If you have diabetes, you know there are multiple approaches to managing your health and improving how your body uses insulin. Talk with Dr. Myra Reed about employing nature’s own “quadruple threat” to diabetes – the supplements Alpha-lipoic acid, chromium, vanadium, and berberine.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)
Within the body, Alpha-lipoic acid is found in every cell, where it helps turn glucose into energy. People with Type-2 diabetes take ALA supplements to help their body use insulin more efficiently, as well as protect against cell damage and diabetic neuropathy. Food sources include liver, lean red meat, spinach, broccoli, and potatoes.
Chromium helps cells make efficient use of glucose. Without chromium, insulin’s action is blocked and glucose levels increase. Chromium deficiency may be a factor in the number of Americans who have diabetes. A chromium supplement can lower fasting blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance, decrease insulin resistance, and decrease total cholesterol and triglyceride levels while increasing HDL-cholesterol levels. Food sources include meat, fish and fruits.
Vanadium supports the body’s use of carbohydrates by improving how cells respond to insulin. Prior to the discovery of insulin in 1922, vanadium was used to control blood glucose. While modern conventional medicine does not recognize vanadium as an essential element in diabetes treatment, available studies suggest that the supplement does have a positive effect on blood glucose levels. Functional medicine practitioners carefully monitor their patients who supplement with vanadium. Food sources include mushrooms, shellfish, parsley, dill weed, unfiltered extra virgin olive oil, and grain products.
In addition to these triple threats mentioned above, berberine is a plant extract that in clinical trials has been shown to support cardiovascular health including maintaining healthy blood pressure. Berberine has a powerful affect on specific cardiovascular markers including LDL and HDL cholesterol, as well as triglycerides levels.
In addition to maintaining healthy lipids, berberine has also been shown to maintain healthy blood glucose levels through activation of AMPK, a powerful metabolic enzyme ,that triggers a variety of genes that help improve metabolism, stabilize mitochondria (cellular energy power houses), and enhance insulin sensitivity to reduce blood sugar.
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