Can Diabetics Take Gummy Vitamins Safely? It Depends
- A healthy, balanced diet is key to helping diabetics get the nutrients they need.
- Some diabetics may not get all their recommended nutrients.
- Consult your doctor to decide if vitamin supplements, including gummy supplements, could help you.
- When choosing gummy vitamins for diabetics, there are a few things to note, such as the sugar content and nutrient composition.
Diabetics are 10.5% of the population in America. Whether you have type 1 diabetes (your body doesn't produce insulin), type 2 diabetes (you have chronically high glucose levels), or gestational diabetes (diabetes that can happen during pregnancy), you can keep this health issue under control with positive lifestyle changes.
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That said, you still might struggle to get enough nutrients. That's where dietary supplements for diabetics can help. But if you aren't a fan of swallowing pills or slurping down fish oil, are there other types of supplements, say, gummy supplements, that you can take instead?
Ahead, we'll answer your question, "Can diabetics take gummy vitamins and other chewables?" Before we go into the specifics, let's look at why nutrient deficiencies often go hand in hand with diabetes.
Can Diabetics Take Gummy Vitamins? 3 Factors to Consider
In many cases, chomping on fresh, whole foods is the best way to fulfill your nutritional needs, diabetic or not. But if you have nutrient deficiencies, diabetic-approved dietary supplements may help.
To determine if your body is lacking in any nutrients (think macronutrients and micronutrients), you can request nutrition testing from your doctor. Normally, this takes the form of blood tests, like a vitamin panel blood test that identifies deficiencies in any of the 13 essential vitamins the human body needs.
Once your test results come back, you and your doctor will have a clear idea on which supplements to help replenish your body’s nutritional deficiencies, if any. Bear in mind, however, that certain vitamins can interact with diabetic medications and create troubling side effects. Speak with your doctor before adding vitamin supplements to your diet.
Circling back to the topic at hand, can diabetics take gummy vitamins? Or do these chewables come with added sugars that spell trouble for your blood glucose levels?
The good news is, yes, diabetics can (usually) safely take gummy vitamins, as long as you look at a few things first:
Check the Sugar Content
It's no secret that most gummy vitamins have more grams of sugar than non-chewables (think pills and capsules). Even when the packaging states "sugar-free," some manufacturers still manage to sneak in sugar substitutes like sugar alcohols (sweet carbohydrates that can upset your digestive system). Simply put, your body doesn't need the extra sugar, especially if you have diabetes.
That's why we created Llama Naturals. We offer a natural, whole foods-based way to get your nutrients. You never have to worry about added sugars, syrups, and sweeteners when you supplement with us. Instead, our gummies are made with whole-fruit and no added sugars.
Read the Nutritional Facts
Before purchasing a dietary supplement, go through the fine print on the "Nutritional Facts" label.
Aside from detailing the supplement's composition, this label also shows the Percent Daily Value (%DV), per the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) guidelines. This basically means "how much a nutrient in a single serving of an individual packaged food or dietary supplement contributes to your daily diet." As a rule of thumb, 5% and below means the supplement is low in that specific nutrient, while 20% or more means the supplement has high levels of that exact nutrient.
Let's use Llama Naturals Plant-Based Multivitamin as an example. For the %DV for vitamin A, the nutrition label says one serving of the vitamin supplement (three gummies per day) would fulfill 75% of your daily nutritional need for the nutrient. You can then eat vitamin-A-rich foods (like carrots and broccoli) to top up the remaining 25%.
While the "Nutritional Facts" label is a good guideline, it's still best to check in with your doctor to ensure you aren't over- or under-consuming a certain nutrient.
Research the Brand
As the FDA regulates dietary supplements differently than food and drugs, do your research to check that the brand you’re buying from is trustworthy. And don't forget to read the product label carefully!
In the case of gummy vitamins for diabetics, Llama Naturals is the go-to supplement (if we do say so ourselves). Aside from skipping the added sugars, our vitamin supplements exclude artificial colors, flavors, gluten, and other allergens.
Why Diabetics Are at Risk of Nutrient Deficiencies
Diabetics deal with higher-than-normal blood sugar levels. That's why healthcare providers generally recommend healthy eating to avoid worsening your condition.
