The ageless questions. Food vs supplements or both.
Dear Reader: I published a post to my top Saga supporters which quoted an AARP article about vitamins. Shoulda known that from MY group it would get some reactions. Several, in fact. I am posting Nurit Amichai's here because first, she has a lot to say and I really think it's worth its own article. So this isn't mine, it's hers, with a few comments from me in italics. Light edits for emphasis.
First, Nurit's credentials:
HOLISTIC THERAPIST Certified Life Coach -Certified Health Coach-Certified CBT Practitioner-Certified Hypnotherapy Practitioner-Certified Vegetarian Health Master-Certified Personal Trainer-Mind-Body Trainer
The above is why when Nurit sends me comments I print them, because I am none of these things, and my best intentions in sending along information aren't always as useful as I like to hope.
First of all, the very best way to meet your health needs is to eat a variety of healthy foods. Preferably, organically grown. Yes, they’re more expensive in many cases, but they’re not ladened with chemicals that throw your body’s mechanisms into havoc. If spending the extra on a quality product is a problem, I would ask, “What’s your health worth to you?”
Now, if you’re low on specific vitamins or minerals, or you just want to be sure you’re getting everything you need, a good (good is operative here) multivitamin would likely do the trick. But, here’s the catch with a multivitamin. Since there’s a mix of water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins in a multivitamin, it would be wise to have it with your breakfast (or lunch or dinner).
People in general don’t take the time to do any research into what they’re putting into their bodies and can negate the effects of supplements quickly with their ignorance.
Take for instance water-soluble vitamins. Your body doesn’t store this type of vitamin, which means you’ll need to have some every day. Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C and the B vitamins (1,2,3,5,6,7,9,12). All but B12 can be taken with or without food – B12 absorbs better with food. Now, here’s the thing: if you’re taking vitamin C, it’s important to leave a two-hour window between the C and B12 because C can block the use of B12 by the body. How many people know that when they take a handful of vitamins and toss them back with a gulp of OJ or even coffee?
The fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E, and K) are only absorbed properly in the body when taken with fat from a meal. You don’t need a lot of fat and saturated fat (butter, animal fat) isn’t necessary. Avocado or nuts are a great source of healthy fat to eat when taking fat-soluble vitamins.
Then we get into minerals and that’s where things can get really dicey. Let's take iron for example. Iron is best taken with a vitamin C-prominent food or drink (think citrus juice). However, mixing iron with a calcium supplement or with foods high in calcium will result in neither being effective, the calcium interferes with the iron. Women in our age bracket as well as men shouldn’t be taking iron - supplementally unless it’s prescribed by a doctor. (This age bracket meaning past seventy)
And I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Do the research. More isn’t better. If a person is taking medication, some supplements can interfere with the efficacy of the medicine. We need to be healthy AND we need to be smart about what we’re enhancing.
Again, just because it’s good for you doesn’t mean you need to be taking a lot of it or taking it at all.
Check in with a nutritional specialist.
Get some bloodwork done.
Do your research.
Eat good food first and if you need extra, then take it. (author bolded)
Now then. Lots of other folks have very strong feelings about various diets, and what works for them. They have also done the research and found that those diets really do work for them, and supplement as needed. This is my nod to the whole lot of us who are trying very very hard to live well, eat well and provide proper nutrition as our bodies change rapidly while we age. We do have to work harder at it.
And one more thing. I can't emphasize enough the importance of understanding how your medications can interfere with supplements and vice versa. Everything we ingest has an effect. I'm not as good at this as I'd like, but better than most. Still, a work in progress as are we all.
With heartfelt thanks to Nurit for always showing up when it serves best!
Our health is hard work. We're worth it.
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