Diabetes Supplements: Chug ’em or Chuck ’em?

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    “Take something natural,” one must remember arsenic is natural.

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    About 12-years ago my then endocrinologist recommended that I take 300 mg of Alpha Lipoic Acid (an antioxidant) each day and 300 mg of Benefotiamine (Vitamin B-1) twice a day to attempt to ward off the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. These are Over the Counter formulations that I buy through Amazon.

    I’ve asked other endocrinologists, including my current one, and get the “might” help. In one case the answer was that in a German study, a “pharmaceutical” version of the supplement did show some positive effects.

    Well, my diabetic neuropathy is not getting any better, in fact, it seems to be getting worse, year over year, but I don’t know how bad it would be if I hadn’t started the supplements.

    Is there any literature or are there any studies that support the theory that these supplements are helpful?

    • The first thing I’d suggest is to get on an FDA approved medication for neuropathy. There are several medications available, and when it comes to neuropathy, it’s a trial and error method to see which one works the best for you.

      In terms of the supplements, there are problems with studies on how they measure what success is. I agree with some of your other doctors that they may help, but there aren’t any really good studies to show that they definitely work.

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    Thank you so much for putting this video on supplements out. It was funny too! 🙂
    The more our patients hear this from health care professionals, I hope that the less money they will waste on these supplements. Money they can spend on some healthy foods instead! I talk with my patients every day about this topic, but the more they hear it the better.
    Thanks again,

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    Hello there,

    What are your thoughts on Vitamin D? There is so much research on the benefits of vitamin D to prevent the onset of other autoimmune disorders in diabetics. My diabetic team still doesn’t seem to be caught up on the research outcomes yet (they are swamped and I get it) so we struggle to understand what dose we should be taking above and beyond a normal 1000iu dose for us folks who live in the North because our doctors aren’t up to date on the current research. How can we accurately dose ourselves without medical input?

    • Typically, the best way to see if you need vitamin D is to measure it in a simple lab test, and to try to get your numbers into the upper-normal range, but not above normal.

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    Years ago we started a study with gestational diabetics taking phytochromium. It did show benefits. The doctor heading the study was in the National Guard and left halfway through and the replacement was pregnant so the study never got completed or published. But we do know that tube feedings without chromium can increase diabetes in the tube fed patients.

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