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Antioxidants for Blood Sugar Controlby Dave Foreman
Building a strong foundation is critical for your health-and antioxidants are a critical element in the structure of your health regimen. When selecting antioxidants, it is important to focus on those that are targeted to a specific health issue that you are either trying to treat or prevent, rather than just taking a general antioxidant. The following refresher might be redundant for some readers but when something is important, reading it over can be very helpful. It's a little like reading certain passages in the Bible: important but familiar thoughts resonate and new ones come to the surface.
Free radicals that antioxidants help combat are mutant oxygen molecules that destroy the body's cells inside and out. Metabolism is the most common way free radicals get introduced into the body, although there are several other routes. Look at our bodies like cars: we take in fuel, burn it, get energy and create exhaust. That exhaust is like the free radicals: if it isn't neutralized or vented, the car/body will start to sputter and perform poorly or stop working altogether.
We humans are also regularly exposed to free radicals through our environment. Environmental sources of free radicals include exposure to radiation like that in x-rays or sun exposure, cigarette smoke, unsaturated fats, alcohol, ozone, automobile exhaust, heavy metals and many other sources found in our air, water and foods. You almost can't escape exposure and if you don't take a proactive approach to protecting yourself from them, you will likely end up with one or more of the health conditions linked to free radical damage-like Diabetes. Antioxidants combat Diabetes in two ways, supporting the pancreas and regulating blood sugar and insulin levels.
The best approach is a two-pronged one involving diet and supplements. First: eat foods high in antioxidants such as fruits (especially berries), vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans. Second, support that diet with antioxidant supplements. Find out first what antioxidants are good for your particular health needs then take four or five of them together. Here is a thumbnail reference list of supplements for those with blood sugar control issues: Alpha lipoic acid: a very powerful antioxidant shown to improve insulin sensitivity and improve/protect against organ damage caused by blood glucose imbalance. The suggested amount is a minimum of 600mg per day but some people take 1200mg per day. Acetyl-l-carnitine: known to improve or prevent symptoms of neuropathy that causes numbness or weakness of some peripheral nerves. 1000mg three times daily is the recommended dose.
Bilberry: One of my favorite herbal antioxidants, it helps with many aspects of diabetes and collateral health issues. Best start by taking 160mg of a standardized extract two times a day.
Reishi: An amazing medicinal mushroom, it is often thought of as the "universal" mushroom and is part of my daily program. Dose depends on the brand you purchase. CoQ10 or Ubiquinol: This is one of my top 5 antioxidants for universal health needs that is particularly helpful with blood sugar metabolism. Consider using 100mg twice a day although I take 400-500mg per day as a protection against free radical damage. Milk Thistle: This is the mother of all antioxidants for liver support as well as a great supplement for blood sugar issues. Use a standardized extract containing around 200mg of silymarin three times daily.
Pycnogenol: Another one of my Top 5 antioxidants for the way it helps control blood sugar and therefore protects against possible organ damage caused by elevated blood sugar levels. I suggest 150-300mg per day.
Grape seed: See pycnogenol
C, E, zinc, and selenium: Key vitamin/mineral antioxidants, each of which possesses different benefits for those concerned with diabetes. Recommended doses are outside what is contained in a multivitamin: C=250-500mg two times daily; E= 400-800iu (mixed tocopherols preferred); Zinc= 25-50mg per day and Selenium= 200mg. You will need to take higher than normal doses of four or five of these to get what I would consider the ideal benefit. Note that this may not be the complete list of antioxidants available for achieving or maintaining optimum blood sugar levels but once your concerns about the condition are minimized, you will be able to cut back the number of supplements and the doses. In my view, great health is not about sticking a toe in the water but jumping in up to your neck.