In Dr Mark Hyman’s last piece he shared some compelling reasons how we can benefit from supplementing our diet with vitamins and nutrient boosters. In this article, he describes some of the more common supplements so you can determine which are going to work best for you in 2016.
Everyone reading this blog should get on the basic plan of supplements and stay on them for life. Even if you are “cured” of diabesity, you will need to keep taking them, because you need special vitamins, minerals, and herbs to help compensate for your genetic tendency toward insulin resistance. Let’s take a few moments to review the specifics about each of these supplements or ingredients to understand why they are so important in the treatment of diabesity.
1. High-Quality, High-Potency, Complete Multivitamin
The right multivitamin will contain all the basic vitamins and minerals. Keep in mind that getting the optimal doses usually requires 2 to 6 capsules or tablets a day. Some people may have unique requirements for much higher doses that need to be prescribed by a trained nutritionist or functional medicine physician.
Note that B complex vitamins are especially important for those with diabesity, as they help protect against diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage, and improve metabolism and mitochondrial function. Antioxidants such as vitamin E, C, and selenium are also important as they may help reduce oxidative stress, which is a significant cause of diabesity.
2. Vitamin D3
The vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic, with up to 80 percent of modern day humans considered deficient or suboptimal in their intake and blood levels. Depending on what’s in your multivitamin, I recommend taking additional vitamin D. Vitamin D3 improves metabolism by influencing more than 200 different genes that can prevent and treat diabetes4 and metabolic syndrome5.
There are several important things to keep in mind when taking vitamin D:
- Take the right type of vitamin D— D3 (cholecalciferol), not D2. Most doctors prescribe vitamin D2. Do not take prescription vitamin D; it is not as effective and not very biologically active.
- For serious deficiencies, you may need more vitamin D, as much as 5,000 to 10,000 IU a day for 3 months or more. Do this with your doctor’s supervision, if needed.
- Monitor your vitamin D status with your doctor. Get your blood level to 45 to 60 ng/dl. Be sure to request the right blood test, which is the Vitamin D 25 Blood test to accurately check vitamin D levels.
- Give time to fill up your tank. It can take 6 to 12 months for some people. The average daily dose for maintenance for most people is 1,000 to 2,000 IU a day.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA)
These important fats improve insulin sensitivity, lower cholesterol by lowering triglycerides and raising HDL, reduce inflammation, prevent blood clots, and lower the risk of heart attacks. Fish oil also improves nerve function and may help prevent the nerve damage common in diabetes.
Diets low in magnesium are associated with increased insulin levels, and magnesium deficiency is common in diabetics. Magnesium helps glucose enter the cells and turn those calories into energy for your body.
Some people with severe magnesium deficiency may need more than the amount outlined below. If you are concerned you may be severely deficient, discuss the details with your doctor.
Diarrhea is often a sign that you are getting too much magnesium. If this occurs, just back off on the dose, and avoid magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, or oxide. They are the cheapest and most common forms found in supplements but are poorly absorbed. Switch to magnesium glycinate. If you tend to be constipated, use magnesium citrate.
People with kidney disease or severe heart disease should take magnesium only under a doctor’s supervision.
5. Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant and mitochondrial booster shown to reduce blood sugar and heal a toxic liver. It may also be useful in preventing diabetic nerve damage and neuropathy. It can improve your body’s ability to clear the blood of glucose by 50 percent.
6. Chromium and Biotin
Chromium is very important for proper sugar metabolism and insulin sensitivity, and can help you make more insulin receptors. Biotin has been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity, lower triglycerides, reduce expression of cholesterol-producing genes, and improve glucose metabolism.
A number of herbs, including cinnamon and catechins from green tea, are helpful in controlling blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity. Green tea can even increase fat burning and metabolism. The best products provide combinations of herbs in one supplement.
8. PGX (Polyglycoplex)
PGX is a very viscous fiber from a Japanese tuber or root combined with seaweeds into a super fiber. It has profound effects on insulin, glucose, and hemoglobin A1c.
PGX reduces the absorption of sugars and fats into your bloodstream and helps control appetite, weight loss, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
When taken before meals with a glass of water, it can be a critical component to overcoming diabesity. It can lower your insulin response after a meal by 50 percent, while lowering LDL cholesterol by 20 percent and blood sugar by 23 percent. I have had patients lose up to 40 pounds just by using this super fiber.
9. Protein Powder for Your Shakes
I strongly encourage the use of a high-quality, hypoallergenic rice, pea, hemp, chia, or soy protein powder. Some of these powders are anti-inflammatory and support detoxification. Soy protein from whole soy foods with isoflavones can lower blood sugar and cholesterol.
A protein shake also makes an excellent breakfast and snack option, helping balance your blood sugar and heal your liver. See here for great shake recipes (and some other easy breakfast ideas).
Your Daily Nutrient Plan Summary
Now that you understand what these vitamins and nutrients do for your body, you might be wondering what your daily regimen should be. Below, I provide an overview of what I suggest for basic supplementation for my patients. All of the supplements should be taken with a meal, such as breakfast and dinner (PGX fiber should be taken before meals, as directed). Click on the links to purchase top-quality versions of these supplements in my store.
- A high-quality multivitamin and mineral – you can find an array of multivitamins at my store. This is the one I frequently recommend, especially if you have any degree of diabesity. To find out the degree of diabesity you have, log in and take this quiz.
- 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D3, once a day with breakfast – you can get this as a liquid or as a pill
- 1,000 to 2,000 mg of omega-3 fats (should contain a ratio of approximately 300/200 mg of EPA/ DHA), twice a day, once with breakfast and once with dinner
- 100 to 200 mg of magnesium, twice a day, once with breakfast and once with dinner – you can find several forms in my store, including citrate and glycinate.
- 300 to 600 mg of alpha lipoic acid twice a day, once with breakfast and once with dinner. Note the multi I recommended above contains 600 mg of alpha lipoic acid.
- 200 to 600 mcg of chromium, once a day (up to 1,200 mcg a day can be helpful). The multi I recommended above contains 500 mcg of chromium
- 1 to 2 mg of biotin, twice a day, once with breakfast and once with dinner. The multi I recommended above has 4 mg of biotin.
- 125 to 250 mg of cinnamon, twice a day, once with breakfast and once with dinner
- 25 to 50 mg of green tea catechins, twice a day, once with breakfast and once with dinner
- 5 grams of PGX, three times a day, 15 minutes before each meal with 8 ounces of water
- (Optional) A hypoallergenic protein powder to add to a morning protein shake. 1 to 2 scoops of rice, soy, hemp, pea, or chia protein powder for breakfast. Follow the directions on the label. This can be added to your UltraShake.
- In addition to these, most people should use high-quality probiotics, but this is optional.
Many of the components listed can be obtained by taking combination supplements. Getting these ingredients in the listed dosage ranges is important. So be sure to look for combination supplements that match my recommendations as closely as possible. And to make it even simpler for you, I have sourced the best brands I could find to create supplement kits so you can get all you need in one click –follow the links to learn more about my Blood Sugar Solution Basic Plan Supplement Kits – Option 1 and Option 2.
I hope this provides you a better understanding about supplements and choosing the right formula for your needs. While many people do very well with this basic program, more advanced conditions require additional supplements. I highly recommend talking with an integrative nutritionist or physician to address your unique needs.
Read more on Dr Hyman’s site here.