Many of us remember taking a Flintstones vitamin with breakfast as a child. But now that we’re older, is popping a supplement pill really necessary? And what about those “natural” drugs that claim to fight diabetes? Here’s what you should know about vitamins, minerals, and your diabetes.
Are multivitamins necessary for people with diabetes?
According to the American Diabetes Association’s Standards of Medical Care, people with diabetes get no special benefits from taking a multivitamin. If a supplement is recommended for the general public–iron for those following a vegan diet, for example–it is also recommended for individuals with diabetes.
Who needs to take a multivitamin?
Dietary supplements are exactly what they claim to be–supplements. WebMD recommends people take vitamins to help their diets, if they aren’t eating enough nutrients to properly sustain their bodies from food alone. For example, these individuals may include pregnant women, people on low-calorie diets, and people on special gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian diets. However, most people are able to get the right amount of nutrients their bodies need from following the My Plate balanced diet or a plan created by their doctor or by a certified diabetes educator. If you suffer from a nutritional deficiency and think you might benefit from a dietary supplement, talk to your doctor about what type might be right for you.
If you choose to take a supplement anyway:
The Joslin Diabetes Center recommends choosing a vitamin with no more than 100 to 150 percent of the daily value listed for vitamins and minerals. One nutrient people with diabetes may need more of is Vitamin D. According to the Joslin Diabetes Center, Vitamin D promotes the growth of healthy bones, and it may help with blood glucose control. Most people are able to get Vitamin D from the sun, but a supplement may help those who live in a cold or dark climate.
Are there any side-effects of taking vitamins?
It is possible to have too much of a good thing, nutrients included. According to WebMD, there’s no benefit from giving your body more than the daily recommended amount of a nutrient. That means bringing in 150 percent of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C is no better than bringing in 100 percent. While it’s difficult, it is possible to overdo it on the vitamins and minerals. One of the most popular nutrients that people can too much of is iron. Getting more than recommended amount can lead to dizziness, fatigue, and severe headache–all signs of iron poisoning. In addition, too much folic acid can lead to birth defects in pregnant women, and too much Vitamin D can lead to heart problems. That’s why physicians at WebMD recommend getting your nutrients the natural way–from food–before turning to a supplement.