Supplements 101- how not to!

Our Food

It is a generally accepted fact that most of us don’t get enough nutrition from our food. Between busy lives and the stresses of our environment and the general ease of access to processed foods this is truer than we would like.
There are so many nutrition plans and programs being promoted on the web and tv- lose weight- get energy-cut the fat, we have all seen them. Is there validity in them? Or do they just cater to the lazy? Well a bit of both in my estimation. With the FDA and other agencies only really monitoring when there is a problem, with overseas ‘rubber stamping’ by laboratories, you have to be careful.

What’s in it

For me the rule of thumb is, are there more than 5 ingredients-is the sugar content over 15 grams per full serving- are the ingredients more than 3 syllables in length- these are warning signs. While science has produced nutrition for the super athlete- most of the other stuff is junk, meant to make someone money by giving you short term gains! The support system of some may teach you proper nutrition, sadly the support system of most are hype-rah rah- we can do it together- by the way, buy more stuff. If you can only maintain your goals while using the ‘stuff’, in my opinion, there is a problem with that!
A study was done in the 70’s that showed that a 180 lb man will eat twice as much food as a 160lb man and that the extra weight would lend itself to increased risk of disease. and the study was not commissioned by the food companies, rather it was the drug companies. And so the cycle began that has brought us here today, where we must learn to decipher what is best nutrition for us.
The good new is that with a little bit of information and planning, and not even a lot of inconvenience, we can do quite fine.

(I will address proper/beneficial eating habits in an up-coming blog- this one will give a little insight into vitamins)

Here is the 101:
You do need a multi-vitamin with antioxidants. It can help ensure that your body gets all the vital nutrients needed to function optimally. B-vitamins are required for energy production in the body and they also help combat the effects of stress. Antioxidants fight free radical damage, which can result from too much stress. Look for a multi that contains antioxidants, such as pomegranate, lycopene, and grape seed extract.
Medicinal (or active) ingredients are those ingredients responsible for the supplement’s effect. The common name for the ingredient is often listed first with the source of the ingredient in brackets immediately following. The ingredient dosages are usually listed per capsule rather than daily dosage so keep this in mind when you review the panel.
Natural vitamins are in a form that occurs in nature while synthetic vitamins are manufactured in a laboratory. There is much debate about whether synthetic is inferior to natural but there is consensus that the natural form of vitamin E (d-alpha tocopheryl) is better utilized by the body than its synthetic counterpart (dl-alpha-tocopheryl). Also remember phyto-nutrients only occur in nature and are often the real beneficial aspect of the vitamin. An apple a day really does keep the doctor away for me. Colds and flus I have not had for almost 10 years. The symptoms dis-appear quickly when I bite that apple- the juice in a bottle-for me- does not have the same effect-something in that skin- hmmmn.
And stay away from vitamins that have excess sugar added. I often advise clients that they can know the efficacy of a vitamin if they stop taking it for five days, they should feel a drop in their energy level- un-scientific ? Maybe so- but its been proven time and time again. Vitamins do give us an energy boost, the cheap stuff, it only comes from the sugar.
Also, when starting on a new mutli-vitamin- again un-scientific, you should be heading to the washroom with increased regularity for the first two days as the vitamins start to clean out the crap-literally-in our colons. Finally, if your vitamin dropped in a glass of water just sits there looking at you for days on end, how do you think it is being absorped in your body, the stomach acid? Ideally within 5 hours in water it should be dis-solved.’

Water reminder

Please remember- drink adequate fluids, especially when taking vitamins. Dehydration can cause fatigue, headache and impair concentration. If you want a boost  green tea is excellent. The antioxidants and amino acids in green tea can boost energy levels and provide other health benefits.

Remember, its YOUR body, and unlike a car, spare parts are not as readily available!

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