Vitamins are classified as either fat or water soluble based on how they act in your body. Some vitamins are dissolved in fat while others are dissolved in water. Discover 2 fat and 2 water soluble vitamins that are beneficial for people with diabetes.

  • Vitamins and SupplementsFat soluble vitamins dissolve in lipids in your body. They are absorbed by chylomicrons (fat globules) that travel through your lymphatic system to the small intestines and then get circulated in your blood. Examples of fat soluble vitamins include vitamins A. D, E and K. Ultimately these vitamins, especially A and E, are stored in your body tissue. People can get too much of a good thing when it comes to certain fat soluble vitamins. This can lead to a potentially harmful condition called hypervitaminosis. However, those who are deficient in fat soluble vitamins might have a fat intake that is too low or their fat absorption is compromised by certain drugs or health conditions. It is best to consult with your doctor and inquire about blood testing to determine your vitamin levels.
  • Water soluble vitamins include vitamins B and C. These vitamins dissolve in water. Often people with diabetes type 2 are deficient in water soluble vitamins and minerals because elevated blood sugar levels act like a diuretic. As a result, nutrients can be lost in your urine. This may lead to nutritional deficiencies and related health complications. Talk to your doctor about taking vitamin supplements. Certain nutritional supplements can help your body use insulin and even maintain healthier blood sugar levels. Taking a vitamin supplement can also help boost your immune system and make you less susceptible to illnesses such as the common cold.
  • B-complex vitamins are a water soluble supplement your doctor may recommend. People on Metformin- a common diabetes medication may be especially depleted of B vitamins. Vitamins B6 and B12 support nerve health, which can help with conditions such as diabetic neuropathy. Biotin is a B-complex vitamin that can help your metabolism because it is involved in the effective manufacturing and use of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Consult with your doctor to find out the daily amount you should have of each of these essential B-complex vitamins.
  • Vitamin C is another water soluble vitamin that can boost your immune system and help you combat illnesses. Vitamin C can also help lower levels of sorbitol in your body. This is a type of sugar that collects in your body and can lead to damaged cells in your nerves, kidneys and eyes. People with diabetes are more susceptible to vision problems, kidney problems and neuropathy. Because Vitamin C tends to flush out of your body quickly, at least 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily is recommended. Always check with your physician even when taking water soluble vitamins.
  • When it comes to fat soluble vitamins, vitamin D is highly recommended for people with diabetes who are prone to infections due to periodontal disease and diabetic ulcers. Vitamin D boosts the production of antimicrobial peptides to help your body destroy germs, including bacteria and viruses. Usually it is recommended that people with diabetes take a minimum of 2,000 IU of supplemental vitamin D each day (check with your MD).
  • Another fat soluble vitamin to possibly take is vitamin E, the ultimate antioxidant. It can help improve blood sugar control as well as protect your blood vessels and nerves from damage. This is particularly important for people with diabetes. There has been some recent controversy concerning vitamin E so always check with your health care provider. Some studies have shown that vitamin E helps protect against atherosclerosis and cataracts. People are typically advised to take between 100-300 IU of vitamin E daily.
  • Be aware of your intake of vitamins through regular and fortified foods. Keep in mind vitamin supplements are not a substitute for eating healthy, well-balanced meals and snacks. Your diet should include lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, lean fish and meat and whole grains. Read the labels on the foods you eat to make sure you do not get too much or too little of a good thing. Ask your doctor about additional diabetic testing to see whether certain dietary changes should be made to your diet including adding supplements and vitamins.

Discuss your nutritional needs with your health care team before taking any type of vitamins or nutritional supplements. Ask your doctor about taking B-complex, C, D and E vitamin supplements for optimum health. The right nutritional balance with diabetes can help you combat health conditions, maintain improved blood glucose control and feel better every day.