Top 5 supplements healthy people may need for hunger and blood sugar
Elevated blood sugar and type II diabetes are typically looked at as diseases of lifestyle. People eat too much sugar and junk food and so they get diabetes. The solution is thus focused on making dietary and lifestyle changes.
However, there are some physiological causes of blood sugar imbalance that are often over looked. Dietary choice is not the only factor. The following are considerations for health conscious people who still have blood sugar imbalances despite following all the right dietary advice.
Chromium and Vanadium
Chromium is a trace mineral which is essential for proper insulin function. Over time deficiency of chromium leads to impaired glucose tolerance. In cases of unexplained high blood sugar, or sugar/carbohydrate cravings chromium should be considered.
Vanadium is another trace mineral useful for elevated blood sugar. It's not as well known as chromium, perhaps because it is less well studied and understood. Vanadium is easily available over the counter as a supplement in milligram dose. There are some concerns of the long term use of high doses. While trace minerals do have important functions, they belong in the body in trace amounts. The form of vanadium I have used in practice is the product "V-zyme" from Biotics which has 20 micrograms (or 0.02 milligrams) of vanadium per pill. Often such food based supplements yield good clinical results without the need to take high doses of a synthetic form. Anecdotally I have seen this help some people who with sugar cravings and poor adrenal function.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1) and metabolic acidosis
Signs of thiamine deficiency
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Constantly feeling hungry and craving sugar
- Low blood pressure
- Cravings for alcohol (often this is related hidden to blood sugar imbalances)
Need for thiamine is often indicated on basic blood work as an increased Anion gap. Anion gap is a measurement of the difference between the positive cations (Sodium and Potassium) and the negative anion (chloride and carbon dioxide). If you don't see the Anion Gap directly on your lab work it's easy to calculate with this formula:
(Na + K) - (Cl + CO2) = Anion Gap
Although lab reference ranges will vary, ideally this should be between 7 and 12. If it is remarkably high, around 20, then there may be a need for supplemental thiamine.
There are many different forms of vitamin B1 available as a supplement. I have found the form in the Biotics product Bio-3b-G works exceptionally well at doses much less than what you will find in most other production.
Some of the products I use most often for blood sugar issues in my clients. Often it's not just finding the right nutrient that is important, but taking the right form and dose is important as well.
Phosphatidyl Serine and other supplements that lower cortisol
Stress is simply the body's non-specific response to any additional demand. This demand may be physiological (such an an acute injury) or psychological. The stress response is regulated by the hormone cortisol.
Among many other effects, cortisol raises blood sugar. This is a survival mechanism to get quick energy to our heart, lungs and brain. This is a survival mechanism that is beneficial in case of a true emergency. However, the daily stress we experience in life triggers the stress response as well. Over time this may deregulate the endocrine system causing too high or too low cortisol.
Since cortisol raises blood sugar, it would be a consideration in cases of unexplained hyperglycemia. Some people they have normal blood sugar during the day, but cortisol spikes at night while they sleep. This may also cause insomnia.
Such people may find themselves being lectured to by their doctor about diet because their HgA1c is too high. However, their blood sugar is normal during the day and they aren't over eating.
The hidden cause of their increasing HgA1c may be found testing cortisol in the middle of the night, or simply measuring blood sugar with a glucometer.
Phosphatidyl serine is a great supplement for the brain and for keeping elevated cortisol down. It should be a consideration in any case of elevated night time cortisol.
Other supplements that may help as well include calming hers like mother wort, lemon balm, passion flowers, and oat tops.
Coconut oil and other healthy fats
Fats are digested much more slowly than carbohydrates. They thus can keep people satiated for longer. Coconut oil has especially been getting attention the last few years. It's has high amounts of medium chain triglyceride (MCT's) which are metabolized different than other fats. The MCT's go directly to the liver where they can be converted into energy. You can simply add coconut oil into your diet or take MCT's from coconut oil which is commonly sold as a supplement.