Saturday, 2 October 2010

Natural Diabetes Supplements to Help Diabetics

Natural Diabetes Supplements to Help Diabetics

According to the World Health Organization, diabetes is estimated to affect 150 million people worldwide, with the figure expected to sharply increase within the next decade. While insulin injections and other medications are a key part of treatment, the past twenty years has seen much interest in the use of natural supplements.

All diabetics require regular eye examinations, due to the increased risk diabetes is recognised to have in terms of developing eye disease. This is mainly down to the damaging affects of high blood glucose levels, leading to a condition known as diabetic retinopathy, which may result in blindness. The best way to prevent eye disease is to learn how to control blood glucose levels well and attend regular check-ups, while there are also several supplements identified as offering extra eye protection, such as vitamin C, vitamin E and B vitamins.

In Natural Approaches to Diabetes, Brewer (2005) recommends key supplements to help protect the eyes of diabetes sufferers, to include the following:

  • carotenoids
  • bilberry
  • ginkgo

Supplements Help Prevent Diabetic Nephropathy

Diabetes sufferers are at a far greater risk of developing kidney disease than the general population, a condition known as diabetic nephropathy. This is because diabetes may cause atherosclerosis, where the arteries harden and fur up, limiting blood supply to the kidneys. An increase in protein combined with raised glucose levels will also cause further kidney problems. In addition to dietary changes, managing blood glucose levels and blood pressure, B vitamins have been recognised as beneficial in reducing the risk of developing diabetic nephropathy.

Brewer (2005) recommends taking alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), which is a powerful form of antioxidant and is available from both health food stores and health-care pharmacies. This supplement is able to increase energy levels and reduce fatigue, with the latter being common in diabetes.

Prevent Diabetes-Related Foot Problems with Supplements

Another health issue commonly affecting sufferers of diabetes is foot problems, where ulcers can result in multiple hospital admissions. Foot problems in diabetics are down to the reduction of blood supply to the feet, nerve problems and infection. Regular check-ups with a chiropodist may be advisable in some sufferers and wearing supportive shoes which fit well is also important. In addition to these approaches, five nutritional supplements, identified by Brewer (2005) as being beneficial in preventing diabetes-related foot problems, include as follows:

  • vitamin C
  • B vitamins
  • bilberry
  • garlic
  • ginkgo

As highlighted above, diabetes sufferers may benefit from a range of nutritional, natural supplements to protect against eye, kidney and foot problems. Key supplements worth considering, include alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), bilberry, ginkgo, vitamin C and B vitamins. Before commencing any form of natural supplement or herbal remedy, always seek medical advice.

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