The Basic 6 Vitamins and Minerals for Diabetes

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Research shows that many people who have diabetes can benefit from taking certain vitamin and mineral supplements, especially senior citizens as well as those who don’t eat lots of vegetables, fish, and meat or have abnormal blood glucose or weight. Here are some important ones to consider.Save

Multivitamin-mineral supplements

Unfortunately, the people who have the worst diet are the least likely to take these supplements. And people with diabetes who take a multivitamin-mineral capsule every day often don’t give much thought to their vitamin and mineral needs. If you are taking a multivitamin, make sure that it doesn’t interact or interfere with another supplement or even a prescription.

Vitamin D

Besides keeping our bones healthy, studies have shown that vitamin D has many vital functions. And for people with diabetes, it plays a crucial role in controlling glucose levels. Senior citizens, who can’t make vitamin D efficiently from the sun, as well as overweight people, who carry excess body fat that prevents it from getting into the blood, may have even more of  a reason to supplement it.

Vitamin B12

Up to 30 percent of the people who take metformin may have low vitamin B12 levels. Vitamin B12 can also lessen the pain of neuropathy, one of the most common complications of diabetes. Like people with diabetes, vegetarians and vegans may also be at risk for B12 deficiency because it’s found mostly in animal foods and dairy products. And for senior citizens, low vitamin B12 levels may cause memory loss.

Thiamin (Vitamin B1)

Compared to people who don’t have diabetes, those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are more likely to have lower blood levels of thiamin, along with a higher risk of thiamin deficiency, according to the U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements. Another study found that benfotiamine, a derivative of thiamin, may reduce the pain of diabetic neuropathy.


Few Americans get enough magnesium. And for people with Type 2 diabetes, especially senior citizens or those following a very low-carb diet, chances are even higher that they’re not getting enough. People who have a healthy intake of magnesium have a lower risk of diabetes because it helps the body break down sugar. Low blood levels of magnesium can increase insulin resistance, which leads to diabetes.


Iodine assists in metabolism and is essential for thyroid function. An iodine deficiency can cause weight gain, fatigue, and more. Iodine is added to most salt, but those on a low-salt diet or use sea salt often don’t get enough iodine in their diet. “Iodine is not optional,” writes cardiologist William Davis in Wheat Belly.


Many people are not getting enough zinc with deficiencies especially common among older adults, according to, an independent evaluator of consumer health products. Diabetes itself is associated with zinc deficiency. “Zinc itself may be a crucial element in insulin metabolism,” a leading website in the UK says. “Zinc...may also act to protect beta cells.”

Further resources

The “Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets,” provided by the Office of Dietary Supplements at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, is a key resource. You may also want to consult with your own doctor. If you’re taking supplemental vitamins or minerals now or are deciding about adding any, you need to review the data to better understand how much to take, which can vary depending on your age, diet, and health.