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The Importance Of A Daily Multivitamin

And Mineral Supplement For People With Diabetes And Prediabetes

Author: Melissa Diane Smith
Source: DIC Newsletter, Issue 265

We as health educators and practitioners need to be reminded of the therapeutic value of a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement for people with diabetes. Supplementation with a well-formulated multivitamin and mineral supplement is simple, convenient and cost-effective, especially considering the many health benefits it offers.

A wide range of vitamins and minerals affect glucose metabolism and insulin function, yet people with diabetes routinely don’t get enough micronutrients. In research conducted in Germany, diets of type 2 diabetic patients were analyzed and found to be deficient in one or more of 22 nutrients evaluated. More alarming, a whopping 97 percent of the diabetic patients did not obtain three to seven nutrients in the recommended amounts from their diets.

Putting overweight people on weight-reducing, lower-calorie diets – a central strategy in the treatment of diabetes – makes nutrient deficiencies worse. Most of the diets of non-weight-reducing patients in the above study were deficient in 1 to 6 nutrients, but weight-reducing diets were deficient in 3 to 12 nutrients. Furthermore, more than half of the vitamins and minerals from the diets of people on weight-reducing diets tested lower than 50 percent of the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). So, even in a clinical environment where diabetic nutrition counseling and information are available, multiple micronutrient deficiencies from diets are common. Just to meet the DRIs, a multi-nutrient supplement to the diet is needed.

And research shows that a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement does indeed offer real health and quality-of-life benefits for people with type 2 diabetes. In a study reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2003, supplementation with a multivitamin and mineral supplement reduced infection and illness-related absenteeism in diabetic patients by startling numbers. Only 17 percent of diabetic patients who took a multivitamin and mineral supplement experienced an infectious illness – such as an upper respiratory tract infection or influenza-like illness – compared to 93 percent of patients who took a placebo. Equally impressive, no diabetic patients who took the supplement reported one or more absentee days from illness during the 12-month study period, compared to 89 percent of diabetic patients who received the placebo.