Diabetes Medications & Possible Nutrient Deficiency

By |2018-01-25T11:47:11+00:00Updated: August 17th, 2011|Diabetes Management, Diet & Nutrition, Newsletters|0 Comments

Having diabetes necessitates living a more regimented life. It includes thinking about food choices, exercise regimens, stress management, testing your glucose levels and maintaining a healthy A1c. Actually, living a healthy existence, with a higher quality of life, requires most of the aforementioned recommendations. Some people with diabetes have lower levels of certain nutrients due to the condition itself or from the medication’s actions. Evaluating levels of specific nutrients found on your blood work will indicate if vitamins would restore the amount lacking and how much to supplement with.

Biguanides like the generic, Metformin or the brand names: Glucophage, Glumetza or Fortamet may decrease absorption of cobalamin (B12), folic acid (B9), and Coenzyme Q10. An easy blood test will help you determine if you need to supplement with B12 or folate and how much you may need. A B12 deficiency may create one or more symptoms such as: diabetic neuropathy (numbness, pain and/or tingling in the extremities – especially the feet), anemia or memory loss. In order to absorb B12 you need to have adequate amounts of Intrinsic Factor which is a protein found in the stomach. If your B12 levels are too low your doctor may give you B12 injections or have you take a sublingual (under the tongue) dose of B12. A tiny flavored pill is placed under the tongue so it can be absorbed into your bloodstream and not have to go through the stomach. Because many of the B vitamins have decreased absorption due to medications, medical conditions, drinking alcohol, smoking, and stress it is a good idea to supplement with a B-complex.

Sulfonylureas like the generic Glyburide, Glipizide and Glimepiride or the brand names of Micronase or Diabeta, Glucotrol or Amaryl may also lower Coenzyme Q10 levels. CoQ10 is an enzyme that the body naturally produces, however, aging and taking certain medications like the above mentioned as well as statins (cholesterol-lowering medication) may cause a deficiency. CoQ10 is heart protective and may help with other medical conditions as well. CoQ10 levels may be checked via a blood test though it is infrequently performed.

Magnesium levels may be deficient in people with diabetes. These levels should be checked as well in your next blood work. If levels of any nutrients are low, your doctor can advise you how much to supplement with. These safety measures are important in your journey toward good health.


NOTE: Consult your doctor first to make sure my recommendations fit your special health needs.

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About the Author:

Marci SloaneMarci Sloane, MS, RD, LD/N, CDE, is a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist and certified diabetes educator. She grew up in NYC where she graduated with a degree in Nutrition and Physiology from Teachers College at Columbia University. For over a decade, Marci managed a Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center at a multi-bed hospital in South Florida and has been counseling people on healthy eating, weight loss, and managing diseases and conditions such as: diabetes, pre-diabetes, healthy eating, heart disease, weight loss, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, hypertension, hypoglycemia and a host of other nutrition-related diseases. Marci is an American Diabetes Association Valor Award recipient and lectures frequently to the public and healthcare professionals. Marci was a featured panelist for the Sun-Sentinel's "Let's Take It Off" weight loss program, was highlighted in the Palm Beach Post: Meet Your Neighbor, "Woman's book on healthy eating uses humor as a key ingredient" and was a participant in their Diabetes Series in 2007. Marci Sloane is a member of the American Diabetes Association’s Health Professional Committee.

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