You look perfectly ok, no present illness, nothing that isn’t treatable by a prescription medication, you go to work, pay the bills and take care of your family. But what are the prospects of living a long, healthy, disease free life?
I believe we have become accustomed to living life with a moderate level of energy, chronic aches and pains, poor sleep and a feeling of mediocrity. Our bodies are in a constant state of “triage”. They are running around trying to fix the parts of the body with the most damage with what little nutrients it has available.
The RDA, Recommended Daily Allowance, of vitamins and minerals is right at the edge of preventing a known vitamin deficiency, such as scurvy. The ODA, Optimal Dietary Allowance, is far closer to what the human body needs on a daily basis in order to prevent disease. What if there was a level beyond that? A level of nutrients that allowed you to prolong life while being vibrantly healthy, on no medications, physically active and cognitively alert.
Bruce Ames, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California Berkeley, is 90 years old (and still working!). He proposes the recommended level of many vitamins may be insufficient for longevity. In other words, the levels required to diminish disease may not be the same as the levels required to optimize longevity.
What you need
You need 30 different vitamins and minerals to run your body every day. Your body doesn’t make minerals, and very few vitamins. They must come in through the diet. How do you think we are doing each day in getting these essential nutrients into our body through our diet? Not very good………
- Vitamin D — 70 percent of people don’t get enough based on the RDA
- Vitamin E — 60 percent of people don’t get enough based on the RDA
- Magnesium — 45 percent of people don’t get enough based on the RDA
This is alarming, especially since the RDA is an extremely low bar for our bodies to function at all! Is it any wonder we are seeing an accelerated level of cancer, heart disease, Alzheimers, diabetes, auto-immune disorders, gut disorders and psychological problems. There comes a point where the body is over-whelmed with the oxidative stress, toxicity and inflammation that are hallmarks of aging.
Do We Need to Supplement?
I absolutely believe we need to use nutritional supplements. With as much as I know how important these nutrients are, do I get 5-7 servings a day of organic colorful fruits in vegetables into my diet along with my daily protein needs? Not every day! Not only that, but as I age my nutrient needs actually increase, but my caloric requirements decrease, quite the conundrum.
My introduction to the world of nutritional supplements came in 1984 after my husbands cancer treatments. Since then the field has exploded. In the 80’s you had to either go to a “health food store” where you received help from a retail clerk (some very knowledgeable). Or you made an appointment with a nutritionist (which we did) to determine what was the correct nutritional supplement program to be on. Now? You go on-line, go to a “big box” store or a chain supplement store like GNC and “wing it”! I can’t tell you how many clients show up for their appointment carrying grocery bags FULL of supplements!!!
The Wild West
In February 2015 New York’s Attorney General pulled seven popular herbal supplements from four major retailers off the shelves. They found up to 41 percent of the products tested did not contain DNA from the plant species listed on the label. How many more do you think are out there that would have similar results?
China is the largest exporter of products to the U.S., supplements and raw materials to make them included. The Chinese have cornered the commodities market for ingredients such as Vitamin C, B vitamins, stevia and xylitol. There is no FDA over-sight in the supplement industry. There are only label laws. What’s on the label must be in the product. This leaves it up to the manufacturer to guarantee potency and purity of the raw materials. How many are doing that? Americans spend 30 Billion a year on supplements, folks, this is BIG business!
Who Do You Trust?
So, we need to supplement but it’s the Wild West and a crap shoot to know which ones we need and who we trust, so what do we do? Of course you know where this is leading, work with a qualified health care professional who has brands of supplements that they have researched and feel confident to trust recommending them to their clients.
During the years prior to going back to school to get my certification in nutrition, I immersed myself in the study of nutrition by attending lectures and reading books (no internet back then). I had a fair amount of knowledge and I helped many people with making decisions on what products to use for their particular situation, so I’m not saying there are not people out there like myself that you could trust.
What I want to emphasize is that we need to supplement to increase our life-spans while also increasing our health spans. Just be wise in who you are receiving your information from and their knowledge of the products they are recommending.
Our world has drastically changed in the last fifty years. We have more air and water toxins as well as massive amounts of toxins coming in through the pesticides, herbicides and fungicides on our foods, stress is at an all time high, not to mention the electromagnetic fields we live in each day with cell phones, cell towers, computers, and wi-fi everywhere. If you want to increase your longevity and along with those years have energy, no chronic diseases and great cognitive function, then you will want to support your body nutritionally to the highest level possible!
To a long AND healthy life!