Supplements

Supplements are a very controversial subject among diet and fitness “experts.” I have spent a lot of time reading about them and researching specifics, down to the basic science reports in many cases (i.e. clinical trials & studies).

My philosophy on the supplements I take, based on my own reading and research, and fairly educated opinion as an experienced physician with a strong science background is as follows. With each supplement I take (listed below) there is at least some credible science suggesting the benefit(s) I am looking for with each -AND- in each case there was no credible data (that I could) find that proved 1) they definitely do NOT help or 2) they are harmful. So, my own bottom line is that perhaps they help a little, perhaps more than a little, and either way they are doing me no harm.  Personally, I do think they help, and for me that is good enough.

What I take and why is listed below. Not everyone will want or need to take all of these. Also, keep in mind that many “experts” and “nutritional scientists” believe a healthy, well balanced diet gets you all the nutrition you need and supplements are a waste. I disagree, but you should know both sides and make your own call.

Supplements are NOT a substitute for a healthy and varied diet. They are what the name says, supplements!

  1. Multivitamin – Centrum Silver – 1 daily – I am “over 50” (thus the “Silver”). Even the experts generally agree that a good daily multivitamin is probably worthwhile as “nutritional insurance” – meaning to insure we ARE indeed getting all that we hope to be getting (and need to get) from a healthy diet.
  2. Calcium Citrate + Magnesium + Zinc – 500 mg – 2 tablets a day after supper.  Calcium for healthy bones & teeth. I am lactose intolerant so I cannot drink milk – the best source of calcium. Zinc is implicated in improved immune function, reduction in chronic fatigue, improved digestion, reduced appetite for salty and sweet (i.e. junk) foods. Magnesium is reported to reduce anxiety, help with insomnia, facilitate good digestion, relieve muscle aches and promote muscle recovery after exercise, and is necessary for heart health.
  3. Glucosamine HCl 1500 mg with MSM 1500 mg – 2 tablets a day after supper – both help repair and maintain healthy cartilage, joints & mobility as we age.
  4. Super B Complex with Electrolytes – 2 tablets a day after supper – B vitamins aid in protein and fat metabolism, healthy nervous system function and B1 (thiamine) boosts immunity and helps the body handle stress. They also have antioxidant benefits. Electrolytes are needed for everything, particularly in those exercising (and sweating) a lot and drinking a lot of water.
  5. L-Arginine 1000 mg – 2 tablets in the morning and 2 at night after supper. L-arginine is a “non-essential amino acid” but is very important to athletes and body builders who work out hard (tear down and rebuild muscle repeatedly). It has been implicated in improved vascular health, in muscle building and recovery and may help with blood flow to the heart.
  6. Vitamin E – 400 IU – 2 capsules a day after supper. Vitamin E helps balance and reduce some forms of cholesterol, is a free radical fighter (think super charged anti-oxidant), is good for healthy skin, vision and general hormonal balance.
  7. Baby aspirin – 81 mg – 1 tablet in the morning 3x a week. Low dose aspirin is believed to help prevent stroke and heart attacks. I think everyone over 45 should take baby aspirin. Do your own research though and talk to your physician.

What about protein supplements?

This is another very controversial topic among nutrition experts. Theoretically extra protein (as a supplement) is not needed if one ensures adequate protein intake – taking into account how hard a person is working their muscles. Generally, people focusing hard on strength training need to take in more protein relative to other calories. This is not always easy, particularly if avoiding red meat and other fatty meats.  Again, I think there is data showing a possible benefit to those who are really working out hard (strength training) and want to build more muscle and reduce recovery time between workouts.  I researched what is out there and the protein supplement I think has the most to offer and best science backing it is Invigor8.  It is expensive and I ONLY take it on the days I do heavy strength training routines. I take it right after working out. I do think it helps (me) with recovery time, and perhaps a little with building lean muscle mass.

Make This Easy!

Opening 7 or more bottles a day and counting out pills is frustrating and likely to lead to “skipping” doses at times when you are very busy. It is also a lot of bottles to carry around when traveling. Instead of doing this, I bought a one week “pill box” with large compartments from Amazon and once a week I sit at my desk and fill the daily compartments.  I take my prescription meds (Prilosec and Lisinopril) in the morning, and some ibuprofen most days. I also take the first two L-Arginine tablets in the morning. Late in the day after my evening meal, I take the remaining vitamins and supplements on a full stomach.

Bogner Pill Box Photo for Blog

 

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