Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If I could give the world just one pill...

The first request I received for a specific blog topic was for a stream lined supplement regimen and I understand this reader's frustration. A few trips to a health food store and you can end up with a cabinet full of half used bottles and an empty wallet. We all know there is no one magic pill. And I don't believe there is one regimen that will work for everyone. So what are you supposed to do?

Be selective about where you're shopping. 
A big box store generally doesn't sell quality supplements. Their buyers have an MA in business administration not holistic nutrition. Shop at a local co-op or privately owned store. Reputation for quality products and customer service are everything to a smaller store. Make sure the store is fairly clean; Cleanliness is important to health. Do the employees seem to be in generally good health? Everyone gets a bug from time to time or could stand to lose a couple pounds. But if most of the employees do not resemble a level a of health you would be happy to achieve, you might be in the wrong store. Most importantly, ask about the store's general philosophy. Do they even have one? Shop for a store you are happy with.
Know your sales clerk. 
When you go into a store with a specific issue or question, the sales clerk should ask you questions about your health and lifestyle to be sure you're getting a product matched to your needs. If they just hand you a multi off the shelf without an explanation or asking you a few questions, ask to speak with another employee. If the store isn't super busy take a minute to ask about the backgrounds of the employees you're working with. Find one you're comfortable with and try to work with them each time you go to that store. What is that employees general philosophy on health and nutrition? Did they listen to your needs and ask questions? Did you leave the store with a product you are happy with? Every state does not offer a specific degree or certificate for this industry so you'll need to be a little open minded about the employees background and experience but they should have some.
The Products.
It will cost more but select a whole food supplement when possible. Make sure it is 100% whole food. If the label says whole food BASED, it's not. Generally a true whole food supplement will cost a bit more but it is worth it in quality. And you can get USDA certified organic supplements now. Look for them. Why would you want to take a detoxifying herb or fiber that has been sprayed with pesticides and fertilizers? If you really cannot afford the products, tell the clerk. Let them know what your price range is. A good clerk can usually help you select a less expensive product and sacrifice the least amount of quality.
A typical recommended vitamin regimen looks something like this:
Fish Oil or Flax
Digestive Enzymes 
Pro-biotics &
If I could give the world just one pill.
So you've found a store and an employee you like. You're on a regimen but you just don't want to take it all anymore or you still just cannot afford it. What do you have to take? Spend your money on a high quality pro-biotic. Why? Well, a pro-biotic will increase digestive functions in the intestines and help detoxify the body. The bacteria embed themselves in your intestinal wall and multiply, keeping other harmful organisms from crossing through the wall into the bloodstream. Pro-biotics create and release enzymes into the body helping with upper digestive functions and taming inflammation. Now that your digestive system is cleaner and you are breaking down your food properly into smaller more absorb-able particles , you are getting more vitamins and minerals into your bloodstream when you eat.
Look for the following in your pro-biotic:
1. A high quality pro-biotic is measured in billions of organisms not milligrams. Unless you're sick, the count doesn't really matter. If you're consistent, they will breed in your intestines. But generally more is good.
2.The more types of bacteria the better! There should be an ingredient list box on the bottle with the names of each type of bacteria. Buy as many strains as your wallet will allow. Each bacteria has a similar but different function and only some will work with your body chemistry. If there are less than six types, I wouldn't buy it.
3. Look for enteric coated or time release capsules. Remember, your stomach acid is designed to kill bacteria so the pill has to make it past your stomach to be most effective.
Even if you eat organic and don't take anti-biotics, I would recommend a pro-biotic. Our water contains antibacterial chemicals, even most bottled waters. We shower in antibacterial chlorinated water and we're exposed to antibacterial cleaners and hand lotions everywhere we go. Our bodies are supposed to be teaming with beneficial bacterias. Pro-biotics are by no means a cure all but they are essential in the overall function of the body. If I could recommend just one pill, it would be a pro-biotic.

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