Best supplements for diabetes: The plant-based capsules that could help lower blood sugar

Type 2 diabetes is a common condition in the UK that can lead to long-term health complications with the eyes, kidneys, nerves and feet. People with the condition may require medication, but one of the best ways to keep blood sugar levels in check is to follow a healthy diet. Experts recommend eating a wide range of foods, including fruit, vegetables and some starchy foods like pasta, and keeping sugar fat and salt to a minimum.

A 2019 review of studies found taking 500mg or more of quercetin daily for at least eight weeks could help type 2 diabetes

Additionally, adding a certain nutrient to your diet can help regulate blood sugar, according to research.

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.

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.”

Another supplement which could help type 2 diabetes is chromium. 

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

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, but it can’t be made by our bodies, so we must get it from foods, such as broccoli, potatoes and wholegrain.

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

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