During the current coronavirus pandemic, diabetes has become a serious concern. People with type 1, type 2, and pregnancy-related (gestational) diabetes are at a higher risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19, which could potentially be life-threatening. Having diabetes reduces a person’s immunity and thereby increases the chances of contracting any viral or bacterial infection and making a delayed recovery.
Diabetes is one of the most common noncommunicable diseases worldwide, and in 2019 as many as 463 million people globally were living with it. Type 2 diabetes is the most frequent form affecting mostly adults, however it has been increasingly diagnosed in children and adolescents and is also associated with poor lifestyle choices.
Diabetes is characterized by high levels of blood glucose resulting from a defect in the production of insulin in the pancreas and/or impaired response to insulin by the body’s cells. Insulin is the hormone responsible for maintaining the body’s blood sugar level within a normal range. Due to an ineffective insulin response in diabetes, the body’s cells are continuously exposed to high amounts of glucose and become damaged, thereby impairing organ function and causing serious health complications. Diabetes is a ‘silent’ problem since around 40-50 percent of diabetes patients are asymptomatic, and the disease can go unrecognized for a long period of time. High sugar levels increase the risk of vision loss, nerve damage, kidney damage, and cardiovascular disease. Conventional treatments focus only on decreasing elevated blood sugar levels; however, nutrition and the intake of micronutrients are critical for reducing the risk of diabetes and improving patient outcomes.
Vitamins such as C, E, and the B group are essential for correcting the imbalances caused by increased blood sugar levels. Vitamin C is an especially critical micronutrient, as it is not produced in the body. Structurally, a molecule of vitamin C closely resembles a sugar molecule. Excess sugar molecules in the blood compete with vitamin C molecules for cellular entry, effectively causing a deficiency of vitamin C that can lead to complications including cardiovascular disease. Moreover, an increased amount of sugar inside the cells leads to inflammation which in turn impairs the body’s immunity. A daily intake of essential cellular nutrients, particularly vitamin C, lysine, and proline not only increases immunity, but also helps to restore the balance between vitamin C and sugar metabolism inside the cells. The B group of vitamins help support the metabolism of the pancreas and liver and provide cellular energy. Plant extracts such as green tea extract, cinnamon extract, and grape seed extract act as antioxidants and provide protection to the cells from damage caused by excessive sugar molecules. Minerals such as chromium and vanadium, as well as the specific nutrients inositol and choline, are critical for maintaining normal levels of blood sugar.
The Dr. Rath Research Institute has conducted a pilot clinical trial using a specific micronutrient combination in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.* After six months of following the specific micronutrient program, the participants showed a decrease in blood sugar levels of 23 percent. The micronutrient combination also helped in the reduction of glycosylated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels, by an average of 9.3 percent. HbA1c is an important parameter of long-term blood sugar management and reflects the status of blood sugar levels over the previous three months.
While everyone should take necessary precautions to protect themselves from the coronavirus, people with high blood sugar are more vulnerable to developing complications from COVID-19. Essential micronutrient supplementation should be a priority for them because micronutrients not only help to increase immunity, they also help to maintain normal levels of blood sugar and support optimum long-term health.