Areas of expertise / Glycemic disorders

Glycemic disorders

What are we talking about?

Alterations in blood glucose levels, known as glycemic disorders, represent a complex interaction between glucose intake, its metabolism and hormonal regulation. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, facilitates glucose uptake in the body, contributing to its regulation. The occurrence of these disorders arises from an imbalance between the availability of glucose uptake facilitated by insulin and the body’s ability to handle it effectively(1,2).

Types of glycemic disorders

Diabetes is a chronic disease that is classified into several subtypes, defined by specific etiologies and clinical manifestations. Among these, the most prominent are type 1 diabetes, characterized by autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells leading to absolute insulin deficiency; type 2 diabetes, which constitutes 90% to 95% of all cases, and is associated with insulin resistance and a progressive decrease in the secretion capacity of this hormone; and gestational diabetes, which refers to hyperglycemia that is first detected during gestation(1).

Prevalence and consequences

The global prevalence of diabetes has experienced a remarkable increase, with more than 537 million individuals affected by the condition  worldwide in 2021. It is anticipated that this number will rise to 643 million by 2030. This situation emphasizes the importance of preventive actions and effective management of the disease(2).

The repercussions of not adequately managing diabetes span from the individual level to the broader healthcare system. For patients, ineffective management of the disease can translate into a range of serious complications, such as cardiovascular disease and neuropathy, profoundly impairing their quality of life. For the healthcare system, diabetes represents a significant challenge due to the high cost of treating its long-term complications, the demand for specialized resources for its management, and the increased need for healthcare services(1,2).

The role of oral nutritional supplements

Oral nutritional supplements play a key role in the comprehensive management of diabetes by ensuring adequate intake of essential nutrients and improving glycemic control. This is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight, preventing complications and improving the quality of life of diabetic patients. In addition, this approach has a positive impact on the healthcare system by reducing hospitalizations, optimizing resource allocation and promoting the overall wellbeing of patients(3,4,5).

Frequent questions

1. What are the main risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes?

The main risk factors for type 2 diabetes include obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and an unhealthy diet. Additionally, factors such as a family history of diabetes, advancing age, ethnicity, or certain medical conditions contribute to an elevated risk. Lifestyle modifications, such as regular exercise and balanced nutrition, are key to prevention and management, significantly reducing the risk of onset and progression(1,2).

2. What are the initial symptoms of diabetes?

Initial symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, slow-healing wounds, and tingling or numbness in the hands or feet. Additionally, some individuals may experience recurrent infections. Early recognition of these signs is crucial for prompt diagnosis and intervention to prevent complications associated with diabetes(1,2).

3. What nutrients are especially important for people with diabetes?

A balanced diet is essential for managing blood sugar levels and preventing complications in individuals with diabetes. Key nutrients, including slow-absorbing carbohydrates and prebiotic fiber, help maintain stable blood glucose levels, reducing spikes and promoting gut health in individuals with diabetes. Moreover, essential vitamins and minerals like biotin, chromium, and magnesium support glucose metabolism, further enhancing the management of the condition(3,4,5).


  1. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. Standards of Care in Diabetes – 2024.
  2. International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 10th edn. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2021.
  3. Zhao, F et al. (2022) Biol Trace Elem Res; 200, 516–525 (2022). 4. ELDerawi WA, et al. (2018), Nutrients; 26;11(1):44. 5. Zhang Y, et al. (2022), Nutr. 9:1046800.

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