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The Best Pills for Diabetes

author image Jeffrey Traister
Jeffrey Traister is a writer and filmmaker. For more than 25 years, he has covered nutrition and medicine for health-care companies and publishers, also producing digital video for websites, DVDs and commercials. Trained in digital filmmaking at The New School, Traister also holds a Master of Science in human nutrition and medicine from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
The Best Pills for Diabetes
Oral medications and nutrition supplements can help you manage diabetes. Photo Credit: SerrNovik/iStock/Getty Images

Diabetes is a chronic disease that requires pharmaceutical and dietary control of high blood sugar. Diabetics have a high risk for complications, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, vision and hearing loss and kidney disease. Taking certain medications and nutritional supplements can help you control your blood sugar or lower your risk of diabetes or complications from disease progression. Consult your doctor on the best pills to take for diabetes.

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Oral Medication

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes pills in the United States comprise six classes of drugs that each work differently to reduce blood glucose levels for Type 2 diabetics. DPP-4 is a new class of medication that prevents the breakdown of GLP-1, a naturally occurring compound that reduces blood glucose levels when they are elevated. Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors reduce your blood glucose levels by blocking the breakdown of carbohydrates in the intestine. Meglitinides and sulfonylureas are two classes of drugs that each stimulate your pancreas to produce insulin. Biguanides reduce the amount of glucose your liver produces. Thiazolidinediones lowers the amount of glucose your liver releases into the blood.


Glycine is a non-essential amino acid involved with converting glucose into energy. Taking glycine supplements may improve control of blood glucose and reduce inflammation in people with diabetes. Research by scientists at Centro Medico Nacional Siglo in Mexico City, Mexico and published in the "Journal of Endocrinological Investigation" in August 2008 found that Type 2 diabetics treated with glycine supplements experienced significantly lower blood glucose levels after three months and had reduced inflammation and improved immune responses. The scientists conclude glycine supplements may help prevent tissue damage caused by chronic inflammation in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for possible prevention and treatment of both of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Research by scientists at King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and published in the "Annals of Saudi Medicine" in Nov-Dec 2010 found vitamin D supplementation improved control of blood sugar in patients with Type 1 diabetes mellitus who are vitamin D deficient. Research by scientists at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts and published in "Diabetes Care" in March 2006 examined the association between intake of vitamin D and calcium and risk of Type 2 diabetes in a large prospective epidemiological study. The results demonstrate a combined daily intake of more than 800 IU of vitamin D and more than 1,200 mg of calcium is associated with a 33 percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.


Chromium is a mineral that is involved in glucose metabolism. Diabetics who take chromium supplements may improve control of blood glucose. Research by scientists at Tel-Aviv University in Israel and published in the "International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research” in May 2004 found chromium picolinate supplementation improves blood glucose and lowers blood cholesterol in elderly patients with Type 2 diabetes.

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