Do Sugar Tablets Have Side Effects? Would I Stop It Now?


Blood sugar or diabetes is a growing concern for many. Medicines, insulin, exercise, and lifestyle changes are required to control the symptoms and effects of the ailment. However, many even strive to consume blood sugar support supplements to get some relief. At times, there are no ailments but to, achieve the daily recommended dose of vitamins and minerals people, consider taking supplements.

The supplements are of immense help, but then at the same time, they pose several threats like drug interaction, safety issues, and suitability issues. More than the supplement is useful in the case of diabetes, the bigger question is whether it causes more damage.

Common Side Effects Of Taking Diabetes Medicine

Supplements contain the same vitamins and minerals as whole food. Therefore people with hectic schedules or for weight loss reasons consider popping a pill rather than chewing the wholesome food. Whole foods have minerals, fiber, enzymes, and other elements that help in the easy absorption of nutrients.

Blood Sugar Support Supplements

There is a strong controversy regarding the effect of supplements on the body as compared to food. In case of deficiency of vitamins and minerals, it is fulfilled with the help of supplements. Vitamin D and B12 are the most common vitamins that are deficient, thus popping a pill helps.

Before starting any supplement a complete blood work is required to ascertain the dose of supplements. Also, consulting a medical practitioner is mandatory before starting the supplement.

5 Supplements To Lower Blood Sugar

Supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); thus before buying any supplement, the seal of the concerned authority on it. Most supplements are easily available without any doctor’s prescription; thus, unknowingly one could consume them and create problems.

Supplements have a dangerous side also as they can interact with the medicines. The ingredients in the supplement could increase the effects of the diabetes medicines and cause hypoglycemia (low blood glucose or blood sugar) while some could also increase blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia. 

Some of the supplements that directly interfere with blood sugar levels are as follows:

1. Chromium

Chromium deficiency could lead to high blood sugar levels. Chromium is naturally found in food like meat, grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Having chromium deficiency is very rare. Thus, to regulate high sugar levels, if one is on insulin or medications, then consuming chromium can increase the risk of hypoglycemia. Also, chromium supplements can worsen kidney disease. Further chromium can interfere with levothyroxine, a medication used to treat hypothyroidism. 

2. Bitter Melon

It is a common norm to consume bitter things once blood sugar levels are high. As the two are opposites. However, not in all cases can consuming bitter elements help in treating the ailment. Bitter melon is an ayurvedic supplement that is used for reducing blood sugars in people with diabetes. It consists of charantin, vicine, and polypeptide-p. These are age-old replicas of insulin ( the hormone used to control blood sugar levels).

After a series of tests done on bitter melon, it was found that the test results were inconsistent. Another fact here is that the tests were done for a short duration and the bitter melon dose also varied. The tests are still under study and it will take time before any concrete results are published.

For people suffering from low blood sugar levels, consuming bitter melon could further increase the risk of low blood sugar. Also, unmonitored use of bitter melon could drastically reduce sugar levels even for people with hyperglycemia and cause severe health threats. 

3. Green Tea Extracts

Drinking green tea or ginseng tea has been effective in reducing blood sugar levels. It also helps in reducing weight; thus, if obesity has resulted in diabetes then green tea extract has wonderful results. Green tea was used in ancient civilizations for the same reason and several other health benefits.

As per research, it was found that green tea is effective in reducing fasting glucose and hemoglobin A1C. Thus, consuming green tea could interfere with the working of oral medications or insulin. Thus, striking the balance and deciding on the quantity of green tea is vital. 

4. St. John’s Wort

The research on the effects of St. John’s Wort on diabetes is in its early phase. Several research still need to be done in this aspect. St. John’s Wort affects insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity, and diabetes medications. In a test, it was found that metformin and St. John’s Wort interact with each other. It could result in an increase in insulin secretion and lower blood sugar levels.

However, when St John’s Wort was taken separately, it did not cause any effect on the blood sugar levels. The final verdict is yet to come on the supplement. However, the initial tests conclude that if one is on blood thinners and has both diabetes and heart ailment then St. John’s Wort should be avoided as it could increase bleeding. 

5. Vitamin E

Vitamin E has substantial antioxidant properties. It helps to fight free radicals which could lead to type 2 diabetes. Also, Vitamin E can interact with blood thinners. It increases the risk of bleeding by blocking the clotting effects of Vitamin K. Thus, diabetic people who are blood thinners need to avoid Vitamin E. 

Final Thoughts

The supplements are expensive and the market has several unauthorized and unregulated brands of supplements. Thus doing a thorough background check before starting the supplement is mandatory. Consult a specialist and get proper blood work done regularly to check the effects of supplements. If there are deficiencies then only the supplement should be consumed.

Most importantly to overcome the deficiency, consuming whole food is highly recommended. Food consists of fiber and is natural; thus, it gets easier for the body to digest and absorb the nutrition from it. A well-balanced nutritional meal helps in controlling blood sugar levels.

Also, pairing proper food groups is vital. Consuming whole grains with lean proteins and greens can help reduce the need to rely on supplements. The key to a healthy life is striking a balance between meals and supplements. 

Our recommendations are rooted in genuine belief in the benefits of the products bring to users. When you purchase through our links, we may earn a commission, supporting our testing and development without adding any cost for you. Learn more.

Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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