I’m in a local diabetes support group, and over the weekend I was asked what supplements I take, what brand I use, and why I take them. My diabetes supplement stack consists of CoQ10, Fish Oil, Vitamin D3, Magnesium, and Aspirin. Notice I don’t have a multivitamin? Most people need a multivitamin. Anyone on the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) usually need one. I’ve been tested with a blood test called a “Comprehensive Metabolic Panel”, which gives me a good overview of my nutritional needs. [Note from my CDE] While you do get sodium, calcium, and potassium with this test, you don’t get magnesium or any vitamin levels. Vitamin D and B12 are very common deficiencies in PWD and are often ordered for people with general complaints of fatigue, malaise, etc. whose thyroid levels are normal. All lab values, similar to A1C’s or blood sugars, vary based on your current level of hydration, blood sugar, and nutritional status. See something slightly out of range? Get it rechecked another day soon. If it’s still out of range, or if you see something really out of range? You likely need a medication, BG, food, or supplement change. [End CDE Note]
Maybe ask your health care provider about getting these tests done for you? I just think that supplementing without a need, is a waste of money, right? One important thing about supplements is quality. Whatever you do, don’t buy supplements off the shelf at Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, or the grocery store. Those supplements are the lowest quality out there, and they often produce no results.
First, some cautions that I’d like to mention about supplementing. There are 2 basic types of vitamins. Water soluble and fat soluble. The main difference being that a water soluble vitamin, your body will just get rid of in your urine if it doesn’t need it (and it turns pretty colors). However, if you take more than you need of a fat soluble vitamin, it can become toxic and cause you harm. Your body stores the vitamin in your fat cells, and levels rise, until toxicity occurs. Also, some supplements like magnesium, iron, and calcium can interfere with some medications like blood pressure, blood thinners, and thyroid medications. Before starting any supplement, talk to your health care provider and do tons of research. Most health care providers don’t know about supplements, or disregard them, so you may be on your own.
So the first supplement I take is CoQ10 from Cocoa Well. High quality with the benefits of cacao, and the company supports fair trade. Without CoQ10, your muscles wouldn’t move. It’s part of the ATP synthesis process. (Google it!) I take it because of my heart history. I take only the recommended dose. It’s a fat soluble anti-oxidant, and has been shown to improve HDL cholesterol and reduce blood pressure, among other things. The brand I take is Cocoa Well brand. After adding this supplement to my stack, the next HDL test I took went from 54 to 74. Very few men ever have an HDL that high. HDL is the cholesterol that protects you. It cleans your arteries so to speak. Oh! If you take a statin drug for your cholesterol, you NEED A CoQ10 supplement!!! The statin destroys most of your naturally occuring CoQ10. Have muscle aches? Yep, that’s why. Take CoQ10 and those muscle aches will probably go away.
The second supplement I take is a fish oil supplement called MorEPA (yes, that’s spelled right), from a company called Minami, a subsidary of Garden of Life. I take the recommended dose of 1g per day (1 pill). I take it for heart health, but it helps with so many other things in the body, that I can’t possibly write about them all here. (Google it!) I take THIS brand, because it’s pharmaceutically pure and they consider the environment in everything they do. With Minami, you only need take 1 pill per day. Any doctor worth their weight, recommends fish oil for their patients. With any fish oil supplement, if it doesn’t tell you what kind of fish is the source, don’t buy it. Quality brands are made from the smallest possible fish source. In most cases sardines, mackerel, and anchovies. If it doesn’t say that it comes from these sources right on the label, then don’t buy it. MorEPA does say this right on the label.
I just started taking magnesium citrate, made by Vitamin Shoppe. I take the recommended dose of 200mg once per day. I take it for my diabetes. Magnesium activates the enzymes necessary for a number of body functions, including muscle contractions, and heart function. It’s known as the muscle relaxer. So far it seems to have improved my insulin sensitivity, which was my goal. My guess is that improves insulin sensitivity by relaxing the muscle cells allowing easier carbohydrate synthesis.
I also take Vitamin Shoppe brand Vitamin D3. I take it because I was dangerously deficient 2 years ago. I take more than the recommended dose. I take 5000mg once per day. Vitamin D levels should be above 31 mg/ml and lower than 100 mg/ml. Mine is now 47 mg/ml. 2 years ago, it was 11 mg/ml. Lastly I take a basic 81mg aspirin every day.
I take all but one of my supplements in the evening with my thyroid and blood pressure meds. My research showed there was no adverse interaction between them. The one I take by itself in the morning is the magnesium, since it would interact negatively with my thyroid medication.
Before taking any supplement, research it from only respectable sources such as Harvard Health, Mayo Clinic, university clinics, etc. Check not only the benefits, but the possible side effects and drug interactions. If you have a health care provider that’s not clueless about supplements and nutrition, ask their advice. Here is a video from my favorite celebrity doctor about the benefits of supplementing for diabetes . . . . .