1000-2000 mg/daily with 250 to 500 milligrams of EPA and DHA)
Omega-3 fatty acids can improve insulin sensitivity and nerve function, lower triglycerides, raise HDL cholesterol, reduce inflammation, lower risk of heart attacks, and improve nerve function.
You can achieve a healthy dose of EPA and DHA by consuming a regular diet (2-3 times per week) of omega-3-rich fish that are low in mercury and other contaminants, including salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, and anchovies.
- New Chapter: Wholemega Whole Fish Oil
- Wiley’s Finest: Wild Alaskan Fish Oil
- Garden of Life: Minami Algae Omega-3 (for vegan/vegetarian diets)
Known as the “relaxation” mineral, magnesium can help improve your sleep (which is UBER important for healthy blood sugar and weight) and also assist glucose into your cells where it belongs!
Good food sources of magnesium include: dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, peas, and lentils.
- Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Magnesium (powder)
- Trace Minerals Ionic Magnesium (liquid)
- Life Extension Magnesium
- NOW Magnesium
- Magnesium in the form of magnesium citrate, can have a laxative effect in some cases when taken in high doses.
- People with kidney disease or heart disease should consult with their doctor before taking a magnesium supplement.
If you’re looking to begin with just one of the above supplements, I would suggest a probiotic. The health of your gut is tied to almost everything, and as the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates said nearly 2500 years ago: “All disease begins in the gut.”
Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
No-Bake Peanut Butter Caramel Coconut Bars
Looking for a sweet and clean treat you can feel good about eating? No, I’m not talking about strawberries and blueberries…although you can feel good about eating those too!
Meet Peanut Butter Caramel Coconut Bars!
I found this recipe while surfing Pinterest and just knew I had to give it a try. Kudos to London Brazil (by the way…how cool is that name?!) from www.evolvingtable.com, for her Healthy No Bake Magic Bars– which I renamed Peanut Butter Caramel Coconut Bars because it just makes my mouth water to say it! These bars are gluten, dairy, and grain-free and loaded with coconut goodness. The “caramel” glaze is made by combining dates, coconut oil, pure maple syrup, water, and sea salt in a food processor.
Please note: Because these bars have added sugar (in the form of pure maple syrup) and contain natural sugar from dates, they should be treated more like a dessert, not a meal or “nutrition bar”. By the way, if you’re looking to slow the absorption of sugar in your bloodstream, it’s best to eat sweet treats like this after a meal versus an empty stomach and do so at least two to three hours before bed.