I want to begin by saying that the vitamin and mineral supplements market is as commercial as the food, beauty, and big pharm markets, with health supplements being offered up for every ache and illness so well publicized in our society today. As with any advertising, you have to decide what you actually need versus what the media and your friends may say you need.
What DO I need?
It is my belief that it is extremely beneficial to have a full panel blood test every few years that includes checking all nutritional and organ/hormone functions. We don’t always get a full scale review in the standard physical, so you may need to have a talk with your GP or go to a naturapathic doctor to be sure you are getting comprehensive tests. I also recommend getting allergy tests and talking with your doctor about any gene marker tests you might should have. For example, late onset Alzheimer’s runs in my family and is tied to a gene marker that relates to my inability to digest folic acid. I have always gotten nauseous when I take B vitamins on a near empty stomach, and now I know it is because of this gene trait. I also had a number of miscarriages without any explanation that I now know was also as a result of my folate deficiency. Today I take Active (Methylated) B vitamins, especially folate, because my body can actually digest them, and I have noticed a number of improvements since I began this regimen.
Another reason it is good to get your levels tested every few years is that we don’t have the same nutritional needs every day of every year. Assuming we typically eat a reasonable diet, once we address a deficiency for some months or a year, we may not need to continue the supplement at the same level going forward. We can create toxicities by over-supplementing, so it is important to listen to your body and find out what your levels are so you know what you need to address.
Over the years I have used a zillion brands of nutrition and body care supplements, and there are many great ones out there. Rarely, though, have I ever found satisfaction with a wide range of products from a single brand. Typically I will pick & choose supplements or skin care products on an individual basis, finding that certain brands work better for me in certain areas. However, I want to share now with you a brand, Life Extension, that so far, every product I have tried has been wonderful. I have been using a number of their products for nearly a year now, some of which I will highlight below, with great results, but I have also recently discovered that some of my friends have also become customers with the same positive results I have had.
Not only are the products proving to be excellent, but I also love their catalog (which they send to customers) and that is filled with excellent educational updates.Their catalog is obviously a sales tool, and therefore its purpose is to inform us about research that proves their products are valid. However, as one who reads a lot of varied sources, I find their articles to be well-informed, research-driven, educational essays that are compatible with other independent sources that I read. Furthermore, their articles really breakdown the details of the research or the reasons the products are helpful, making it easier to decide which products to buy.
I will admit that they have many products that overlap, and you will have to spend some time with the catalog to decide what you need. But again, their articles and product descriptions are so complete, that you can get a great deal of information for making educated choices. My suggestion is to pick one or two products to try that will replace something you already take. Then see if you like it. However, the real test is how any supplement makes you feel. No matter what research or the media says, if a supplement makes you feel bad, you probably shouldn’t be taking it. It is important to find a nutritional expert to help you determine what you should do instead if something doesn’t work.
A Couple Favorites:
Products I’m most excited about are the skin care and some of the specialized combinations that can help reduce the number of supplements I take.
Here’s a two of my favorites:
Complete B Complex
This B-Complex offers activated, highly digestible, B-vitamins, including Folate.