This topic should be addressed like everything else in life, relying on intelligent reflection, interpreting what is available in the scientific literature and using common sense. These must be the pillars upon which decisions should be made. Moreover the topic is similar to all cycles that exist, such as the change in fashion so common in the clothing industry where periodically the shift is from narrow ties, to those so wide they can almost be used as shirts, lapels of jackets that are so narrow as to be almost invisible, to those almost covering the shoulders. The utilization of ingredients ingested, like fashion, is often an item of what is being promoted at any particular time by multi-media sources.
Additionally, the climate that dictates use varies according to regulations, public health department proclamations of appropriate dosages and the overwhelming influence of vested interests. Suppression of the knowledge-base and scientific research, unfortunately may govern the advisories that all too often are the promulgators of change.
The industry includes scientists, compounders, manufacturers, distributors, health food stores and pharmacies and they all have one item in common and that is that they all possess varying degrees of self-interest. In the final analysis, therefore, one makes the decision to ingest these compounds, quite often based on a variety of unsubstantiated guidelines. In the end your intuition, coupled with reliable evidence, are the components upon which you should be able to make the most appropriate decisions.
The reason that I am formulating this commentary is that tonight while driving home, I listened to a long-winded discussion on the radio “that stated that no one requires vitamins, minerals or supplements at all”. That may indeed be true but on the other hand all diets, no matter who concocted them, climactic factors, a sprinkling of scientific fact and again, that old common denominator “common sense”, do provide some valid facts and foundations.
Clear-cut evidence has been presented in the past that many areas, geographically speaking, are deficient in certain minerals, therefore small amounts of manganese, magnesium and zinc should be ingested 2-3 times per week, depending on your geographic location. No evidence exists that they are harmful and on balance, they probably extend life to a significant degree.
To summarize, no one has all the answers with regard to the indications for the utilization of vitamins, minerals and supplements. At the same time, a solid base of research indicates that Vitamins D, B-complex, Coenzyme Q-10, Vitamin C, lysine and omega oil should probably be utilized on a daily basis.
Now we come to the great dilemma – what else should we take?
Clearly in iodine deficient areas this substance should be added either to salt or several drops added to the daily fluid intake. Arginine, levo-citrulline, potassium and many other components have been recommended to limit or even promote the regression of atherosclerosis, particularly in the coronary arteries and there may be some significant benefit resulting from the ingestion of these compounds. Whereas the evidence is not conclusive, again, broad-based research provides some valid guidance with regard to the ingestion of these substances. In addition, many have recommended the use of lycopene, curcumin and acta-resveratrol for cancer prevention.
Conclusive evidence is not yet available supporting the ingestion of beta-carotene, folic acid, Vitamin A and a number of other vitamins to improve vision and prevent macular degenerative disease, however small amounts taken infrequently, perhaps 2-3 times per week, may bring some benefit without causing harm.
In summation, I can simply state that a well-balanced diet, consisting of organically grown fruits, vegetables, wild fish, lean meats, etc. should be the basis of a comprehensive diet. Portion control to avoid obesity should also be kept in mind, although on the diet suggested, this should not be a factor. Foods that are adulterated, processed and suffused with preservatives should be rigidly avoided, along with refined sugar, flour and most condiments.
At least one half hour daily of vigorous exercise is beneficial for the maintenance of the health of all tissues. Swimming, stretching and brisk walking on soft ground are certainly exercises that should be added to your wellness program. In addition, avoiding tobacco completely and ingesting alcohol in moderation are guidelines in the maintenance of good health.
Sufficient hours of sleep are beneficial, allowing tissues to recuperate and the body to eliminate toxins. Another significant factor, as scientifically documented by Hans Selye, is the tremendous importance of the avoidance of stress at all levels. Should you find it problematic to deal with stressful situations, resolve the condition or distance yourself from it. Either course is effective and highly recommended. Do not harbor or continue with stressful situations, as they are extremely detrimental to both your mental and physical status and detract significantly with regard to your longevity and quality of life.
Clearly there are no absolutes for what you should and shouldn’t do, however the above recommendations could extend your life by ten to thirty years. Some additional considerations might be gene typing to determine the probability of cancerous lesions developing, however, frequently it is better not to know.
Dietary recommendations vary from time to time. Whereas 15-20 years ago “fat was bad”, now some fats are good and highly recommended. Sugars appear to have taken the place of fats and are deemed correctly to be highly detrimental to good health. Glucose, which is known to be hidden in virtually all processed foods, may bind with proteins in the brain producing significant dysfunction of that organ and may be an etiological factor in the development of dementias, Parkinson’s and other dysfunctional neurological states.
Summary of Guidelines
1. Balanced Diet
2. Supplements, Minerals & Vitamins (as indicated)
3. Vigorous Exercise – 30 minute daily minimum
4. No Smoking
5. Moderate Ingestion of Alcohol
6. Eliminate Neurotoxins
7. Avoid Stress
8. Adequate Sleep for Revitalization
In conclusion I believe that these matters integrated into your individual daily programmes should prolong your life and again should be ingested with a modicum of “common sense”.