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Friday, March 28, 2008

supplements for suppleminds

I'm a fan of nutritional supplements. Each morning my bathroom vanity is populated by a colorful array of tablets and capsules ready to be gulped down with my morning glass of water. Breakfast first, as many vitamins and supplements don't work as well on an empty stomach. But which ones need to be taken on a full stomach and which ones work better on an empty stomach?

Figuring this out and which supplements to take for what problem often involves winding through a maze of internet sites. I want reputable, research based advice. I want to avoid unreliable claims from commercial sites, for example, that are trying to sell their product. I want to know what supplements have been researched and what the research says.

The University of Maryland Medical Center's Complementary and Alternative Medicine Index is a great resource that covers all the essential bases. Here you can browse specific supplements and herbs and find out how to take them, for what purpose, and at what recommended dose. Or you can start with a particular condition, such as Depression, and read about recommended nutritional strategies and alternative treatments (St John's Wort, for example). Supporting research references from peer reviewed journals are listed as well as potential complications and interactions with medications.

So what are some of my daily supplement choices? A multi-Vitamin for the broad spectrum approach. A B-complex for general life stress. Magnesium glycinate for the prevention of osteoporosis (my grandmother had it) and as a wind-down-to-sleep aid. Melatonin on nights when I have trouble falling asleep because my sleep cycle has been irregular (my preferred cure for "sunday night insommnia"). Fish oil for Omega-3 Fatty Acids because, as the UMM site tells me,

"Extensive research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and help prevent risk factors associated with chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. These essential fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be particularly important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include extreme tiredness (fatigue), poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation."

So what are your favorite nutritional supplements and why? Any preferred sites for researching alternative medicine?

10 comments:

JCK said...

I just take a really good multi-vitamin, but I loved hearing about the link you mentioned and will be checking it out!

e. beck said...

i take a multi vitamin, a fish oil, a generic claritin and a sythroid every day .....
i've never done much research .... i take the advice of my dad ... and a couple friends ..... for instance, if i had a question, i'd ask you, yogurt!

AnnD said...

I love Melatonin! I need to go get some! I also need to pick up some Omega-3's. I took them as part of my prenatal routine and stopped taking them when I stopped nursing. I'm a bad girl!

Jeannie said...

I take a multi vitamin for women, B-12(it is cherry and tiny I like it best), omega-3 (just added this one this year)& calcium

OH and Doctor OZ said to break my multi vit in 1/2 and take part in the am and part in the pm.

thanks for all the cool info

Anonymous said...

I take a multi vit (Dr OZ said to break it in 1/2 and take part in the am and part in the pm so I do that), B-12 (cherry flavor and tiny so my favorite), omega-3 a new one for me this year & calcium.

thanks for the cool info
Jeannie

phd in yogurtry said...

jeanne said, << (Dr OZ said to break it in 1/2 and take part in the am and part in the pm so I do that)>>

I've heard of this approach. I had feared it would interfere with absorption. I'll have to look into it.

Jeannie said...

He said a whole vitamin is so packed with stuff and it does not have enought time to all get disolved in your system by the time your body is pushing it out
so 1/2 in the am and 1/2 in the pm is a better option -- more like to get all the benifits

Health Psych said...

I take Coenzyme Q10. It was advised for muscle weakness but I find it really has boosted my energy levels overall.

I also take a product with A, C, E, folic acid, B vitamins and selenium. I also take D because I'm extremely deficient.

Angel said...

This is great post, it is give very important information. Really it will workout for me,thank you very much for sharing this info.
HealthyFoodsToday

christina said...

Excellent post,

Supplements help the body towards optimal health. Many people see wonderful results and want to say that they were 'healed or cured'. This is wrong. Buying nutritional supplements isn’t about money; it’s about your commitment to yourself. You owe it to yourself and your family to maintain your health as best you can. Prevention is all-important; buying nutritional supplements is the ultimate in prevention! However, because we’re all susceptible to illness and disease despite our best efforts, it makes even more sense to buy good-quality nutritional supplements that make it easier for our bodies to fight off an invading illness. :)

Max Life Research