Diabetes frequently causes nutritional deficiencies, often initiated by changes in diet or medications, according to Diabetes Health. As a result, people with diabetes must use supplements. According to Marc S. Stevens, MD, FACS, FICS, the following essential vitamins are often deficient in people with diabetes.
Vitamin B12 is bound to protein in food. The activity of hydrochloric acid and gastric protease in the stomach releases vitamin B12 from its protein. Once it is released, vitamin B12 begins to work quickly. It is important for the formation of red blood cells, neurological function and DNA synthesis. It also supports the digestive system in keeping glucose levels stable. A simple blood test can determine the level of B12 in the body. Adults who have a value below 170 to 250 pg/mL are considered deficient in the vitamin. An elevated blood homocysteine level or elevated methylmalconic acid level may also suggest a B12 deficiency.
It is known that calcium is a building block for strong bones, but calcium needs the presence of vitamin D in order to do its job. One of the physical complications faced by people with diabetes is loss of bone density, and a deficiency of vitamin D puts them at greater risk of fractures and osteoporosis. A shortage of vitamin D also hinders blood sugar levels, making it more difficult to control diabetes. Vitamin D deficiency can result in muscle weakness, increased incidence of infection, increased risk of falling, defects in the skeletal mineralization process, bone discomfort, and aches and pains in the joints and muscles.
Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells against the damaging effects of free radicals, and is also intimately involved with healthy immune function. It promotes eye health and can prevent hardening of the arteries by controlling cholesterol levels. The risk of heart disease, stroke and heart attack can all be linked to deficiency in vitamin E.
Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. It also helps the body digest, absorb and utilize proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Researchers have become very interested in the role magnesium plays in preventing and managing disorders such as diabetes. It is an essential mineral in the regulation of blood sugar, playing a part in the secretion and function of insulin by opening cell membranes for glucose. Low blood levels of magnesium are frequently seen in people with type 2 diabetes. A deficiency can cause insulin resistance, so that they require greater amounts of insulin to maintain their blood sugar within normal levels.