Patient Blogs | Type 2 Diabetes
What Do Vitamins and Minerals Have to Do With Managing Your Type 2 Diabetes?
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One of the key cornerstones of diabetes care and management involves food and nutrition. Paying attention to the amount and types of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins you eat may help you stay on track with your overall blood glucose goals. While your body needs these macronutrients in a specific amount, these macronutrients house vitamins and minerals (known as micronutrients), which play a significant role in glucose imbalance and insulin resistance. Here are three micronutrients that help with blood sugar management. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is historically known as a vitamin that is important for bone health, but research has shown it does more than that. A new study suggests that vitamin D decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes in people with prediabetes. Moreover, a 2019 research article suggests vitamin D may improve the hemoglobin A1c and reduce insulin resistance of people with type 2 diabetes. 

While it’s true that your body can make vitamin D when the cholesterol found in your skin is exposed to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, this isn’t always a source you can rely on. Reliable dietary sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, beef liver, and fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel. Vitamin D supplements are another reliable way to increase your vitamin D intake. It's best to talk with your health care provider if you have questions about supplementation.


Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. It’s involved in over 300 system reactions, including glucose control. A 2017 research article suggests magnesium may produce a favorable effect on fasting plasma glucose levels. This is because a magnesium deficiency may interfere with glucose metabolism and lead to insulin resistance.

Good dietary sources include peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, black beans, edamame, and leafy greens such as spinach. If you're searching for a tasty way to increase your magnesium intake, snack on spice-roasted almonds. Snack on them as-is, or add a spoonful (or two) as a topping to a salad or savory entree. 


Despite being an essential trace mineral, chromium's exact mechanism of action isn’t well-understood. Chromium might play a role in macronutrient metabolism by influencing insulin action. Research suggests a lower plasma chromium level is associated with hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance.

Chromium is present in various foods, including grape juice, beef, English muffins, and brewer's yeast. Try a serving of tasty beef bourguignon to increase your chromium intake. If you aren’t a fan of beef, know that pots and pans made from stainless steel also contain chromium. Chromium can be transferred to foods by using stainless steel cookware

The Bottom Line:

While macronutrients and micronutrients are essential to maintaining the proper functioning of the body, vitamin D, magnesium, and chromium may hold promising results for blood glucose management. Since focusing on individual micronutrients may be challenging, try to focus on including various foods from different food groups in your diet. If you're still concerned about your micronutrient intake, talk with your health care provider before changing your eating habits or adding any supplements. 


Learn, share, and connect with others on WebMD’s Type 2 Diabetes Facebook Support Group.




Photo Credit: FilippoBacci via Getty Images

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Kim Rose

Kim Rose

Guest contributor, registered dietitian

Kim Rose is a registered dietitian nutritionist, certified diabetes care and education specialist, and certified nutrition support clinician in South Central, FL. After graduating from Florida State University, Rose volunteered for 1 year, living and working with underserved populations in various areas of Alabama. Her inclusive approach and philosophy revolve around “making nutrition easy and attainable.” Rose uproots common food-related misconceptions in her private nutrition practice and empowers her clients to build sustainable (and tasty) eating patterns for better blood sugar management. With over a decade of experience, she has taught thousands of clients, patients, and their family members to enjoy the foods they love and shares these nutrition tips on her social media channels.

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