Can Vitamins Raise Blood Sugar?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

The ADA also notes that research has been mixed as to whether routine use of such nutrients as vitamin D and magnesium can actually improve blood sugar among people with diabetes. They recommend an overall healthful eating pattern and personalized nutrition therapy.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), B3 — aka niacin or nicotinic acid — is essential for healthy metabolism. Nearly all Americans get enough vitamin B3 from their diet, but supplements are available.

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The Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation further warns that in large doses (1,000 milligrams or more per day), niacin can aggravate insulin resistance, drive up blood sugar and ultimately undermine the effectiveness of diabetes control medication. (The daily recommendation is between 14 and 16 milligrams for adults, according to Mount Sinai.)

Magnesium

Known for helping to regulate blood sugar levels, magnesium is critical to the smooth functioning of a wide array of bodily processes, according to the ODS. Dietary sources aren't always sufficient, but most people get enough through food and supplements combined.

Omega-3s

According to the ODS, omega-3 fatty acids are essential to cellular health and an important energy source. There are no daily intake recommendations, and deficiency is very rare. But people with type 2 diabetes considering these supplements should talk to a doctor first, because there's a risk for slight rises in fasting blood sugar, according to Mount Sinai.

That said, it's complicated — because, per the ODS, high-dose omega-3s have sometimes been used to rein in triglycerides. And the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute notes that high levels of triglycerides often go hand-in-hand with diabetes. Lowering them could be a win for people with diabetes, though more research is needed.

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The ODS generally recommends limiting your intake of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — two omega-3 fatty acids — to no more than 3 grams per day (including up to 2 grams in supplement form).

Vitamin C

As for vitamin C, most people get enough through diet, according to the ODS. Deficiency is rare, though people who smoke or who don't get a lot of variation in their diet may benefit from supplements.

The upper limit is typically considered to be 2,000 milligrams per day for adults, according to the ODS. If you get more C than that, you may face potential side effects like diarrhea, nausea and stomach cramps, but not increased blood sugar.

Read more: How to Determine if a Vitamin or Supplement Is Actually Right for You

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