Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), is a relative
of the common blueberry, but contains more of certain therapeutic
compounds. It has a high content of a variety of anthocyanosides,
which improve capillary and connective tissue strength. As
with many plant pigments, it has antioxidant activity which
protects us from free-radical damage. Bilberry also stimulates
the production of visual pigment, which can help with night
vision (the story has it that British aviators used it to
help them with night missions during the war). I commonly
recommend 100-300 mg daily of standardized extract.
Remember that any supplement program is not
meant to substitute for a healthy diet, and there are always
other nutrients that work together for various physiological
functions (with vision, they include carotenoids, such as
lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, vitamins
E and C, flavonoids and trace minerals).
When I have done Dr. Atkins diet or a fruit
and vegetable fast I find exercise difficult. My muscles feel
weak. What's missing?
You may be missing complex carbohydrates. It
is quite possible to be low in the complex carbohydrates,
one of the main sources of sustained energy to the muscles.
These would include beans and whole grains, or any high fiber
food, which have many other health benefits, such as reduction
of cancer and heart disease.
You might also need L-glutamine or L-arginine
supplements, both of which are amino acids helpful for muscle
strength and repair. Typical doses are 2-4 grams of each per
day, or up to 8 grams of the glutamine.
Return to Ask Dr. J. index