Cleaning Up Your Supplement Cabinet

Cleaning up your supplements cabinet - Arthritis Health

Can you believe we are nearly three months into the new year? Speaking of a new year, are you still on board with your new year’s resolutions? It has not been the easiest of times, and we commend our patients for their courage on their health journey.

Aside from the more common resolutions – cutting back a little on the sugar, moving your body more and practicing mindfulness, telling your friends and family you love them more often – we are going to zoom in one particular avenue: supplements for your health!

If you are like some of us, myself included, you may have read about all sorts of pills and potions to take to better your health. Are you ending up lost, with a cabinet full of dozens of colorful bottles that you have difficulty keeping up with?

We are going to distill it down for you; practicality, sustainability and results are what we are all about.

The essential five supplements for your health:

  1. A Multivitamin
  2. Cod Liver Oil
  3. Collagen Powder
  4. Calcium and Magnesium
  5. Adaptogenic Herbs

HOW TO PICK A GOOD MULTIVITAMIN?

A multivitamin is an essentiality in the maintenance of your health and longevity. Despite our best attempts, it is probable that most of us are not covering all of our bases nutritionally. Additionally, many take medications that tax our bodies and deplete our vitamin and mineral stores. Our micronutrients are critical in defense against aging-related diseases including cancer, heart disease and dementia. Taking a high-quality multivitamin is in a sense an insurance strategy to ensure we are filling the gaps in our diets with everything we need.

With respect to quality, a good multivitamin will have all of your fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), methylated B Vitamins, Vitamin C and bioavailable forms of minerals. Where the higher quality multivitamins differ from lower quality ones the most is in the B Vitamin and mineral form.

You can check whether or not the B Vitamins are higher quality by looking at the B12 and folic acid constituents. They should read “methylcobalamin” and “methylfolate.” These are active forms that have an easier time participating in body chemistry.

With respect to the minerals, you can read the label for “chelated” forms. Mineral chelates are bound to amino acids that have superior absorption to lower quality mineral formulas.

COD LIVER OIL

Did you know Cod Liver Oil used to be listed under the World Health Organizations list for most important medicines to keep in your cabinet? It’s a shame it is no longer! Before you get nauseated, note that many formulations are prepared with mint or citrus to hide the fishy flavor. They are also prepared as capsules if you are afraid of swigging the oil!

Cod liver oil is dense in Omega 3 fatty acids, powerful medicine for the heart and brain. It is also dense in preformed Vitamin A and Vitamin D, critical nutrients for your immune system and bone health.

Higher quality Cod Liver Oil is packaged in dark bottles and molecularly distilled for impurities. If you purchase the oil, you will want to refrigerate it after opening. You also want to check the Vitamin A and D content, which should yield 1250 and 400 international units of Vitamin A and Vitamin D respectively.

COLLAGEN POWDER

In the days of old, humans practiced a concept called “nose to tail” consumption. This means we ate more than just the ribeye, the New York strip, or the porkchops. We ate every part of the animal! What a good thing for our health it was. This is seldom practiced in Western Culture and a large body of research suggests it may be hurting our health.

Gelatinous, tendinous parts of the animal, including organ meats, are dense sources of the amino acid glycine. Muscle meat is very dense in another amino acid called methionine. Various animal models have suggested excess methionine and deficiency in glycine causes more rapid ageing.

For most, eating nose to tail is an inconvenience or not very palatable. An easy solution is adding a collagen supplement to your diet. This translates into decreased inflammation, healthier skin, hair, nails and joints! Good quality collagen products will come from cows raised on pasture or non-farmed fish. Collagen can easily be incorporated into your routine by adding to protein shakes, coffee or baked goods!

CALCIUM & MAGNESIUM

Are you getting enough of these two important minerals? You might ask why bother if you are already taking a multivitamin. Well, the thing is the quantities of calcium and magnesium we need are much larger than the other minerals. You can’t pack everything into one pill! Not yet at least…

Enter a good calcium and magnesium supplement. Important for your bones, muscles, heart and blood pressure, a good “Cal-Mag” supplements should contain, in similar fashion to your multivitamin, chelated forms of these minerals. Many of the products on the market are calcium carbonate, derived from limestone and magnesium oxide, which passes right through you. You might as well be taking tums and a laxative! You also want to make sure your supplement is a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium.

ADAPTOGENIC HERBS

Can you guess what adaptogenic herbs do? It’s in the name… they help you “adapt” to stress! Our world is full of stressors… the bad drivers weekday mornings, bills you have to pay, your sister Sue calling you every weekend with HER problems, politics, pandemics and pundits! No longer is it simply famine, predators and nature that stresses us; the human body is being pushed to the envelope!

Many of us are aware of the deleterious effects of stress. The effects are far- and wide-reaching causing brain shrinkage, clogged arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and complex chronic illness. Despite our best efforts, there will always be stress. Incorporating apoptogenic herbs into your supplement routine makes you harder to kill and harder to make sick.

You will want to look for products that contain herbs such as Eleuthrococcus, Ashwaganda, Holy Basil, Rhodiola and Schizandra. Higher quality products list the herbs as extracts, standardized to a specific amount of an active constituent in the product. For example, a higher quality rhodiola product will list “3% rosavins” a specific glycoside in the herb that produces the adaptogenic effect. Great products will also be organically grown and free of heavy metals and pesticides.

WHAT DO NOW

So, clean out your cupboard! No need for 20 different supplements, just the essential five. Additional considerations are always happy to be discussed with your friendly providers at Arthritis Health.

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