Cinnamon illustration

Illustration: Greg Clarke

4 of 5
Week 3: Start Supplementing
The right dietary extras can help arm your body against disease.

Fortify with Magnesium
This powerhouse mineral helps regulate hundreds of enzymes in our bodies—including many involved in glucose metabolizing. A meta-analysis of studies published in the Journal of Internal Medicine suggests that adequate levels of magnesium can decrease a person's risk of diabetes by 15 percent. The mineral is found in whole grains, beans, nuts, and leafy green vegetables—but to make sure you get enough, I recommend taking 400 milligrams a day.

Sprinkle on Cinnamon
About two teaspoons a day may lower your blood sugar levels by up to 29 percent. The spice appears to increase levels of GLUT4, as well as insulin receptors on cells—facilitating the movement of glucose out of the blood. You can eat cinnamon any way you like, but for a double-whammy, add a dash to your coffee or oatmeal. I like to use it as a substitute for sugar.

Add Alpha-lipoic Acid
This antioxidant mobilizes an enzyme (AMP-activated protein kinase) that reduces levels of triglycerides (fats carried in the blood). Lower levels of triglycerides, in turn, can help trigger a 20 percent boost in cells' sensitivity to insulin. But that's not all: Alpha-lipoic acid also helps protect the retinas against damage from excess glucose in the bloodstream—one of the most common causes of blindness in patients with type 2 diabetes. To get the greatest benefit, take 600 milligrams daily.