Balanced blood sugar levels are important for everyone, not just diabetics. Balancing our blood glucose levels results in better health. We feel more energetic. We aren’t as prone to mood swings, and our food cravings don’t make us act like a food-crazed monster. Our brains work better and we can even reduce chronic inflammation. While there are lifestyle choices which will help to balance our blood sugar levels, like drinking enough water and eating regularly, there are a handful of supplements that can help support the body in maintaining this all-important balance.
What is a Blood Sugar Level?
Blood sugar represents the amount of sugar in the blood which can be carried to the cells to be used for energy. It is changed from sugar to glycogen to be used as fuel by the cells. We can’t dig into a bowl of glucose to feed our cells, but when we eat sugar in all its forms, both natural, and processed, the body uses it to carry out different functions in our bodies.
Contrary to what many people believe, sugar isn’t all bad. It is just when we have too little or too much that it becomes a problem. Natural sugars are usually processed by the body the most efficiently, and artificial sweeteners or processed foods like high fructose corn syrup cause additional physiological stress for our bodies in the conversion process.
For example, the brain uses nearly one half of all the sugar, or more specifically, glycogen, in our bodies to carry out all its functions. This is its primary source of energy.
Both our livers and muscles store glycogen to be released when we need energy the most, but if our blood-sugar levels become too high, the body starts to get confused about when to change sugar into energy and when to pack it on as fat, causing a long list of health concerns, from obesity to diabetes, chronic fatigue, liver disease, heart disease, depression, and more.
Simply Too Much
The biggest problem in modern times isn’t a lack of sugar though, it’s an excess of the stuff. Close to 70% of America is overweight with a THIRD of the nation being obese, and many nations are following this trend.
1822: Americans consumed around 45 grams of sugar every five days, or the amount of sugar in a single can of coke.
2012: Americans consumed 756 grams of sugar every five days, or about 130 POUNDS of sugar a year.
All it takes is a little deductive reasoning to figure out that this is an obscene amount of sugar to expect our bodies to process.
Sugar is not just in the obvious culprits like cookies, candies, and cakes. It is also hidden in foods you would never expect like granola, marinara sauce, and even “diet” foods.
So, what’s a concerned health enthusiast to do?
Supplements to the Rescue
Aside from diligently reading food labels, and trying to get your sugar only from natural sources, or eating a whole piece of fruit which includes both pectin and fiber to help your body process the sugar in the fruit slowly, instead of consuming “sugar-added” fruit drinks, or sodas, for example, we can take natural, herbal, blood-sugar-regulating supplements.
- Fenugreek – Fenugreek has been used as a palate cleanser and digestive aid for millennia, but one paper describes a 30% improvement in blood sugar levels when Fenugreek seeds are dissolved in water before being consumed. The seeds can also be consumed on their own, for beneficial effects. They are a little bitter with a slight taste of licorice or maple syrup. They also help with respiratory disorders, dandruff, and anemia – so they serve many purposes alongside keeping blood sugar levels consistent.
- Magnesium – This one important mineral is responsible for more than 300 co-factors in the body’s physiological processes. Just one of this is helping to convert sugar to glucose to be used by the cells. It’s also the eighth most common element in the earth’s soil. You need around 320-400 mg daily to help your body stay healthy and regulate blood sugar levels.
- Ginseng – Also known as the Manchurian wonder, Ginseng is a root that was discovered more than 5,000 year ago. 1 to 2 grams daily can help the liver and pancreas support healthy insulin levels, regulate your mood, boost your energy, and even help you think more clearly.
- Cinnamon – Cinnamon has been used for centuries to help with many ailments, but recent scientific research has proven that it significantly reduces fasting blood sugar levels in diabetics, and helps non-diabetics maintain health blood glucose levels, too.
- Alpha-Lipolic Acid – this supplement (ALA) is available in foods or pills, and helps the body convert pure sugar into its useable counterpart: glycogen. It also attacks free radicals and has been proven to reduce insulin-sensitivity in just under a month. You can also get alpha-lipolic acid in spinach, sprouts, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, beets, and rice bran.600-1200 mgs daily is recommended.
Drink plenty of water, eat healthy foods, with a concentration on leafy greens, plant fiber, plant-based proteins, and healthy fats such as Omega 3s, and you can truly support your bodies’ ability to turn sugar into energy.
Add these five supplements to your healthy lifestyle choices, and diabetics may even be able to reduce the amount of insulin they take to keep the blood-glucose levels healthy. As always consult with your doctor before adjusting your diet or adding any herbal remedies, especially if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic.