What Are You Eating?
- Poor Eating Habits Lead to Disease
- Why You Need Nutritional Supplements
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Are you eating cold-water fish weekly? Most of us aren’t.
After all, eating fish regularly can be expensive. We don’t always have access to wild-caught salmon and other seafood. Some people don’t like the taste. Others want to avoid mercury, a dangerous toxin that can damage your brain and nervous system.
Yet, fish is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Fish provide two crucial omega-3 fatty acids — eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — that can lower inflammation levels and lots more. Your body can’t make EPA and DHA, making them “essential.”
Once upon a time, we consumed about equal amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Today, however, we eat many more inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids: 20 times or more, in fact. These inflammatory fats lurk in conventional meats, processed foods, vegetable oils, and other foods most of us eat regularly.
Poor Eating Habits Lead to Disease
Eating excessive amounts of inflammatory fatty acids can make you overweight and sick. Research links inflammation with nearly every chronic disease, including cancer and heart disease, but also obesity. When you eat the foods on our Core or Advanced Plans, you naturally lower those inflammatory fats. But even then, you might get too many from sources like vegetable oils, which can create problems if you’re not balancing them out with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
Especially if you’re not regularly eating wild-caught seafood, a supplement can cover those EPA/ DHA nutrient bases and help you reach the 1:1 omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio our Paleolithic ancestors ate.
And that’s true of supplements in general.
Why You Should Take These Supplements: They Are Essential
Supplements are meant to do just that: Complement, not replace, a healthy diet. They can provide the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you might not get from food. Many of these deficiencies aren’t always obvious. Instead, they are considered “subclinical,” meaning they can impact your health in subtle ways.
Consider vitamin D, actually a hormone that about 42 percent of us are deficient in. Symptoms of those deficiencies include back pain, depression, hair loss, and impaired wound healing.
If you have darker skin or avoid the sun, that number could be higher. In fact, about 82 percent of African-Americans have vitamin D deficiencies.
These deficiencies increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, and cognitive impairment in older adults, and asthma in younger children. Sufficient vitamin D levels, on the other hand, can improve diabetes, high blood pressure, and many other conditions.
The good news is that you don’t need to take a dozen different supplements to get these crucial nutrients. In fact, three daily essentials can help tremendously.
These nutrients provide an inexpensive “insurance policy” that covers the bases you might not — probably aren’t — getting from food. Essential nutrients can prevent deficiencies that contribute to many health conditions.
You might benefit from taking additional supplements that a healthcare practitioner recommends. Always consult with him or her to determine your specific nutrient needs.
For just about everyone, these three “just the basics” will be enough to provide the daily nutrients you need to thrive, be lean and healthy, and live your very best life. They provide the foundation for optimal nutrient coverage.
Multivitamin (with Minerals)
How a Multivitamin Benefits You
A multivitamin can help provide the right amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to support overall health.
Most multivitamins will contain essential nutrients, including 13 vitamins and at least 16 minerals. These play numerous roles in keeping your body optimally functioning. Those roles include enzymatic reactions, creating hormones, supporting reproduction, maintaining metabolism, and develop muscles and bones.
Deficiencies in even one of these vitamins and minerals can slow down or inhibit your body’s ability to optimally function.
That’s where a multivitamin comes in: It provides vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you might not get from food, but that your body requires to function.
Why You Should Take A Multivitamin
Consider the numerous variables that inhibit the nutrients in our food supply, such as soil depletion. Overall, people get fewer vitamins and minerals from produce than in past generations because of these and other problems.
Put another way: The healthiest diet might not provide the right amounts of the nutrients you need, and most of us aren’t maintaining that kind of eating. Almost everyone benefits from taking a multivitamin.
While individual results vary, research shows taking a quality multivitamin consistently can benefit various conditions including:
- Heart disease
- Some types of cancer
- Eye health
- Brain function
Certain groups — including the elderly, vegans and vegetarians, and pregnant or breastfeeding women — can especially benefit from taking a multivitamin. But researchers note that anyone who isn’t getting sufficient nutrients from food would also benefit from a multivitamin.
Finding the Right Multivitamin
In terms of nutrients and overall quality, multivitamins are all over the board. While convenient, you probably won’t get ideal amounts of vitamins and minerals from a one-a-day.
Many higher-quality supplements combine vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in two or more capsules a day. These products combine the best, most absorbable form of nutrients in the right doses.
