The Basic 7 Vitamins and Minerals for Diabetes

Supriya Lal

2021 Oct 08

11 min read

Diabetes is widely considered an inflammatory disease, and it affects your overall health, including your sleep and weight. To reduce its effects, you can use different minerals and vitamins. Many studies and researches show that certain vitamins and mineral supplements are quite beneficial for diabetic patients. They are even more effective for older adults and people who don’t take a balanced diet like meat, fish, and vegetables. 

Few of the high potency supplementation offers increased plant extracts and micronutrients. They help the body heal and balance and act as therapy with no nasty side effects of pharmaceuticals. We are going to discuss a few of the best vitamins and minerals that diabetes patients can take. They don’t only help to regulate glucose but also help with high blood sugar.

Here are some basic minerals and vitamins for diabetes that are effective in maintaining your blood glucose level. 

1. Vitamin D

The most essential vitamin for diabetes is vitamin D that improves the insulin sensitivity of your body. Having sufficient levels of vitamin D in your body will regulate sugar levels in your body. 

People usually associate vitamin D with strong and healthy bones. While the fact is that vitamin D not only maintains your physical health but is physiological as well. 

According to research, it has been proven that vitamin D deficiency causes more insulin resistance. The richest and cheapest source of getting Vitamin D intake is through direct exposure to sunlight. 

When people lack vitamin D, or it doesn’t get absorbed in the blood, you should take its supplements. It depicts less vitamin D means more chances of becoming diabetic. The vitamin D absorbing capacity also reduces in some people with ageing and being overweight. 

Taking in Vitamin D supplements maintain blood sugar level in the patient body. If you have type 2 diabetes, you need to take a ≥ 1000 IU vitamin D dose for 12 weeks regularly. 

Besides this, you should take vitamin D-rich foods from natural sources such as fortified foods, cod liver oil, and fatty fish. Whenever you feel vitamin D deficiency in your body, boost exposure to sunlight and intake of these foods.

2. Vitamin B1

Another vitamin that is impaired for effective glucose tolerance is Vitamin B1. According to the Dietary Supplements Office of the US, there is less Thiamin (b1) level in people suffering from diabetes type 1 or 2. 

As imbalanced blood sugar levels cause neuropathy, it has been found that vitamin B1 effectively reduces diabetic neuropathy pain. It depicts that you should never compromise the level of thiamin in your body. 

Along with maintaining blood sugar levels, thiamin also regulates different body functions. Having a sufficient amount of thiamin plays a therapeutic role in keeping your body safe from renal and cardiovascular disorders. 

When you come to know that your body is getting vitamin B1 deficient, start taking its supplements. No doubt that dietary intake cannot beat the worth of an extra dose, but b1 supplements efficiently normalize thiamine levels in red blood cells of people with diabetes. 

Health experts usually recommend taking vitamin b1 supplements in >4 mg/day dose. If you want to boost your blood thiamine level for glucose regulation by dietary intake, make sure to have 1-1.4 mg vitamin b1 daily. 

However, it depends upon the deficiency level in your body. The more thiamin deficient your body is, the riskier it is for being a diabetic. Use nuts, beef, legumes, whole grains, kale, eggs, potatoes, oranges, and asparagus in your daily meal to keep your blood glucose level stable. 

3- Vitamin E

Vitamin E is very helpful in maintaining the level of glucose in the blood. It is very effective in improving insulin activity in your body, oxygenating blood and tissues, and fighting toxins. 

If your body is deficient in Vitamin E, your internal structure will be at the risk of getting damaged due to more free-radical activity. By taking Vitamin E supplements, you will be less likely to undergo diabetes type 2 disease. 

What if you already have diabetes? Increase vitamin E intake to improve glucose tolerance in your body. Moreover, its antioxidant nature prevents your cells from damage and premature aging. 

Furthermore, vitamin E plays an important role in stabilizing cell membranes, inhibiting protein glycosylation, boosting immunity, and reducing blood clots. 

If the vitamin E level is very low, using its supplements is also a good option. Taking a vitamin E supplement in the range of 7-11mg per day is highly recommended to maintain a good dietary balance. 

Ensure that your vitamin E supplements have mixed tocopherols because supplements rich in only one tocopherol can also be risky. No doubt that vitamin E supplements can maintain blood sugar levels in the body of diabetes patients. 

But it’s better to take in vitamin E in the form of food rather than those supplements. Almonds, nut butter, avocado, sunflower seeds, fresh salmon, and hazelnuts are rich sources of vitamin E. 

4. Vitamin B-12

To treat diabetics, vitamin B-12 plays an essential role. The presence of this vitamin is quite important for the correct functioning of nerve cells. So it depicts that taking this vitamin can also aid your nervous system to keep healthy.  

Studies show that vitamin B-12 lessens the neuropathy pain that is a basic diabetes complication. It means that people with diabetes may also have an issue with Vitamin B-12 deficiency. 

Besides that, strict vegetarian and vegan people may also have B-12 deficiency from meat and dairy. 

You might don’t know that Vitamin B-12 is crucial for red blood cells and brain functions. Also, diabetic patients who suffer nerve damage might witness severe symptoms because of the deficiency of B-12.  So, if you are taking Metformin, you may notice B-12 deficiency at the highest levels. 

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For older adults, B-12 deficiency can lead to memory loss. You can consume fish, milk, meat products, and eggs as they are the best sources.

