The Connection Between Antioxidant Nutrients and Blood Sugar
There are some great ways to describe what a free radical is to patients. A free radical is like an airplane with only one wing or a boat with a broken rudder. In each case, patients can easily understand the out of control spinning and damage that free radicals can cause.
Free radicals and other reactive oxygen species are formed continuously as a part of normal living. Antioxidants are the body’s way of protecting cells from this ongoing free radical activity. Antioxidants are created inside the body and gained through the diet and dietary supplements. This combination of endogenous and exogenous antioxidants help provide a layer of protection from the continuous onslaught of free radicals every human is exposed to on a daily basis.
Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E help recycle and regenerate other antioxidants like glutathione, the “master” antioxidant. Carotenoids and lycopene are two examples of antioxidants that we get through diet. Flavonoids found in berries, as well as active compounds found in other fruits and many spices also have antioxidant activity. It is well known that the more colorful the food, the more antioxidant capacity it has.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) from green tea is an antioxidant that has been shown to support insulin sensitivity. Alpha lipoic acid is an example of an antioxidant that is not easily found in the diet but has been shown to specifically support healthy blood glucose levels.
There is a continual balancing between the amount of free radicals generated and the amount of antioxidants needed. In some cases, an imbalance can occur. Individuals who are having issues with blood sugar balance can also experience an imbalance between free radicals generated and reduced antioxidant stores in the body. In these cases, supplementing the diet with antioxidant nutrients may make sense. That’s also why many blood sugar support supplements are including antioxidant nutrients in their formulations.
The health-supporting benefits of antioxidant nutrients are far-reaching. Many are aware that antioxidant nutrients support healthy immune and inflammatory responses. It’s not surprising that the benefits of antioxidants are realized in people who need support for healthy blood sugar balance as well.
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