After 20+ years of experience in nutritional medicine, I have learned that the use of nutritional supplements can measurably improve human health and performance.
However, to maximize the benefits from any supplementation regime, you need to follow these four, simple steps:
1. Focus on Quality: Build Your Nutritional Foundation with Whole-Food Concentrates
The human body doesn’t recognize or utilize synthetic and/or isolated vitamins and minerals well because it has been genetically programmed to thrive on the nutrients found in real food—fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Unfortunately, the ever-declining quality of our food supply and on-the-go lifestyle make it difficult—if not impossible—to nourish our bodies properly.
The logical solution is to reach for a multi-vitamin. But most contain isolated, man-made vitamins and minerals. These chemical-based imitators contain none of the natural co-factors enhancing their absorption and effectiveness that whole-food concentrates have.
Which would you choose? A synthetic vitamin C supplement that has been shaped into a tablet with the use of non-nutritive—and often toxic—fillers and binding agents or an actual fresh orange?
Common sense says “Eat the orange!” and science would support that decision. When you look closely at its constituents, you begin to see that an orange contains much more than vitamin C; it contains over 170 health-enhancing phytonutrients (as well as 238 mg of potassium) that are completely lacking in not only synthetic vitamins, but refined and processed foods.
2. Seek Synergy: Use the Correct Combination of Nutrients.
The functional health of your body is driven by thousands of different physiological processes. As we mentioned in our post a few weeks ago, the strength and efficiency of these processes are, in turn, driven by four, core, physiological variables—vitamin D3, essential fatty acids, nitric oxide, and micronutrients like iron and magnesium—each working to support the efficacy of the others.
Just like a weak link can cause a chain to break, a deficiency in just one of these key nutrients can cause an entire system to fail. While the use of a vitamin D3 supplement is good, its benefits are exponentially increased when it is used in conjunction with omega 3 fatty acids and a broad-spectrum of micronutrients and antioxidants.
Recent research speaks to the importance of a specific micronutrient, magnesium, which is critical for vitamin D activity. So critical, in fact, that if your magnesium level is low, your body will not benefit fully from vitamin D3 supplementation—even if your vitamin D level is optimal. Results indicate that adults taking at least 100 mg of supplemental magnesium daily were 70 percent less likely to be deficient in vitamin D.
3. Strive for Consistency: Slow and Steady Wins the Race!
It doesn’t do your body—or your bank account—any good to have supplements sitting unused in the medicine cabinet or kitchen cupboard. Those who benefit most from nutritional supplementation have made a commitment to taking their foundational, food-based nutrients—and to taking them on a regular basis.
An important point to realize is that your restorative results are less dependent on what you do each day, but more upon the quality and quantity of nutrients you give your body over time. So while it’s a good habit to take your supplements daily, don’t worry if you miss taking your supplements for a day or two when work or travel gets in the way. When you miss a dose, simply double it up the next day (within dosage recommendations) and you’ll be right back on track.
4. Assess your progress: You can’t improve what you don’t measure.
To be successful in any endeavor, it’s important to master the basics first. In the case of nutritional supplements, your first priority is to optimize your vitamin D3, omega 3, nitric oxide and antioxidant levels. And using at-home assessments to measure and track your progress is absolutely essential. Without this quantifiable feedback, you will never know if the products you are using are effective or your dose is satisfying your body’s unique needs.
Want to learn even more about how to improve your performance and health via your nutrition?
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