(Nov. 2021) As a typical nutrition nut, taking supplements is what I do. I take so many that it’s hard to keep track. Pill fatigue sets in, now and then, with all the tablets, capsules, and gels swallowed daily.
At some point, one has to take inventory. Gotta do a service check for duplications, overdoses, sensitivities, upgrades, and the like. One supplement might not sit right, or might interact badly with another. A build up of one nutrient over many years can border on being toxic, or become out of balance with another. Good things can work against you in the wrong amount. There’s also a lot of bad manufacturing out there in the vitamin world, along with cost cutting and lack of quality control, so I’m always trying to upgrade, go organic, regenerative, bioavailable, whole food, etc. Sometimes it helps to reshuffle the deck–namely the vitamin rack–especially if you’re not feeling up to par.
Personally, I’ve been dealing with chronic tendinitis lately. I blame it mostly on old age (turning 70 in 2022), but I suspect there are problems with my diet. Beyond physical therapy, I’ve looked closely at what I’m eating, eliminating foods and supplements that could be affecting me negatively. With all the teas I drink, and pills and powders I take regularly, it’s hard to pinpoint any one culprit or imbalance. I was blaming my ills (cramps, loose stools) on red wine, but it turned out to be cinnamon in my daily tea and cereal that was causing most of them, oddly enough. It makes me wonder what other needles in the haystack are pricking me? The good news is, I’m back to my one glass of red in the evening. Ahhhh.
Of course, there’s the obvious evil: sugar, flour & refined carbs contribute to most of our ills. For some, eliminating dairy and gluten can reduce inflammation and hormonal imbalances. Eating organic helps to avoid environmental chemicals (pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, etc). Cutting down on the caffeine and alcohol helps, too. Just drinking lots of filtered water makes a big difference. The newest bad guys in town are the omega-6s, from refined, heat-extracted oils, processed foods, factory-farm meats, trans fats, and high-heat cooking. Just getting rid of seed oils (soy, canola, safflower, sunflower, peanut), and substituting with coconut oil and organic extra-virgin olive oil make a profound difference in energy levels and inflammation. Sadly, so much of our food is adulterated.
Another thing to eliminate is some of the time dedicated to eating. Overeating is not good; nor is eating at the wrong times. Basically, we need to eat less per meal, or skip meals all together, and eat at prescribed times. The trick is not to eat three hours before bedtime or three hours after waking. Time-constrained eating is not just a fad: it can affect weight loss, mood, energy, and blood sugar, substantially. You’ll notice the difference immediately.
It’s not all about elimination, however. Sometimes we’re missing, rather than getting too much of, something. Lots of folks are low in at least one important nutrient, like B vitamins, iron, vitamin D, iodine, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, omega-3s, potassium, vitamin A, zinc, vitamin E and copper. I take my share of vitamins and minerals, and continue to introduce foods, supplements and botanical extracts into my regimen to address my issues. The changes are often subtle and may take months to manifest, but I’ve got time. Plus, this is my passion. But it all starts with finding a top-shelf multivitamin to cover most of your needs, adding chelated magnesium, high-dose vitamin D, and long-chain omega-3s to your basic regimen. Most of the rest comes from fruits and vegetables, but don’t skimp on quality here, either.
Experts advise us to eat a whole, unprocessed, organic, mostly plant-based diet with sustainably-raised meat. This minimizes intake of environmental toxins and increases nutrient density. Even if you’re generally healthy, supplementing with certain key nutrients can help address your particular issues. Unfortunately, there are many contrasting recommendations from so-called experts, so it’s hard to know what to do. You have to take your health into your own hands sometimes, and do your own search-and-discovery thing. It may take a lifetime, but you may improve upon your lifespan and its quality by making a few strategic additions and subtractions to your diet and lifestyle.
With all these eliminations and inclusions, one has to stay on course for a while to see the full effects of changing your routine. Sometimes it’s noticeable in a day or two, but it can take weeks or months to become obvious. It might take a year or more to weed out something hurtful, or incorporate something helpful. But it’s always nice when it’s obvious. One product that seems to have immediate effects for many is a product called Olde World Icelandic Cod Liver Oil from Garden of Life (Note: I get no kickbacks from this company). It has all the long-chain omega-3 oil you need, a decent amount of vitamin D, and a whopping dose of vitamin A per serving. Many people are deficient in all three nutrients, so it can be life changing. I had inflammation in my gums until I started the regimen, and it has not returned. That’s vitally important, since microbial pathogens can gain entry into your bloodstream via your gums. I also remember peoples’ names much better than before, but that could be from any number of dietary changes I’ve made. Again, I take too many supplements to pinpoint what’s doing what. Hey, at least I’m on the right track.
As an expert in the nutrition world, I occasionally receive samples of natural health products to evaluate for supplement/herbal companies. Most recently, I’m exploring the health benefits of sea buckthorn extracts from Puredia, with all its salubrious oils and antioxidants. So stay tuned for a blog post soon enough. There’s also a kefir called Zymosi that we sampled; all seven delicious flavors. It’s fun doing these gigs: experimenting with the newest potions and age-old remedies; staying unbiased and objective, looking for subtle changes in mood, sleep, weight, skin, hair, etc. I’m like Sherlock Holmes, Jr. over here. Frankly, I’ve made enormous strides in health over the years in this capacity, and have helped many others as well. Just making sure I don’t poison myself along the way.
You naysayers may see me as a canary in a mineshaft. But, for me, it’s first come, first served.
Tendonitis and soft tissue problems plague me as an aging tennis player in my mid 60s. I was wondering if you have found any supplements or foods particularly helpful for keeping cartilaginous tissue healthy and/or aids in repair after and injury?
What comes quickly to mind is vitamin C complex from whole foods (acerola, camu, kiwi, pineapple, berries, bell pepper, citrus).
You might also get some relief from glycine, a sweet amino acid that helps build cartilage. It also doubles as an alternative to sugar. I like to gnaw on the ends of organic chicken bones to get my glucosamine and chondroitin, structural components of cartilage. Anti-inflammatory agents like curcumin and boswellia (Curamin) can provide much relief. Vitamin D is also anti-inflammatory and supports glutathione production. We also supplement with grass-fed whey isolate, a superior source of protein. I’ve read that glutamine helps with muscle preservation, apparently as an alternative fuel. Arginine increases growth hormone. And branch-chain amino acids (BCAA) build muscle. Fish oil (DHA) improves muscle function. Quercetin has been shown in human trials to protect against muscle damage. A beneficial fat in grass-fed dairy, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), preserves muscle and helps burn fat. B complex improves performance in myriad ways, including energy metabolism, repair mechanisms, gene regulation and nerve function. Zinc is necessary for muscle strength. Much of this can be found in a top-shelf multivitamin, wholesome fresh food, whey, and a few key supplements.