Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disorder characterized by high blood sugar levels, an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune cells destroy the insulin producing cells. Insulin is a hormone that aids the body cells to use glucose, and in the absence of insulin, the body’s cells cannot use glucose, increasing its level in the blood as a result.

Treatment involves adequate diet, lifestyle changes, vitamins, and medications where required. Vitamins may help the body to manage Type 1 diabetes, but it is recommended to consult the doctor before trying them.

Type 1 Diabetes and Immune Deficiency

The immune system is responsible for fighting disease-causing microbes. However, in autoimmune disorders, the body’s immune system wrongly recognizes them as harmful and attacks them. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas are targeted. This means, if the blood sugar levels are maintained, the risk of getting the flu or cold for an individual with Type 1 diabetes is the same as that of the general population. However, Type 1 diabetes increases the risk of other certain autoimmune disorders, such as autoimmune thyroid disorders.

Vitamin Deficiency in Type 1 Diabetes

Those diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes may be deficient in certain vitamins, such as vitamin B12 and D. Higher sugar levels increase oxidative stress, which results in damage to various body parts. Antioxidants and vitamins play a vital role in preventing these complications caused by type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes and B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 aids in forming red blood cells and is responsible for a healthy nervous system. Research has proven that deficiency in vitamin B12 is more common among those with Type 1 when compared to the general population. It is especially true for individuals with Type 1 diabetes who are on metformin, as it limits the absorption of B12 from the food. Its deficiency can cause many problems, such as nerve disorders and impaired memory. To prevent this, a diet rich in vitamin B12 and/or supplements will be advised by the doctor.

Symptoms:

  • Sensation of pins and needles
  • Headache
  • Disturbed vision
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Mouth ulcers

Sources:

  • Calms
  • Liver
  • Trout
  • Beef
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Dairy products 

Type 1 Diabetes and Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency is more common in people with Type 1 diabetes as compared to the non-diabetic population. Altered absorption of iron, gastrointestinal bleeding, and diabetes-related complications are some cause for iron deficiency in Type 1 diabetes. It can negatively affect the sugar levels and increase the risk of associated complications. Furthermore, Type 1 diabetes and its complications are related to iron deficiency anemia and its correction aids in managing blood glucose levels, preventing complications.

Symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Palpitation
  • Pale skin
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Brittle nails
  • Soreness of the tongue
  • Cold feet and hands

Sources:

  • Red meat
  • Beans
  • Dried fruits
  • Oysters
  • Chicken
  • Turkey

Type 1 Diabetes and Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium is a vital nutrient for the body and the brain, and its deficiency causes insulin resistance, a condition where the body cells do not respond to insulin as well as they should. However, insulin resistance is more common in Type 2 diabetes. People with insulin resistance lose extra magnesium in their urine, putting them at risk of deficiency of this nutrient.

Some people with Type 1 diabetes develop insulin resistance and are at risk of magnesium deficiency, since Magnesium also aids in managing sugar. Your doctor may prescribe Magnesium supplements to improve its level in blood and manage sugar levels.

Symptoms:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Decreased appetite

Food Sources:

  • Legumes
  • Whole grains
  • Avocados
  • Ground beef
  • Oatmeal
  • Green leafy vegetables such as collard greens and spinach
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Chicken breast
  • Broccoli
  • Yogurt

Type 1 Diabetes and Vitamin D Deficiency

There are two primary types of vitamin D:

  • Vitamin D2: Ergocalciferol produced by plants such as mushrooms.
  • Vitamin D3: Cholecalciferol produced by the skin after being exposed to the sun.

The body can use both types only after undergoing two metabolism steps, which take place in the liver and kidney.

People with Type 1 diabetes who have liver and kidney disorders are at a higher risk of deficiency. 

Symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramp and weakness
  • Mood changes

It is difficult to get an adequate amount of vitamin D from diet and is therefore added synthetically to various food items. This synthetic form is obtained from animal sources, and is the most common source of vitamin D used in fortified foods and supplements.

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