Diabetes Part 2: Minding Your Micronutrients  By: Monica Eggleston, ARNP, FNP-C

Micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, organic acids, phytonutrients) are often ignored, but vitally important for healing, detoxification, energy, and metabolic regulation, especially since Type 2 Diabetes, and some of the medications used to treat it and associated conditions, can deplete the body of micronutrients much more rapidly than usual.

Here are a just of few of the numerous micronutrients that are either commonly deficient in, especially beneficial for, or depleted by medications for people with Type 2 Diabetes.

Vitamin C - Higher levels are associated with lower risk of developing diabetes, and lower hemoglobin A1c levels in Type 2 diabetics.

Magnesium - Depleted by stress, coffee, diuretics and other medications.  Diabetics have more magnesium deficiency than the general population. Higher intake is related to lower risk of developing diabetes, and the right type of supplemental magnesium can improve cellular insulin sensitivity and promotes healthier platelet function in Type 2 diabetics.  

Vitamin B12 - The group of oral diabetes medications called biguanides (such as Metformin) are known to deplete Vitamin B12 in some people.  Many practitioners (myself included) favor Metformin as the safest and most effective oral pharmaceutical diabetes medication (if medication is needed at all), but anyone on these medications should ensure that their B12 levels are optimal.

Chromium - critical for glucose metabolism and the action of insulin.  Diabetics are especially vulnerable to the effects of chromium deficiency, and cellular insulin sensitivity can be improved by chromium supplementation.

Zinc, commonly deficient in Type 2 diabetics, and further depleted by diuretics and other medications.  Proper supplementation in people with Type 2 Diabetes has been shown to improve both glycemic control and cholesterol profiles.
There are tests available to determine your micronutrient status.  At the very least, be sure you are meeting the RDA for micronutrients.  Supplements can help, but remember that not all are created equal!  So work with a trusted health care professional to mind your micronutrients.