Asked what the 3 best Food supplements are that we can take to enrich our diet and boost our health I generally ask who the supplements are for!
We Are All Individuals
People have very different needs; the person who eats a lot of fruit and vegetables is going to have different needs from someone who eats one piece of fruit every day or two.
Anyway let's play with this question and see where it takes us.
Say we have a limit of 3 supplements and they can be tablets, capsules or any other way of packaging the nutrient in question, where do we start?
I Start With Vitamin C
When I first started training in Nutrition I noticed that the amount of Vitamin C my fellow students took depended on how long they had been training!
Those new to the course took maybe around 500 mg or half a gram. Now this is a lot more than average and a lot more than the government advised dosage of around 100 mg or less, depending which country you lie in because each government has its own official policy.
Asked half way through the course they be taking 3,000 mg or 3 grams and further on in their training they may be approaching the daily dosage that Linus Pauling took for many years in his very long life – say 10,000 or 10 grams a day.
Let me just say that we were not being encouraged to take any particular amount but with vitamin C the more you learn about it the more of it you want to take!
What Vitamin C Does
The dozens of fabulous effects produced by ascorbate – the scientific name for the vitamin would take a whole book to describe so for that you may like to read this or that.
I'll do an article on Vitamin C and Health here on NaturalHealthAbundance which will go into a lot of the positive health effects but for now we'll just take 3 of them.
Which are its effect on the heart and circulation; its effect on bone and tissue strength and its ability to battle infections such as colds.
Let's start with the Heart!
Our heart is a pump that drives our blood through the whole body and brain. All of this system of tubes and tissues is made up like everything else in the body of collagen which strengthens the arteries and veins and protects them against damage.
Collagen is a kind of glue that strengthens muscles, tendons, bones and whatever tissue it is in.
The valves of the heart and the tubes to and from the heart are strengthened by strong collagen inside them.
Collagen is made stronger with more Vitamin C in your diet and supplements.
Nearly the whole body benefits when you have a healthy dose of vitamin C every day. I have mentioned various doses already – nowadays I generally take around 3 to 5 grams and will double that if I get a cold or need to for other reasons.
The kind of vitamin C I like and recommend is a mix of ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate and calcium ascorbate
The bone strengthening power of C is due to its long triple helix structure giving rigidity to the calcium and other minerals in the bones. As we consume more vitamin C we reinforce the collagen and the bone. In my view most people would help their bones more by taking less Calcium and more vitamin C.
And its' not just Collagen that gets a boost from C but our immune system too. Even better then that it acts against viruses which are not harmed by anti-biotics. Upping your normal dose of C will not give you total immunity against infection but does reduce your chances of catching a cold or other viral infection and will speed up your recovery.
D Comes After C
In the game of discovery that scientists play they often use the alphabet to label and put in order what they find. Our simple alphabet of a, b and c are used in the Greek version of alpha, beta and gamma to describe different types of radiation and in vitamins we have a, b and C too.
And after that they called the next vitamin that came along, vitamin D. Which was fine until someone realised that Vitamin D was not a vitamin at all but a hormone that had lain undiscovered.
But the name stuck – the popular name anyhow. There are different forms to most of the vitamins and so we have scientists coming up with Vitamin D1, D2 and D3. In fact D1 was found later to a mixture of 2 other things and for this reason it was dropped and not mentioned again just like a family scandal. Vitamin D2 is an artificial or synthetic form and vitamin D3 is the natural form and the only form I ever take or recommend.
So this is the only vitamin which is not a vitamin but really a hormone that is boosted by the sun. Anyone who works indoors an does not get much sunshine on their skin needs to take a Vitamin D supplement daily.
Vitamin D is another essential for us to enjoy good strong bones. We just looked at how vitamin C strengthens collagen the glue that holds the whole bone together well vitamin D is the other side of the equation because it increases Calcium absorption and its use in the bone.
Without enough vitamin D our bones weaken and warp, a disease called rickets
Traditional government advice is to limit supplements to 400 iu per day but recently this has been recognised as insufficient and the doe nowadays is 1000 iu.
In my view this advice is still insufficient and I'd recommend 3000 to 5000 iu as a basic dose with higher amounts needed in Winter.
Even more important than this essential use of vitamin D is its role in Cancer prevention. Researchers notice that population living further away from the Equator have more cancers and are consequently investigating using vitamin D to help us prevent the development of cancer.
There are so many options here that I could choose. Do I opt for my favourite mineral – the wonderfully relaxing Magnesium? Or the amazingly powerful zinc? Or the totally essential and often deficient Iodine?
Yes – I'm going for them all and using as an excuse the possibility of taking a high quality multivitamin and multimineral.
The list of minerals and vitamins that can be packed into a well formulated supplement "multi" is surprisingly long.
I have used various brands and versions over the years and the best I have discovered is the Life Extension "2 a Day" multi which they offer in either a tablet or capsule
So if asked again about which are the 3 best supplements to take I think we start from a good multi and then choose vitamins C and D as well. These vitamins will be included in the multi to be sure but not in the quantities we need.
If you have any suggestions about the best 3 supplements to take let me know in the Comment section below! Thanks.