Diabetes: a leading lifestyle disease that can cripple you, make you blind and just about destroy all your other body systems if left untreated. Uncontrolled diabetes can wreak havoc on your cardiovascular system, your eyes, kidneys, nerves, digestion and skin. What makes having diabetes even worse is the knowledge that by taking diabetes vitamins, eating the right food and doing regular exercise, your chances of getting the disease would've been greatly reduced. Diabetes, while largely genetic (meaning you get it from your ancestors), is also an environmental disease. An abusive lifestyle -- smoking, drinking sugar-laden sodas, eating foods rich in fat, carbohydrates, salt and calories -- and a sedentary lifestyle contribute to the insidious onset of this deadly disease.
Here's the good news though, you can still reduce your odds of getting diabetes through behavior modification. A change from a morbidly unhealthy lifestyle to one that promotes physical fitness and psychological well-being can spell the difference between a life full of limitations and a life of pleasure and enjoyment.
The proper diet and regular exercise prevent obesity and ward off the onset of diabetes. Keep tab of your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, avoid smoking and alcoholic drinks to keep your sugar levels in check. Adding diabetes vitamins to your diet also enhances prevention and treatment. If you have prediabetes (a fasting blood sugar level between 100 to 125 mg/dl), you can arrest it and inhibit its progress into full-blown diabetes. Diabetes supplements can help in the management and control of the disease and its terrifying consequences.
Two Major Types of Diabetes
There are two major types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, usually occurs in children and young adults. An autoimmune disease, Type 1 diabetes is triggered by external factors in people who are genetically predisposed to it. It’s not common and accounts for only 5-15 percent of all diabetes cases.
Type 2 diabetes is non-insulin dependent diabetes, since the body can still produce some insulin. However, the amount may be inadequate or the cells in the body may not function properly to react to the insulin. It’s more often a lifestyle disease, the result of poor eating habits and lack of exercise. It usually occurs in people at the age of 40 years old and over but with the decadence of modern living, it can now be found in younger people.
Vitamins, Minerals and Herbal Supplements for Diabetes
When looking to buy diabetes supplements, read the labels carefully and choose the ones that contain ingredients that, singularly or in conjunction with others, have been proven to keep glucose levels under control and grow healthier cells. Here are some of the best:
- Vitamins B1, B6, B12 – Vitamin B1 may help in the reduction of blood glucose levels, vitamin B6 may help prevent heart diseases and vitamin B12 reduces the numbness and tingling sensations caused by nerve damage.
- Vitamin C – It helps in normalizing blood sugar and cholesterol levels in diabetics.
- Vitamin E – This vitamin may help in improving glucose tolerance and the body’s response to insulin.
- Chromium – This is an essential mineral that regulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism and improves the response of body cells to insulin.
- Magnesium – Magnesium is a mineral that has several benefits for diabetic persons. It helps blood sugar reach normal levels, promotes bone density and improves muscle and nerve functions, cardiac rhythm and the immune system.
- Vanadium – A mineral that copies the actions of insulin in the body, it decreases insulin resistance and helps lower blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. Dosage should be calculated since this mineral can be toxic.
- Zinc – Zinc is a mineral that helps the body produce insulin, enhance its absorption and minimize unnecessary excretion. It transports blood sugar to the cells to convert it into energy. It's especially effective for people with Type 1 diabetes.
- Ginseng – An herb, specifically Panax Quinquefolius, that may improve control of blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin that's used to monitor the fluctuation of blood sugar over a three month period.
- Aloe Vera – The gel in aloe vera reduces levels of blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin.
- Gymnema – It's an herb that can make the blood sugar level in Type 2 diabetes drop; people taking this supplement should monitor their blood sugar level closely.
Risk Factors for Diabetes
Smoking can aggravate the existing poor blood circulation that’s already present in people with diabetes. The nicotine in cigarettes damages the major blood vessels, leading to cardiovascular and kidney problems. Active smokers increase their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 44 percent. Moreover, diabetics who smoke have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels than non-smokers.
Drinks that have high sugar content include regular sodas, purchased fruit drinks and restaurant milk shakes. Too much of these can raise your blood glucose to dangerous levels and add pounds to your weight. People with diabetes or prediabetes should stay away from these drinks and replace them with low-sugar ones or use artificial sweeteners instead.
Obesity increases the risk for getting diabetes by putting extra stress on the body and increasing insulin resistance. If you live in a modern, affluent nation - specifically in Western nations like America, Canada and England - you have easy access to high-caloric foods that are rich in fats, carbohydrates, sugar and sodium. Overweight or obese people are those with a body mass index of more than 25, a waist circumference of more than 40 inches for men and more than 35 inches for women. An overweight person has more fat cells than muscle cells. Fat cells have a stronger resistance to insulin, the glucose-controlling hormone in the body. The weakened action of insulin prevents the glucose from being used as energy; it remains in the blood and diabetes develops or becomes worse.
A sedentary lifestyle contributes to obesity and poor diabetes management. Exercising regularly helps in weight management and maintenance of proper blood sugar levels. A 30-minute exercise, done three to four times a week, is sufficient for diabetic people. However, diabetics need to be extra vigilant when exercising since there is the risk of a dangerously lowered blood sugar level or hypoglycemia, which can be fatal. Make sure to stay adequately hydrated before, during and after doing exercise activities to keep body cells in optimum condition.
Now that you know what can possibly cause diabetes and how you can avoid it, don’t wait for it to control your life. Plan your diet and exercise regimen, keep to your ideal body weight and take diabetes vitamins. It’s your life. It’s your rule!