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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. I will explain further below, but first, let’s have a quick refresher course on free radicals and antioxidants.

I realize that for many of you loyal readers of my newsletter this next section is redundant, but when it is important, sometimes we need to read it over and over again (Like my Bible).

Free radicals are mutant oxygen molecules that destroy the body’s cells from the inside and out. They are introduced to the body in several different ways, the most common of which is via metabolism. Our bodies operate just like cars: we take in fuel, burn it, and get energy and exhaust. If the exhaust (free radicals) is not neutralized or vented, the car (your body) will eventually perform poorly, or stop working altogether.

Another way we are exposed to free radicals is through our environment. Environmental sources of free radicals include exposure to radiation (x-rays, sun exposure), cigarette smoke, unsaturated fats, alcohol, ozone, automobile exhaust, heavy metals and many other sources found in our air, water and foods). You can’t hide from them, and if you do not take a proactive approach, you will most likely end up with one or more of the health conditions that are now linked to free radical damage—like Diabetes.   Antioxidants play a role in diabetes in two main areas: Support of your pancreas and decreasing the potential harm caused by abnormal blood sugar and insulin levels.

I recommend a two-pronged approach. First: eat foods high in antioxidants such as fruits (especially berries), vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans; second: supplement with additional antioxidants. I recommend finding out what antioxidants are good for your particular health needs and using four or five of them together. Here is a quick list and explanation of why for those with blood sugar control issues:

Alpha Lipoic Acid: a very powerful antioxidant that has also shown to help improve insulin sensitivity and improve/protect against organ damage caused by out of balanced blood glucose levels. I suggest a minimum of 600mg per day with many people requiring 1200mg per day.

Acetyl-l-carnitine: very helpful with improving or preventing symptoms of neuropathy. 1000mg three times daily

Bilberry: One of my favorite herbal antioxidants. This helps with many aspects of diabetes and the health issues that can arise. 160mg two times daily of a standardized extract would be a great starting point.

Reishi: What an amazing medicinal mushroom. Often thought of as the “universal” mushroom. I love using this supplement as part of my daily program. Dosing depends on the brand you purchase.

CoQ10 or Ubiquinol: Helpful with blood sugar metabolism and one of my top 5 antioxidants for universal health needs. Consider using 100mg 2 times a day. I personally take 4-500mg per day as a protection against free radical damage.

Milk Thistle: I consider this herb the mother of all antioxidants for liver support and now a great supplement for blood sugar issues as well. Use a standardized extract containing around 200mg of silymarin three times daily.

Pycnogenol: Another one of my top 5 antioxidants. This not only acts as a great antioxidant but also will help with blood sugar control and protect against the potential organ damage that can occur from elevated blood sugar levels. I suggest 150-300mg per day.

Grape seed: See pycnogenol

Keep in mind that this may not be the fully extensive list of antioxidants available for blood sugar control issues. Also, you need to take therapeutic doses (higher than normal) of 4 or 5 of these to get the full protection that I would be seeking. Once your concerns for the condition are minimized, you can look into cutting back on dosing and the number of supplements. My feeling is that you need to jump in to the water up to your neck and not just put your toes in the water in order to achieve great health.