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Friday, December 9, 2011

To Take or Not to Take-Nutritional Supplements-Pt. I

“I finally got into supplements,” my sister told me the other day.  I think that means that she suddenly understood their value and had made taking them a priority. Here I thought my constant preaching about the benefits of taking nutritional supplements* had fallen on deaf ears for the past decade.
Before we go any further, I’d like to state that I sell supplements. There. I said it.  Now that that’s out of the way…I sell them because I believe in them.  In fact, there have been times in my life when I was struggling financially but my supplement budget would be the “last thing to go” if I were having a tough month.  I spent money on supplements the way some women buy shoes-still do.  I have my thrice daily little Dixie cup full of foundational products plus the new products that I like to try in my constant quest to attain optimal health. I have personally benefited from taking them but while I have been told I have a trustworthy face, I wouldn’t expect that alone to convince anyone that supplements are worth taking.

In this 3 part post, I will consider the pros and cons of using nutritional supplements, testing for deficiencies, what conditions they may help, and what brands to consider taking.

The controversy

Taking nutritional supplements is a controversial topic; there is no doubt about it.  For every nutritionist, registered dietician, or other healthcare practitioner that prescribes and advocates taking supplements, there is another that believes “vitamins just give you expensive pee.”  Many of us rely on nutritional supplements to promote and/or maintain good health but, the supplement industry is filled with opportunists and charlatans who produce supplements that are marketed well but are useless because they are barely absorbed. Some people believe that they can get all the nutrients they need through eating a balanced diet.  But, poor digestion, poor food preparation, crash diets, and other issues (I’ll get to those in a moment), can prevent us from getting what we need from our food. When it comes to supplements, what should a reasonable person do to protect their health and insure the maximum quality of life?

Any way you look at it, healthcare is a mess in this country.  As more Americans than ever begin to take charge of their health, experts in mainstream medicine, the FDA, and others financially beholden to the pharmaceutical drug industry, have been taking steps to effectively neuter the alternative medicine and supplements industries for years.

Because mainstream medicine cannot make money with herbs, vitamins, and homeopathy, (since they cannot legally patent natural remedies), they sell synthetics. I am not against synthetics or mainstream medicine for that matter.  What I am against is having access to things I believe can, and do, heal the body-suddenly outlawed because they cut into the profit margin of big pharma. Lobbyists are paid enormous sums of money to make sure this does not happen.  When enough of us find ways to heal our bodies that don’t rely on taking one of their pills-they get a little upset (not to mention the issue of side effects-every drug has them.)  One doctor Dr. Lanctot, M.D, author of The Medical Mafia: How To Get Out of It Alive and Take Back Our Health and Wealth goes so far as to say: “They control medicine, and that is why they are able to tell medical schools what they can and cannot teach. They have their own sets of laws, and they force people into them. That is a mafia.”

The irony is, substances derived from plants/herbs remain the basis for a large proportion of the commercial medications used today for the treatment of heart disease, high blood pressure, pain, asthma, and other problems.

7 very good reasons for you to take supplements

In April of this year, renown Canadian strength training coach Charles Poliquin, who has trained and/or consulted numerous world class athletes and professional sports teams, wrote this article: 10 Very Good Reasons for you to Take Supplements I’ve paraphrased some of Charles’ very good reasons below.

1) Insufficient nutrients in our food –“Nature intended our food supply to provide us with the nutrients we need-and those nutrients would have been sufficient in our food of 100 years ago.  But today, our food is highly processed, genetically modified, and prepared in such a way that often destroys much of the nutritional content.”  Says Dr. Bob Rakowski, clinical nutritionist, “Our farm industry’s fertilizers often contain only nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. It takes 17 elements to make a healthy plant, and we only put three back in.  So what happens is this malnutrition in the plants becomes malnutrition in the animals and becomes malnutrition in humans.”

Foods contains many phytonutrients (organic components of plants found to promote human health) which the body needs.  Many of these phytonutrients have yet to even be identified let alone reproduced in a laboratory.  Supplements that may help: multi-vitamin/mineral.

2) Poor digestion –If our digestive systems functioned optimally, we wouldn’t need as many (high-quality) nutrients in supplement form-but that is not the case.  It is estimated that one half of the U.S. population produces insufficient stomach acid, which then diminishes the ability to absorb nutrients from food and can increase inflammation,  stomach bacteria, and can promote other health issues such as bloating,  stomach pain, even depression.  Low stomach acid has even been linked to a vitamin B deficiency.  Supplements that may help: B-complex.

Stay tuned for part II coming next week.
*The information printed here is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition and should not be construed as personal medical advice.  Check with your healthcare professional before beginning any supplement regimen.

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Fitness expert and athletic development specialist Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!  Take Jini's "Are you Ready?" Quiz at © 2011 Jinifit, Inc.

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