TO SUPPLEMENT OR TO NOT
For most of my life I have taken at the very least a multiple vitamin every day. Starting as a young adult I recognized that my diet was not providing me with all the nutrients I needed. About ten years ago when I started going through menopause I embarked on an extensive research process to see if and what I could take to help as I went through this stage of my life. My husband who is a research scientist helped me figure out what would promote my health making immediate differences but also would contribute to better health in the long term. I won't give you a long list of what I take but lets just say it's a handful. I take them morning and evening and from my experience have found that they add value to my overall health profile. Basic blood tests have validated my beliefs that supplements are right for me along with just overall feeling and seeing improvements since taking them. As I report in every fitness post, this is what I do but I am not suggesting that it is right for anyone else. If you have interest, read everything you can about it and always talk to your doctor (if you can find one who actually reads the latest science and has an educated opinion).
You won’t have any trouble finding people to give you advice about the benefits or risks of taking nutritional supplements (vitamins, minerals, trace elements, antioxidants, enzymes, herbs, etc.). Some people will assure you that all supplements are a complete waste of time and money. Others will tell you that for every disease, there is a supplement that will cure it. I think both of these views are wrong. The scientific literature contains thousands of studies showing positive benefits of specific supplements for specific conditions. There are also thousands of scientific studies showing that a specific supplement failed to demonstrate the benefit being examined.
For now, here are the points I think are most important when you are starting out:
1. As we age, it becomes increasingly difficult to restrict calories to the correct level and still secure an optimal diet. Magnesium is one example of a mineral that may not be adequately supplied in many diets.
2. Individual needs vary. Even if someone’s diet supplies 100% of optimal levels of all nutrients (possible but unlikely), the same diet may not meet your needs.
3. Age, gender, activity, stress, sleep, and food and drink choices alter our need for nutritional elements. A diet adequate in certain B-vitamins if you do not drink, might be inadequate if you do drink.
4. The research on supplements continues to evolve. Dietary substances that were unknown or believed unimportant in the past are now deemed important. Probiotics and other substances that improve gut health are an example of this. Supplements also seem to be subject to fads.
5. Be suspicious when the popular press summarizes studies on nutritional supplements. It is rare if they give you an accurate picture of the findings.
6.Investigating the potential benefit of nutritional supplements is a commitment. There are no magic bullets and there is no substitute for doing your own reading – lots of it – and then experimenting to see which, if any supplements increase your health, energy, clarity of mind, appearance, and sense of well-being.
Here is a list of resources I use and continue to keep up with regarding supplements.
http://www.lifeextensionfoundation.org/ Life Extension an organization that we have used as a resource for over 10 years. This is just the history and background on them so you know how legitimate and scientifically based they are.
http://www.lifeextension.com/ Life Extension is where we get 90% of our supplements. It is also a wealth of information, everything from a monthly magazine that tells you the latest science and protocols completely referenced, for just about anything you want to know about. For instance female hormone health, here is the standard protocol right now. For me this is one of the most important factors related to my overall health as I age. http://www.lifeextension.com/Protocols/Female-Reproductive/Female-Hormone-Restoration/Page-01
http://www.drnorthrup.com/about/ 10 years ago when I went into menopause I read Dr. Northrups book and it helped probably more than anything. This is her site and it is another amazing unending resource.
https://www.drweil.com/ Dr Weil is also an expert that we have followed for over 10 years. He is another excellent resource for information.
We also read the AMA journal and other medical journals to help give us a balanced view.
That's it for this week! Thanks for stopping by!