I’ve been taking vitamins since I was a kid. I never really thought about what the pills were actually doing for me until I was an adult and the conversation about supplementation became something people were actively pursuing.
I remember when I really started to focus on what I was eating, my blood pressure, my cholesterol and just my overall health. When it became evident (doctor’s orders) to take more calcium, or vitamin C or even folic acid when I was pregnant, I started to take a look at what supplements were on the market and which ones were the best.
Jamie McManus, M.D., FAAFP CHAIRMAN, MEDICAL AFFAIRS, HEALTH SCIENCES AND EDUCATION, has a lot to say when it comes to supplements because she has always approached health care from a position of prevention……
“I have found that when people are empowered with information and inspired into action–dramatic improvements in health and physical function can occur as well as actual reversal or improvement in disease states.”
Dr McManus talks about three primary ways to utilize supplementation.
- The first way is to utilize supplements as a way to assure that your diet is replete with all essential nutrients that are scientifically validated, with the understanding and acceptance that the majority of Americans are NOT even reaching minimums of nutrition via their food intake. Dr. Gladys Block of UC Berkeley School of Public Health states that surveys confirm that American adults consume less than 2 servings of fruits and vegetables per day–certainly far less than the Institute of Medicine’s most recent recommendation of 7 servings for women and 9 servings for men.
- The second way is to utilize supplementation to actually treat certain specific conditions—usually in an integrative fashion along with more traditional therapies. For instance, supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to decrease the amount of lithium needed for treatment of bipolar disorder.
- The third way to utilize supplementation is to assist in weight loss. Scientifically advanced, clinically validated weight management programs are something that you definitely need to discuss with your doctor but supplements can help in reducing cravings and filling in the nutritional gaps that make us reach for less than nutritious snacks.
Dr McManus recommends educating yourself on the benefits of nutritional and herbal supplements. Talk to your doctor to determine what nutrients you might be missing and supplement where necessary.