New Australian research suggests that testing addressing a specific vitamin deficiency may help to improve the risk of diabetes related complications.
That is, vitamin C.
Published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, researchers from Deakin University undertook a comprehensive review of the evidence on vitamin C supplementation, its effects and its potential mechanisms in diabetes management as an adjunct therapy.
The authors note that existing evidence shows ‘favourable effects’ of vitamin C on glycaemic control and blood pressure, which may be clinically meaningful, and mixed effects on blood lipids and endothelial function.
They also found that emerging evidence for effects of vitamin C supplementation on some diabetes complications, particularly foot ulcers, is promising.
With a high prevalence of vitamin C deficiency among patients with complications, the authors recommend that screening for levels of the vitamin in the blood should become a routine part of clinical diabetes management – and should be the case regardless of whether the person has type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes.
Lead author Dr Shaun Mason is a lecturer in nutrition science at Deakin University’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition. He says the high risk of vitamin C deficiency among people living with diabetes is concerning, given the important role the vitamin can play in diabetes management.
‘People living with diabetes are at high risk of vitamin C deficiency due to a range of factors including higher body needs from oxidative damage, poorer uptake into cells, excessive losses via the kidneys, and insufficient dietary intake,’ Dr Mason said.
‘Improving deficient or low levels of vitamin C can improve blood sugar control and reduce risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure.
‘These beneficial effects might relate to vitamin C supplementation correcting vitamin C deficiency, as well as through the antioxidant effects of vitamin C.’
While vitamin C levels amongst people living with diabetes may be worth exploring through a blood test, a person-centred approach is always the gold standard when it comes to improving diabetes management. While blood tests are very helpful, reviewing eating habits with a dietitian may be a better first approach. There are many foods high in vitamin C, and I prefer a food first approach before supplementation due to the ease and costs. If you would like to consider an appointment with myself, you might like to enquire here or book here.
Article information taken from Deakin University