Sure, working with your primary doctor and nutritionist is crucial to managing type 2 diabetes. But, nutrient deficiencies remain a widespread problem among diabetics. So, if that sounds like you, don't worry, you aren't alone!
There are several reasons for this:
- The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) provide nutrient recommendations for healthy individuals. With chronic illnesses like diabetes, patients need more nutrients than the average healthy person. So, if you're a diabetic following these general dietary guidelines, you may not be getting enough nutrients for your optimal wellness.
- Certain medications for diabetes may worsen nutrient deficiencies. Case in point: Metformin, a drug that lowers blood sugar levels, may hamper your body's ability to absorb vitamin B12. This, in turn, may lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency.
- When diabetes isn't kept in check, complications like gastroparesis can arise. It's a condition in which nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy due to a high blood glucose concentration) impairs your intestinal muscles. This makes it difficult for your digestive system to break down and absorb the foods you eat. As a result, you're more likely to suffer from malabsorption.
Because adequate micronutrient intake has been clinically proven to slow down type 2 diabetes, work with your healthcare team to resolve any existing nutrient deficiencies.
The Types of Nutrient Deficiencies to Look Out For
There are specific micronutrient deficiencies that the diabetic population can be more vulnerable to:
In recent years, researchers have unearthed a link between vitamin A deficiency and diabetes. In one study, when blocking the vitamin A receptors on insulin cells from mice and human test subjects, insulin production decreased by roughly 30%. On the flip side, high levels of vitamin A and vitamin E are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin B deficiencies often accompany obesity, which may intensify your risk of type 2 diabetes.
In a 2012 study, thiamine (vitamin B1) helped create specific enzymes that break down glucose. Not getting enough thiamine in your diet may heighten your blood glucose concentration and aggravate type 2 diabetes.
Biotin (vitamin B7) insufficiency also correlates with high blood glucose concentration and insulin resistance. Thankfully, biotin supplementation, on its own or with chromium, improves glucose and insulin levels.
While on the subject of B vitamins, folic acid (vitamin B9) deficiency has also been recorded among diabetic patients. When you supplement with folic acid, it could potentially lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and promote better heart health. On top of that, niacin (vitamin B3) shows antidiabetic potential.
There's a good reason why vitamin C is a popular antioxidant.
Low vitamin C levels may increase insulin resistance. This means your body doesn't respond well to insulin, so your cells can't take in glucose. As you can imagine, this can raise your blood sugar levels to an unhealthy degree.
Vitamin D may be your partner-in-crime when managing diabetes. That’s because vitamin D insufficiency is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, and diabetics tend to have lower-than-normal vitamin D levels.
Because vitamin D regulates your body's insulin levels, diabetic individuals who lack this vital micronutrient may somewhat improve their condition with some supplementation. Various studies also emphasize that sufficient vitamin D levels (from dietary supplementation) may reduce insulin sensitivity.
Vitamin E is another antioxidant that many diabetic patients don't get enough of. This is a pity, since studies on vitamin E note the delay the onset of diabetic complications like foot ulcers, eye damage, heart disease, and slowing the progression of these issues.
Not getting enough magnesium in your diet has also been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes. That's because this essential mineral regulates insulin function and glucose uptake in cells.
While more clinical trials are needed to explore this connection, it is possible that increasing your magnesium intake may boost insulin sensitivity and decrease your risk of diabetes.
Can Diabetics Take Gummy Vitamins?
Diabetes can be a tricky health condition to manage. But when you commit to a healthy lifestyle that features a balanced diet, you can help optimize your overall health and wellness.
Still, diabetics can face some nutrient deficiencies. So, can diabetics take gummy vitamins (or other vitamin supplements)?
Definitely, but it also depends on the sugar content and nutrient composition in the supplement. In this case, do your homework on the product and brand to ensure this supplement will have your doctor's stamp of approval. One good option would be the yummy, no-added-sugars gummy vitamins at Llama Naturals.Llama Naturals is a plant-based nutrition brand that has created the World's First Whole Fruit Gummy Vitamins that are made with no added sugar and whole-food vitamins. They are USDA Organic, Vegan, Gluten-Free, free of common allergens, and are slow-cooked on low heat to retain rich phytonutrients & fruit flavor. It’s a win-win gummy vitamin that the whole family will love.