Type 2 diabetes: Supplements to lower blood sugar – cinnamon, chromium and quercetin

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Type 2 diabetes can cause a person to feel excessively thirsty, the need to pee a lot and also very tired. If the condition is left untreated it can result in serious, long-term health problems involving the eyes, feet, nerves kidneys, and can even increase the risk of heart attack and stroke happening. But one of the best ways a person’s blood sugar level can be controlled is by eating a healthy diet.

You should eat a wide range of foods, including fruit, vegetables and some starchy foods like pasta, and keep sugar, fat and salt to a minimum, according to the NHS.

But some experts also suggest including certain supplements in your diet to keep your blood sugar in check.

Cinnamon

But individual foods have also proven effective at lowering blood sugar.

Several controlled studies have shown the spice cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

One study demonstrated type 2 diabetes patients who took cinnamon for 90 days had more than a double reduction in haemoglobin A1C (a form of haemoglobin that is covalently bound to glucose) than those who only received standard care.

The study was titled ‘Effectiveness of cinnamon for lowering hemoglobin A1C in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled trial’.

In three trials involving cinnamon cassia, fasting glucose levels fell by between 10.3 per cent and 29 per cent with no significant changes in those on placebo.

Chromium

A number of studies have suggested chromium can help regulate blood glucose levels.

A 2012 study carried out by the USA’s University of Wyoming found chromium helps blood glucose levels by boosting the actions of insulin – the hormone responsible for regulating the release of glucose into the cells.

In 2003 a study published in Nutrition Research Reviews reported that the type of chromium used in supplements – chromium picolinate – is able to curb insulin resistance, which can be linked to the development of type 2 diabetes.

Holland & Barrett explains what chromium is: “Chromium is a trace mineral, which means your body needs it in tiny amounts.

“It plays an important role in turning the food we eat into energy.

“Chromium can’t be made by our bodies, so we must get it from our food.

“Good sources include broccoli, potatoes and wholegrain. Most people get all they need from their diet.”

As well as in food, chromium is available as chromium picolinate in tablets and can also be found in multivitamins.

Quercetin

A 2019 review of studies, published in Phytopherapy Research, found taking 500mg or more of quercetin daily for at least eight weeks reduced blood glucose levels in people with metabolic syndrome, who have an increased risk of developing diabetes.

Again, Holland & Barrett explains what quercetin is: “Quercetin is a flavonoid, a natural chemical found in plants that has been shown to have a wide number of health benefits, including reducing inflammation, relieving allergy symptoms, and preventing infection.”

Quercetin is available as a supplement but can also be found in a number of foods, including:

  • Onions
  • Citrus fruits
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Red grapes
  • Berries

When it comes to dosage for supplements, the high street health store advises: “Doses of 500-100mg a day are considered safe.

“Don’t take quercetin if you are pregnant or breast-feeding as there isn’t enough evidence to show it’s safe.

“Quercetin can interact with certain medications, so speak to your GP before taking quercetin supplements.”



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