Supplement for Great Health!
Supplements can’t replace healthy eating, exercise and stress management, but when combined with an optimal lifestyle, and when customized to meet your unique needs, they will improve your health substantially.
When I first started working as a physician, I was leery of supplements. I hadn’t learned anything about them in medical school or residency training. None of the literature I read at the time was devoted to them. I was afraid that if people took them, they might not eat as well. I thought supplements would give my patients an excuse for living an unhealthy lifestyle.
Over time, my attitude has changed dramatically. When I began public speaking, I was inundated with questions about supplements. If I didn’t know an answer, I promised to research the question and contact the person later. Once I started investigating the subject, the possibilities seemed staggering. It was hard to understand why medical school didn’t teach us about nutrition.
As my experience and knowledge have grown, I’ve developed supplement programs for health care companies, given presentations to the public, and lectured to other health care providers on this topic. Everywhere I go, people are eager to learn more about supplements, and they have become an integral part of my Ten Years Younger Program.
NEARLY EVERYONE NEEDS A PERSONALIZED SUPPLEMENT REGIMEN!
I believe everyone should be on a personalized supplement program to meet their unique needs. None of us eat well all the time, and while supplements can’t make up for chronically poor habits, they can provide some nutrients otherwise lost. Not only that, but nutrient content continues to drop in our food supply. Selenium, for instance, an important mineral for your immune system and blood sugar control, is involved in hundreds of anti-aging reactions in your body. But selenium has decreased by nearly 40 percent in our food over the last 20 years. Unfortunately, current farming methods don’t replace nutrients and minerals taken from the soil.
Supplements may also boost your health in ways foods can’t. Glucosamine sulfate helps mildly arthritic joints. Eating well can’t replace glucosamine. Curcumin lowers inflammation and calms arthritic joints plus appears to decrease our risk for cognitive decline and cancer. Ginger is good for joint pain and nausea, but to work medicinally, you would need doses well beyond what you would normally find in your favorite Asian food. Saw palmetto helps with urine flow in older men. These supplements can benefit your health in ways healthy eating habits alone cannot.
Supplements have also become quite popular. Millions of people are taking them; nearly 30 to 40 percent of Americans use some form of nutrient enhancement. People over age 50 and those with higher levels of education are much more likely to take them.
That’s a good thing! As I mentioned earlier, eighty percent of Americans are nutrient deficient. That being said, a one-a-day, one-size-fits-all vitamin pill can’t meet your needs perfectly. You’ll want to personalize the supplements you take. Medications, your diet, activities, and health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and memory loss all impact which vitamins you should include (especially magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D).
You can’t necessarily depend on what your friends are taking. All too often, you read in the paper that supplement “A” is terrific, so you start on it; then a friend mentions that supplement “B” is wonderful, so you add that too. Soon you’re taking 15 to 20 pills a day, but without any real guidance. In fact, some supplements can be dangerous if combined inappropriately with others, or with certain medications. Your first step is to educate yourself.
SAFETY FIRST–CHOOSE HIGH QUALITY SUPPLEMENT PRODUCTS
Supplements are close to an unregulated industry in the United States, and sources can vary tremendously. The extremes run from an outdoor lab in China or India that produces pills filled with contaminants but few real ingredients, to a pristine pharmaceutical laboratory where pills contain the exact dosages stated. Unfortunately, the bottles may look alike, despite the difference in content.
It took far too long, but essentially all supplements in the US now meet Good Manufactring Processing (GMP), some even meet USP guidelines. To find the best quality supplement products, seek those that are approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the pharmaceutical regulatory agency of Australia. Considered the toughest regulatory agency in the world, the TGA inspection and certification is conducted at a pharmaceutical level standard. If you can, confirm that your supplement meets or exceeds the FDA’s requirements for drug production. If not, perhaps you should be looking for a different supplement.
I know of vitamin distributors selling supplement pills that would swell from capsules into something resembling pink marshmallows. They were willing to continue unloading potentially harmful pills on an unsuspecting public because they wanted to save a few dollars and collect on the last of their inventory. The bottom line: quality varies tremendously. Fortunately some companies still provide excellent products.
If you’re going to pay for supplements, you want to be sure they’re safe. You want them to meet your unique needs, and finally they should be state-of-the-art in their formulation. Of course, it would also be nice to have them reasonably priced. But the cheapest supplements often are not the best. Cut-rate agents usually contain suspect ingredients. On the other hand, you don’t want to buy the most expensive pills either. What you want is a supplement that provides quality ingredients, reliability, and value.
What ingredients to look for in a multivitamin?
The Multi-Vitamin Snap-Shot Summary
|Iron||0 mg or 20 mg||20 mg for menstruating women|
|Vitamin A (as retinol or retinyl)||3,000-5,000 IU|
|Vitamin A (as mixed carotenoids)||3,000-15,000 IU||Mixed beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, alpha carotene, cryptoxanthin|
|Thiamin (B1)||15-30 mg|
|Riboflavin (B2)||10-30 mg|
|Niacin (B3)||50-100 mg||Mixture of niacin and niacinamide|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||50-100 mg|
|Pyridoxine (B6)||10-25 mg|
|Cobalamin (B12)||100-1,000 mcg||Stomach acid blocking meds decrease absorption. Young, healthy adults only need 10-50 mcg daily|
|Biotin||300-1,200 mcg||Higher dosages needed with blood sugar regulation problems|
|Folic acid (If dosage exceeds 600 mcg daily, use 50% 5-methy tetrahydrofolate)||400-600 mcg||Higher dosages may be needed for planned pregnancy|
|Vitamin C (calcium ascorbate)||250-1,000 mg|
|Vitamin D||1,000-2,000 IU||Higher dosages needed with advancing age, autoimmune disease, and with bone density loss|
|Vitamin E (With mixed d-alpha, gamma, and delta tocopherol)||50-150 IU||Dosages >150 IU are warranted for various indications|
|Vitamin K||75-150 mcg||75-150 from a multi, but total Vit K intake should be 250-1000 mcg daily|
|Calcium (protein bound minerals are much better absorbed and tolerated)||0-100 mg||Can be dosed separately from a multi-vitamin (Total needs vary from 800-1,500 mg daily)|
|Magnesium (protein bound minerals are much better absorbed and tolerated)||0-100 mg||Can be dosed separately from a multi-vitamin (Most people need a calcium-magnesium ratio of 2-1 or 3-1.)|
|Iodine (from kelp)||75-150 mcg|
|Chromium (nicotinate)||150-200 mcg||400-800 mcg daily for blood sugar control|
|Selenium||100-200 mcg||Caution: Dosages > 400 mcg daily are toxic|
|Zinc (glycinate or amino acid chelate)||15-25 mg||Taking more than 40-50 mg daily long-term can cause gastro-intestinal irritation|
|Copper||2 mg||Zinc and copper should be in a 10:1 to 15:1 ratio|