5. Magnesium

Along with vitamins, some minerals are a key factor in regulating body metabolism. One of such critical minerals is magnesium that plays its role in more than 300 processes. 

Being the fifth abundant mineral, magnesium manages blood sugar levels along with ATP energy storage. People often pay no heed to intake magnesium regularly. Many people are suffering from a magnesium deficiency due to eating food or crops having less Mg content. 

One of the basic functions of magnesium is insulin and glucose metabolism. It means that you should not get surprised if having Mg deficiency leads to an imbalanced glucose level.

Moreover, Mg effectively controls cardiac function, neuromuscular communication, blood pressure, and muscle contractions. Besides this, magnesium deficiency causes many chronic diseases like insulin resistance, diabetes type 2, hypertension, migraine, and Alzheimer’s disease. 

To keep yourself safe from diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance, and other diseases, you should eat magnesium-rich foods. Healthy dietary sources are bananas, pumpkin seeds, green vegetables like spinach, figs, avocado, almonds, and dark chocolate. 

As magnesium keeps nerves and muscles relaxed, it is preferable to take it in at night. On average, a diabetic patient having magnesium deficiency should intake magnesium-rich dietary fibers in the range of 300 to 600 mg daily.

6. Chromium

Chromium is another metal and quite an essential mineral that can be quite helpful in reducing sugar levels. Besides that, it is a crucial nutrient in our bodies to fight against diabetes. 

Chromium also works well against lowering fasting glucose, cutting down triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and decreasing insulin. This mineral naturally occurs in meat, fish, fruits, rye bread, and vegetables. 

According to Dr. Tipton, Chromium appears to be safe if taken in low doses, and it might help control diabetes. But, if taken continuously, it may have few side effects like kidney issues that are already a common problem for some with diabetes. 

It would be best if you only use Chromium by consulting with your doctor as it may help increase the glucose tolerance for both type 1 and 2 diabetes. 

You can either use brewer’s yeast stocked with chromium or chromium chloride to improve your glucose tolerance. You may find this supplement in the market by chromium picolinate, chromium nicotinate, and chromium chloride. 

Exercise for diabetes may also increase the concentration of chromium tissues. So, you can try that too, as this mineral might have a role in pre-diabetic conditions. 

7. Selenium

This mineral is quite helpful for gut and thyroid health, but it is also perfect for controlling blood sugar. It comes with several antioxidant properties that offer multiple benefits. According to one study, selenium altered the bunch of genes that are involved in blood sugar regulation. 

People with diabetes are often facing selenium deficiency. Besides that, it is also lower in people with high blood sugar. This study also proves that selenium has improved blood sugar as well as insulin level in diabetic patients.

Selenium is also pretty helpful as an addition to insulin therapy. Furthermore, it also restores normal glucose metabolism as compared to insulin alone.

You can take selenium supplements after consulting with your doctor or eat foods rich in this mineral. For example, you can eat mushrooms, asparagus, salmon, etc. 


1. Which vitamin should you avoid in diabetes?

Niacin is a vitamin supplement that you should avoid in diabetes. People usually take this to raise the level of HDL cholesterol in the body, but it also disturbs glucose levels in the blood. It boosts the glucose level in your body even if you are fasting, leading to obesity. Moreover, if you are taking it for increasing HDL cholesterol to keep yourself protected from cardiac diseases, consult your physician first. Keep yourself away from Niacin if you are a diabetic patient. 

2. Is it healthy to take Vitamin B complex daily?

Though vitamin B is very effective in regulating blood glucose levels, taking it in large amounts is hazardous. Whether you are taking a supplement of Vitamin B complex or eating it in the form of food, you should maintain its amount according to expert recommendations. Moreover, it’s not possible to take in complexes of water-soluble Vitamin B alone. It depicts that a higher level of vitamin B supplement is fatal to health. So, it’s not healthy to take Vitamin B complex supplements daily. 

3. Can diabetes patients take pills of Vitamin C?

Yes, diabetes patients can take Vitamin C. Vitamin C pills are proven to be cheap therapy. People with diabetes often feel dizzy even after eating vitamin C supplements. It’s because these pills are linked with hypertension, leading to low blood pressure levels. But there is no need to worry while taking in vitamin C. Taking in an appropriate dose of vitamin C will maintain your blood glucose level. Feel free to check your glucose level by glucometer after taking these pills. 

4. Why are there low levels of Vitamin D in people with diabetes?

It has been observed that diabetics usually have low levels of Vitamin D in their bodies. Basically, this Vitamin D deficiency is linked with insulin resistance. If the β-cells of your body stop working, your blood glucose level will disturb due to the production of insulin resistance in your body. This insulin resistance causes inflammation in the body. Vitamin D acts on the inflammatory area to reduce swelling, causing its deficiency. That’s why vitamin D levels are deficient in diabetes patients. 

Final thoughts

That’s it for now. We have mentioned a few of the basic vitamins and minerals for diabetes. But, always consult your doctor before taking one as it must be incorporated into your diet plan. Before recommending one, your doctor might order a blood test to determine what is needed. 

Keep in mind that using more minerals and vitamins can be very helpful to get better blood sugar levels. Moreover, it also lowers HBA1c and prevents both short and long-term health complications.

Written by

Supriya Lal

Supriya Lal is a Registered Dietitian based in New York City. She completed her training at Duke University Hospital System and has specific interests in personalised nutrition therapy, nutritional counseling, and sustainability related to food and nutrition. She is currently completing her Master's in Public Health at New York University.

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