Vitamins are one of the most essential elements of our nutrition. Which is why understanding the relation between vitamins and diabetes and how consumption of vitamins can influence your well-being, is important in taking care of your diabetic health. Here is everything that you should know about vitamins and diabetes.
Vitamins and Diabetes
- Vitamin A – Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that is essential for the health of eyes and skin. Though not directly linked in influencing diabetes, it is one of the antioxidants required by our body in the process of detoxification and disease fighting.
- Major food sources for vitamin A are liver, carrots, broccoli, spinach, pumpkin, milk, egg, butter, and papaya.
- Vitamin B Complex – Vitamin B complex is the most important of all vitamins for diabetes, as one of its benefits is reducing the risk of damage to pancreas and pancreatic cancer. It is a group of eight different water soluble vitamins which are essential in supporting and taking care of metabolic activities.
- One of the important functions of vitamin B complex is to help regulate the glucose levels in blood, fighting free radicals and protecting kidneys from damage.
- The B vitamins help diabetics by reducing the levels of cholesterol present in blood and controlling blood pressure.
- Apart from these, they are also involved in a large number of activities in our body including energy production, detoxification, transmission in nerves, using fats and proteins, muscle formation, and production of blood cells.
- Natural food sources of B vitamins are whole and unprocessed foods, whole grains, potatoes, chili peppers, bananas, turkey, and yeast. Unlike other vitamins, these vitamins are best obtained from natural food sources rather than supplements.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C or ascorbic acid, is a vitamin that can be synthesized internally by the body. It is an antioxidant, can protect the body from free radicals and also can help decrease the risks of heart diseases.
- Diabetics are usually found to have less amounts of vitamin C in their body than normal people as some of the vitamins are sent out through urine. But, having a proper diet that is bound to provide you with all kinds of nutrients will avoid any deficiency of this vitamin.
- Vitamin C is a very important vitamin for diabetics as it helps in healing of wounds and is essential in some of the metabolic activities.
- Natural sources of vitamin C include broccoli, tomatoes, citrus fruits like oranges, lemon, peppers, parsley and cantaloupe. You can include these fruits and vegetables in your diet regularly for the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
- Vitamin D – One of the most important vitamins for diabetes is vitamin D. Most of the vitamin D is produced in the skin after exposure to the ultraviolet rays in sunlight in our body. Vitamin D is usually associated with enabling the body in absorption of calcium from food sources.
- The deficiency of vitamin D in the body can be related to poor blood sugar control in diabetics. The deficiency causes impairing of both synthesis and secretion of insulin by the cells in pancreas.
- Vitamin D is also known to decrease the risks of cardiovascular diseases and blood pressure problems.
- Including foods such as milk, fish, eggs, meat, and mushrooms can provide enough amounts of vitamin D for your body.
- Vitamin E – Vitamin E like vitamin C has very good antioxidant properties. It can fight off the free radicals produced because of excess fat and other oxidative reactions that happen because of unhealthy food habits.
- Having healthy doses of vitamin E in the food are known to increase the body’s sensitivity towards insulin and thus increase in glucose tolerance. In those suffering from obesity, it can also decrease the risk of diabetes.
- Natural food sources for vitamin E include sunflower oil, wheat germ oil, nuts, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, tomatoes, papayas, olives, avocado, and mango.
- Vitamin K – Vitamin K is also one of the vitamins for diabetes that are found to be potentially beneficial for diabetics. Vitamin K is also helpful in coagulation of blood, bone growth, and in other growth related activities in the body.
- Apart from their usual benefits, vitamin K might help reduce the chances of development of insulin resistance in some people.
- Natural food souces for vitamin K include cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, avocado, kiwifruit, grapes, parsley, kale, and some green leafy vegetables like spinach.
Things You Should Remember about Vitamins and Diabetes
Apart from understanding the relationship between diabetes and vitamin consumption, there are other things that you should remember before starting on making changes in your diet or going for multivitamin supplements.
- As much as vitamins are necessary to our body, over consumption can lead to vitamin toxicity in your body. Though excess amounts of vitamins are usually flushed out of the body, it is still not recommended to consume too much.
- Unless you are perfectly sure that you have vitamin deficiency, vitamin supplements are not necessary. A healthy balanced diet can satisfy your body’s daily requirement of vitamins.
However, you should remember that it is not enough to treat your situation by trying to control your intake of vitamins and diabetes is a problem in your metabolic activity. Without proper physical exercise, without giving your body a reason to utilize the glucose present in your blood it is not possible to keep yourself healthy and your diabetes under control.