Too much of a good thing with multivitamins can become a bad thing. That’s why you will always want to look for a professionally formulated multivitamin with the correct ratio of nutrients for your condition.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Benefit You
Omega-3 fatty acids can lower blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, and so much more.
Most of these benefits come from the anti-inflammatory benefits of EPA and DHA. Although you should do both, raising these two fatty acids is much more important for overall health than simply reducing inflammatory fat intake.
Some quality omega-3 formulas contain other fatty acids than just EPA and DHA. They include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid in plant foods, as well as other anti-inflammatory fatty acids such as gamma linolenic acid (GLA) from borage or evening primrose oils.
Why You Should Take Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Everyone who doesn’t regularly eat wild-caught fish and eats too many inflammatory fats — that would be nearly all of us — should take omega-3 fatty acids.
Want glowing skin? Better sleep? Take omega-3 fatty acids. The list literally goes on and on for their benefits.
Research shows omega-3 fatty acids can improve numerous conditions, including:
- Depression and anxiety
- Brain health
- Heart disease
- Obesity and other factors of metabolic syndrome
- Autoimmune diseases
Finding the Right Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Quality matters with supplements, and especially with omega-3 fatty acids. EPA and DHA can go rancid easily, potentially creating more harm than good. Better formulas will provide a clear sell-by date and include antioxidants like tocopherols (vitamin E) to stabilize those delicate fatty acids.
Read your labels closely. Never mind that the front says “1,000 mg omega-3 fatty acids per serving.” The only two numbers that matter here are the amounts of EPA and DHA. To find that, you’ll need to look at the back of the label.
Many commercial brands, unfortunately, contain very low levels of these two fatty acids. You’ll need to take more softgels to get the same amount of EPA and DHA that better formulas provide in just one or two softgels. That makes a “bargain” not such a bargain.
How Magnesium Benefits You
Magnesium is involved with over 300 biochemical reactions in your body; it is the most abundant mineral in your body. Among its many roles, magnesium contributes to:
- Muscle and nerve function
- Blood glucose (sugar) control
- Blood pressure
- Energy production
- Glutathione, your master antioxidant
- Muscle contraction
- Normal heart rhythm
Suboptimal amounts of magnesium mean that your body can’t optimally carry out these and other functions.
About half the population consumes less than the recommended amount of magnesium from food. That number can get much higher for certain demographics. Up to 84 percent of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis have magnesium deficiencies.
These deficiencies have led researchers to call magnesium “a public health crisis.” Yet most deficiencies are not diagnosed.
Why You Should Take Magnesium
Magnesium has a calming effect, making it ideal for lowering the anxiety and stress levels that impact almost everyone. You’ll also sleep better with magnesium, making it an ideal supplement to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
Certain demographics, like people with diabetes and older people, are more susceptible to deficiencies. But everyone can benefit from taking extra magnesium.
Getting sufficient amounts of magnesium from food can be a challenge. Leafy green vegetables, nuts, and seeds are excellent sources found in our Core and Advanced Plans. Even then, you might not get the right amounts from food alone.
Finding the Right Magnesium
Most multivitamins don’t provide optimal amounts of magnesium. That’s because as a very bulky mineral, including it in a multivitamin would increase the number of capsules you swallow.
Manufacturers, then, often provide it as a separate supplement. That becomes ideal for, say, around bedtime. Magnesium has a calming effect that helps you sleep better.
You’ll find supplements in many forms including magnesium oxide, citrate, and chloride. Absorption will vary among these forms. Overall, studies show the aspartate, citrate, lactate, and chloride forms absorb better than magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate.
Whether you use a powder, liquid, or capsule, start on the low end with magnesium and work your way up. Too much at once can have a laxative effect, though this occurs less often with better formulas that have the right type of magnesium.
Pull together these three supplements — a multivitamin, omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium — and you have the basic nutrient essentials for a healthy life.
Your healthcare practitioner might recommend additional supplements, including vitamin D. While a good multivitamin will provide some vitamin D, taking too much can create problems.
You might consider speaking with a MaxLiving Chiropractor about getting a metabolic analysis profile test, which will show the levels of nutrients you have in your body. It will show what you might need more of. For instance, she or he might suggest you take additional vitamin D based on your lab results.
Other supplements can benefit specific conditions. If you’re under constant stress, for instance, a B-Complex can replenish the nutrient levels that stress depletes. Vitamin C can support immune function and much more.
Discuss including these and/or any other additional supplements with your healthcare practitioner. Never modify any medications or other medical advice without your healthcare practitioner’s consent.