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Healthy Aging Part 5, Choosing a Vitamin

Healthy Aging and Vitamins?

In our quest for healthy aging, prevention, and self-care we know we must at some point, add vitamins to our daily regiment. What to buy with so many options is the hard question. Vitamins are sold from gas station to grocery stores. We are inundated with adds on our social media.  With the health/supplement industry continuing to be one of the fastest growing business’s in our country it is no wonder we are in information overwhelm .  How do we sort through all of the choices and get the best vitamin/supplement for our needs? Is there a difference between more expensive and less expensive vitamins? I eat well, do I really need to take vitamins at all?  Answering these questions will make your next purchase a little easier.  So, here is my best advice on the subject.

Understand your need

In general, anyone over the age of 40 should be taking a multiple vitamin/mineral supplement.  Research has shown taking a good quality vitamin/mineral in your 20’s and 30’s can significantly improve your health over your whole life.  If you are over 40 and just now thinking about the addition, or you have been told by your doctor to take vitamins; here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Are you offsetting a nutrient deficiency due to a medication you are currently taking
  • Do you have osteopenia or osteoporosis
  • Are combating an auto-immune or environmental sensitivity or allergies
  • Do you have symptoms of a deficiency such as muscle cramps, itchy skin, bloating, low resistance to colds/flu.
  • Feeling tired, overwhelmed, or depressed?
  • Maybe you just want to stay healthy.

An answer to any of the above will help guide you in your search for the right vitamin.

Know your ingredients

Knowing your ingredients will help you choose good quality, bio-available supplements that meet your bodies needs.

Avoiding vitamins with fillers and preservatives is a good place to start.  Using a product in a vegetable cap or a gel cap will break down more quickly in the stomach when taken with food. The body will utilize them as a true supplement to the foods you are eating.  Using vitamins that are food sourced makes them more bio-available. Minerals that are food sourced (citrate, glycogen, malate) not a “carbonate” (rock sourced) will be easier for your body to use.  Minerals that have been chelated or use the “Albion” chelate will be more bio-available.  Using vitamins and minerals that include all of the elements and co-factors will allow your body better use.  Is the company GMP certified (Good Manufacturing Practice means the ingredients are tested to see if they match what is stated on the label).  Are your Omega fish oils assayed for for heavy metals and pesticides?

Trust your referral source

Are you totally confused at this point or feeling overwhelmed by the volumes of choices available?

If you do not have the time to do the research or become and expert on supplement ingredients it may be easiest and most cost effective to work with someone who has done the work.  Using a functional medicine practitioner who stays current on the science, can save you money by honing your supplemental needs.

3 facts you should be aware of when choosing a vitamin

  1. There are thousands of unethical companies selling expired, mislabeled, or mishandled natural products online. These unauthorized distributors even pose as the manufacturer so they can profit from people’s health challenges.
  2. Health is one of the fastest growing industries in America. Many companies are trying to benefit by selling low-quality products that don’t work – and may be harmful.
  3. The latest health fads sold online and in retail stores are not likely to help with your symptoms or underlying health issues. Most supplementation is a part of a program that depends on diet, exercise, and lifestyle to address health issues.
  4. Medication related deficiencies respond well to quality, consistent, supplementation.

A Few Drug Related Deficiencies

Here’s a few commonly used medications that contribute to nutrient depletion.

  • Oral contraceptives: lower vitamin C, folate, riboflavin, vitamin B6, B12, magnesium, selenium and tyrosine.
  • The Statins (Cholesterol medication): reduce CoQ10 levels.
  • Proton pump inhibitors(Heart burn/ GERD symptoms): lead to B12, C, calcium, iron and magnesium depletion.
  • Metformin:folic acid, B12, sodium, Co Q 10
  • Hydrocodone/Vicodin: glutathione selenium
  • Milk of Magnesium: folic acid, vitamin D, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc
  • Cipro (commonly used antibiotic used for urinary infections): biotin, inositol, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, 12, vitamin K, zinc, Bifidobacteria bifidum, Lactobacillus acidophilus.

This is a small list relating to medication.  Life, stress, and other health issues can also lead to deficiencies.  The foods we eat, even the organic foods can come to us with deficiencies.  Non organic foods contain pesticides, fungicides, and other chemicals and toxins that can lead to nutrient deficiencies. 

To recap: In today’s environment, we often need to supplement. Using clean, GMP certified, food sourced vitamins will give you the best results for your dollar.  These vitamins tend to be more expensive but when it comes to vitamins and minerals, you really do “get what you pay for”.  If you have health concerns or are on medication your long term health depends on replenishing them. Use this link for my trusted source of vitamins/minerals and supplements:

https://us.fullscript.com//welcome/slanzarotta  

I eat well,exercise and I have always taken my health seriously.  I still feel I need to add vitamins/minerals in order to pro-actively lead a healthy life today and support my own healthy aging of tomorrow.