Friday, March 21, 2014

Using Sense With Supplements


         Sometimes I profile or tell you about a company I have used or a product I think is interesting.
I don't receive any type of reimbursement from the companies I profile, unless I have indicated I do (and so far, I never have)  
              I do use vitamin and other types of supplements on occasion.  There is a wonderful book that exists in many editions called:

    Balch's      Prescription for Nutritional Healing

It is in its fifth edition, and has a great deal of really valuable information.  It's about fourteen dollars on and may be had for less than that at on occasion.  The earlier editions are also quite helpful, and I still have one.    This book talks about correct and careful supplementation of vitamins and minerals on a disorder by disorder basis.    Have dry scaly skin ?   Then, a zinc supplement could be in order, for example.  There is also a Spanish version of the book also available on Amazon.

       In an era where our unimpeded access to our primary physician could be more and more tenuous, then staying healthy using careful supplementation as a strategy could be one modality to staying healthy.

            In addition to reading carefully and following the guidelines in a variety of disorders, you might find that your grocery store or your Wal-Mart doesn't have all the supplements suggested    I use taurine, coenzyme q-10,  and magnesium glycinate, for example, and these are not always easy to find, especially in the doses I use.    The vitamin shop by mail I have been using is not only reasonable, but has a lot of the unusual things I might choose to use.   In addition, one of my sons needed to supplement biotin, but in the stores locally, they were flavored as a chewable natural cherry.  He is allergic to cherries and so we needed to find a natural biotin flavored with orange or strawberry.   Swanson Health Products had it, and everything else I have used lately.  They also had them with significant discounts over vitamin shops and with expiration dates far into the future.   (The expiration dates are not a hard and fast rule, but I try to obtain things with as long a shelf life as is reasonably possible.)  Swanson also runs occasional specials where there is free postage.   I was fortunate that for my last order, this was running.

This is a listing of some of its products are uses:

        Certainly,  your physician should be aware of any supplements or vitamins you take on a regular basis.  Some of them interact with prescription or OTC medications.  Some physicians don't believe that supplementation is necessary.  However, I have seen great differences in patients who have found some type of supplement for something of which they were deficient.   I have seen brown hair come back where gray was growing when zinc was supplemented.  I have seen biotin grow longer hair in a person whose hair did not grow, as a simple side effect of the vitamin.  I have seen apparent eczema clear on supplementation with zinc. I have seen improvements in people's vision when they supplemented specific products for improved vision.  My own atrial fibrillation all but disappeared on supplementation with physician's permission, of taurine, conenzyme Q-10, and magnesium glycinate, and the discontinuation of Prilosec.  
        Certain disorders actually burn through more vitamins and minerals than normal, and it's natural to consider that some of us might need some supplementation while others might not. We are all individuals with differing genetic predilections to disease.

         Remember that your physician should be the best historian on your health and what it is safe to supplement. If he isn't, it's time to locate someone with more of an interest in health maintenance rather than collecting your money when it's time for treatment.  I assure you, that there are good physicians out there.




Linda said...

I dance around the idea of supplements, really wanting to use them and then become wary of causing another problem. I know my friend's health and ultimate death are no indicator of anything except his own health, but it bothers me. He many bottle of supplements that he took daily and went to the gym regularly and was careful about how he ate. Then, he died.

It's not that simple, but I still don't know what happened between his being a virile older man and his death. I will have to ask his wife. I do know he stepped back and fell off his porch onto concrete and broke a hip, but recovered nicely.

It seems that people with no underlying health problems and heavily into supplements are the friends that just die in their early 70s, way too young it seems to me. Am I reading too much into this?

If my gray hair will turn black again, I am all over getting some zinc.

JaneofVirginia said...

I think each person and each supplement need to be considered on an individual basis. Why spend money to supplement something if in fact, you don't need to ? Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble and can be harmful if the patient takes excessive amounts of these. Other supplements can be harmful especially since no one ever really knows whether their kidneys or liver are functioning optimally.
However, if you can identify a problem, select a supplement and clear it with your physician for a trial, many people have found something that benefits their health immensely. Both my parents died in their 80s and chose to work in jobs they loved right to their passings. Both of them were perceived to be in their sixties, even though they were both in their 80s and they were also driving. I think that done correctly, supplements could provide a better quality of life, whether they lengthen life or not. My grandmother lived to 96 and supplemented Vitamin C. She still had all her own teeth when she passed.

lotta joy said...

I've always bought supplements and stored them, unopened, in the kitchen cabinet like they were going to help through osmosis. I have so many medical problems, that on any given day, whether I'm taking a supplement or not, "things happen". Then I have to wonder "is it the pill, or is it just a coincidence". My sister's energy has gone up since starting Shakley. (spelling?) But I just stick with Centrum Silver.

What is the taurine for?

JaneofVirginia said...

I actually think the Shaklee products are quite good. I know several people who are doing very well on them. We received a gift of some of them for one of my sons with Crohn's. He uses the milkshake version of one of them.
Taurine has been recommended by several electrophysiology cardiologists for me. They cite some positive indications for its use. It supposedly strengthens the connection from the brain to the heart in arrhythmia. In general, we know it improves nerve health, just as it does in babies, cats and now adults. Six months use has improved my eyesight. I don't use glasses even to sew. Always check with your doctor before adding anything. It took six months of consistent use for me to see a difference, but I believe there is one.

kymber said...

Jane - the only thing that i can add to your excellent advice on supplements is to begin with diet. i know that many people can help their bodies by following very specific diet instructions. nothing makes me more upset than someone who claims that they have gluten intolerance and then watch them eat white bread 5 days a week, moan and groan about stomach problems, end up taking prescription drugs AND supplements when a lot of their problems could be addressed through diet! this is only one example. and i know that some people's bodies, due to certain medical conditions, aren't able to absorb or digest enough iron, for example. so yes, they would need supplements. i agree whole-heartedly with supplementing your diet - but only after you have addressed your diet. i am sure that you know what i am blathering about and can probably re-state it, in a much more professional comment back to this one if you wouldn't mind.

your friend,

JaneofVirginia said...

Yes, you are absolutely correct. Sadly, there has been a perversion of our diets in the US and I am sure in other places as well. Advertising often encourages us to eat something, or may even purport it to be healthy when it simply isn't. It took me a long time as an adult to revert to many of the things my parents did which kept them healthy.
I realize that not all medical conditions can be resolved by a permanent change in diet, but far more of them can than most of us, or even our physicians realize. For example, About a year ago I stopped using salad dressings and mayonnaise because it was adding too many calories to my diet, and because I don't like the taste of the lower calorie ones. Instead, I have been adding about a tablespoon of genuine blue cheese in lieu of dressing. In general, blue cheese or even gorgonzola is not a low calorie food. However, in the amount I am using it doesn't add a lot of calories. It does bring a sharp flavor to the homegrown green salads though, and I miss it if I don't do it. Strangely, I am feeling MUCH better as a result, I think, of removing the salad dressings and adding the blue cheese. I am not sure what the blue cheese is doing for me, but something I have never enjoyed before is certainly helping. Once again, an example of adjusting something on the dietary level. Best wishes to you both,

lotta joy said...

Oh, I don't wear my glasses whenever I'm in the house and not because my eyesight improved. Quite the opposite. With or without glasses, things are very blurry. So when I know my surroundings, I occasionally lose my glasses and need help finding them.