Do you want to lose body fat, gain muscle, all without going on any kind of a diet?
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“Do I need to take supplements? I eat well.” If you grow all your own food for fresh eating, and eat a wide variety of meats, fish, fats, dairy, vegetables and fruits regularly, grown in gloriously healthy soil and you spend a few hours outside in the sun daily, you may be the exception.
Otherwise, the answer is YES, we all need to take supplements. What do we need daily? What do we need if we have a particular health problem? Starting with some simple programs for routine supplement use, we will explore additional areas and keep you informed of the latest information about supplement truths and falsehoods, claims and controversies.
The first of a series
We are outliving our ancestors, but are we outliving them well?
Should you take CoQ10?
You may have heard of people discussing CoQ10, the shorthand name for the compound Coenzyme Q10. CoQ10 is a fat soluble anti-oxidant compound that we make in our own bodies, given the proper nutrients. We rely on CoQ10 in the production of ATP, our most basic source of energy in the body and CoQ10 also helps us when we’re challenged by infection or immune system imbalance.
CoQ10 has been widely recognized as helpful in a variety of conditions, and cardiovascular problems top the list, including heart failure, high blood pressure, mitral valve prolapse and more. CoQ10 also helps with nervous system problems, from migraines to Parkinson’s Disease. The list of conditions benefitting from CoQ10 goes on to include gum disease, hearing loss, infertility, and ringing of the ears… and more!
An absolute need for CoQ10 exists if you are on statin drugs from your doctor. Statins work by interrupting the production of cholesterol, and they just so happen to interfere with the body’s ability to produce CoQ10! Other medications which might increase the need for CoQ10 include several medications, the commonly used ones including beta-blockers, certain kinds of chemotherapy, and the blood thinner Coumadin.
Who would think that a vitamin could have such a history of praise and denial, confusion and celebration? Vitamin K2 will hopefully find its right place in history once more people get a chance to read Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life by Kate Rheaume-Bleue, BSc, ND.
Dr. Kate (wouldn’t it be great if all doctors started going by their first name? How would it change things in the exam room?) has become both a great historian and an expert on a topic that’s been brewing (an appropriate term, in this story) in the integrative, nutrient density world for the last few years. While the rest of the world is just catching up to the importance of vitamin D levels, and supplementing wildly in a frantic game of catch-up, Dr. Kate (and others, including Chris Masterjohn) have wisely cautioned, “Wait a minute on the D, there’s a bigger picture to consider!”
Reading on this site, I see, under “Eating for a Healthy Pregnancy”, under the Foods to Avoid list is
- Processed protein. This includes protein powders and special protein bars. It is best to avoid all processed, canned, and boxed foods…. And
- Sugary sweets, white flour, and sweet liquids (even fruit smoothies with protein powder) are absorbed quickly by the body and rapidly raise your blood sugar level, which prompts your body to produce insulin to reduce the elevated blood sugar.
Yet on several pages, primarily related to the Your Fitness series, I am recommending protein powders, yes that’s true. Let’s go over the two sides of the question
The dangers in protein powders are potential dangers:
When folks tell me they're stressed, or that they wake frequently in the wee morning hours, I wonder if they aren't firing up their adrenal glands a little too early for the day's work. While we arrange for testing of that hypothesis, my choice of supplement - tried and true with many patients - is Integrative Therapeutics Cortisol Manager. A gentle combination of ingredients, each of which has helped with sleep disturbances on its own. Phosphatidylserine is a particular cortisol regulator. The herb ashwaganda is what is called an adaptogenic herb: neither up- nor down-regulates specifically, but rather normalizes adrenal output. L-theanine is a great focusing supplement that can help you pay attention when you're working, and can keep your mind from lighting up and wandering when you wake in the night. Specific for reducing excess cortisol are magnolia and epimedium.
I recommend folks start with one tablet at bedtime, but if needed may take 2 at bedtime and 1 if waking occurs before 1 a.m. Any time after that, the cortisol reducing properties may disrupt the next morning's schedule and isn't advised.
Full disclosure: it's not a tiny tablet. If you can't swallow it easily, feel free to grind it up and mix with water.
Glutamine, or L-Glutamine, is the most abundant amino acid circulating on its own in the body. Glutamine is an important component of a functioning immune system, the maintenance of a healthy intestinal lining, as well as certain mental and emotional processes. It can be found in many foods and under “routine” circumstances, the body seems to have adequate supply between what is eaten and what the body makes for itself. However, when the body is stressed (injury, surgery, chemotherapy, or prolonged exercise), supplementation with glutamine has been found to be helpful in recovery or prevention of subsequent illness. It is considered a vital supplement for helping to heal the “leaky gut syndrome” that is so often a part of food allergies.
First Aid Applications. I see Glutamine’s role in the home vitamin/medicine chest in two areas.
Magnesium is a chemical element that chemists refer to by the symbol Mg, but Mg never exists by itself anywhere on the planet. It is embedded in rocks, or molten in earth, or dissolved in seawater.
Magnesium is essential to life, found in every living cell and involved in every physiological process we rely on to live. Our energy currency is called ATP, and magnesium is essential for its production and utilization. Magnesium plays a vital role in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, including skeletal muscles, as well as the of the gastrointestinal tract, and muscles regulating blood flow, blood pressure and breathing passages. Our heart is a muscle, and regulation of the electrical and muscular function of the heart depends on magnesium. Optimal mental and emotional function require adequate magnesium for neurotransmitter and hormone production.