“As long as I cut my calories, does it otherwise matter WHAT I eat?” “Do I need vitamins and minerals?” “Do nutritional supplements really work?” “Is there a nutritional option to my prescription medications?” “If I simply take a ‘one a day’ multivitamin, isn’t that enough?” “My friends are getting cancer and heart disease, can I improve my chances with nutrition?” These are examples of the types of questions I address with patients every day.
Those of you who know me know that I believe optimum nutrition, including supplementation, is not only powerful in its effects on body function, but mandatory if we want to enjoy optimum health. Explaining all aspects of nutritional supplements is far beyond what I can do in this brief article, but here are some highlights of research areas revealing that nutrition has powerful effects.
As a disclaimer, the FDA has made very clear that nutritional supplements, as a category, cannot be intended to “diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease”. As soon as they have that intention, they become “medications” in the eyes of the FDA. I certainly agree we don’t want to make them medications!!! So, be advised, nutritional supplements are intended to be that, supplementation to a prudent diet, to help assure all nutritional needs are being met so that you have the best chance for optimum health!
With that in mind, I’ve put together some of my findings from research on how specific supplements support various areas of health.
Research evidence indicates optimum nutrition supports or is associated with:
- Cancer risk (in addition to weight control and proper foods, consider…)
Supplement examples: green tea extracts, vitamin D-3, vitamin K-2, CoQ10, multivitamins, vitamin B-6, selenium, calcium, magnesium
- Energy and Metabolism (i.e. fatigue, weight gain, inactivity)
Supplement examples: green tea, caffeine, American ginseng, capsaicin, multivitamin, vitamin B6/B12/D, magnesium, resveratrol, iron (if deficient), acetyl L-carnitine
- General Anti-Aging (slow telomere shortening on DNA, eye support, lower homocysteine)
Supplement examples: multivitamins, vitamins C/D/E, resveratrol, lutein, zeaxanthin, choline, betaine, omega 3 oils, vitamin K-2
- Brain support with aging
Supplement examples: multivitamins, vitamin B6/B12, folate, zinc, choline, betaine, phosphatidylserine, ginkgo biloba, omega 3 oils, acetyl L-carnitine
- Heart health
Supplement examples: multivitamin, vitamin C, tocotrienols, mixed vitamin E, vitamin K-2, omega 3 oils
- Blood Pressure
Supplement examples: vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium citrate, resveratrol, omega 3 oils, green tea extract, coQ10
- High Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Supplement examples: tocotrienols, red yeast rice, berberine, omega 3 oils, or guar gum fibers, niacin
- Diabetes Type 2 and Metabolic Syndrome
Supplement examples: berberine, and guar gum fibers, American ginseng, magnesium, DHEA, resveratrol, alpha lipoic acid, cinnamon
- Bone thinning and muscle weakness (osteoporosis, osteopenia, sarcopenia)
Supplement examples: calcium, magnesium citrate, vitamin D, vitamin K-2, potassium citrate, DHEA
- Mood: Depression (and Anxiety)
Supplement examples: magnesium, vitamin D, B-1 and B-12, omega 3 oils, St. John’s Wort, 5-HTP
Supplement examples: melatonin, 5-HTP, magnesium
Supplement examples: riboflavin, magnesium, 5-HTP
If you are like most Americans, you’re concerned about the “reflex” prescription writing by the medical establishment in our country currently. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not reimburse physicians for the time that is required to research, understand, and explain nutritional treatments to patients.
Taking charge of your own health destiny, using the power of a healthy lifestyle, fitness activities, stress management, health-promoting foods, and appropriate nutritional supplements can empower you towards optimum health!