The blood sugar balance is a delicate endeavor. Both high and low blood sugar levels can result in potentially fatal reactions in the body. If you are having trouble maintaining a healthy blood sugar level, there are a number of supplements available that can help stabilize and even lower blood sugar. Chromium (from chromium picolinate), Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vanadium and Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia), are just a few.
Chromium is an essential mineral that may enhance the body's sensitivity to insulin, the hormone which helps move glucose from the blood into the body's cells for use as energy. Some studies suggest that chromium supplements may reduce blood glucose levels and the amount of insulin needed in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Chromium may also help with weight loss and muscle building. It is commercially available in several forms and included in many multivitamins.
Alpha-lipoic acid - sometimes referred to simply as lipoic acid - is an antioxidant that is made by the body and found in cells, where it helps turn glucose into energy. Its ability to kill free radicals may help people with symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy. Alpha-lipoic acid passes easily into the brain and may offer protection for the brain and nerve tissue.
Vanadium is an essential trace mineral found in soil and in many foods. Research suggests that vanadium may lower blood glucose, reducing the need for insulin in people with diabetes. Vanadyl sulfate is a form of Vanadium often used for such purposes.
Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia), is a member of the same family as squash, watermelon, cantaloupes and cucumber. This plant contains polypeptide-P, a substance which has been shown to lower blood glucose in people with diabetes. In addition, it contains a compound called charantin which increases glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis in the cells of the liver, muscle and adipose tissue. It is believed that these two compounds along with all the other phyto-nutrients (carotenes, lutein, zea-xanthin, vitamin C, folate, vitamin A, fiber and minerals) contained in Bitter Melon, make it an exellent addition to the diet for anyone at risk of or diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance or diabetes.
Stabilizing and lowering blood sugar is tricky business. The process is highly individualized and supplements may negatively react with other supplements and medications, making this a very important thing for you to discuss with Dr. Bossio before beginning or changing a therapy that can affect your blood sugar levels.
Alpha Lipoic-Acid. University of Maryland Medical Center.
Chromium. University of Maryland Medical Center.
Diabetes. University of Maryland Medical Center.
Bitter Melon. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Image Attribution: Torsakarin/bigstock.com