Important Supplements to Consider
Fish oil is a very popular supplement and for good reason. Fish oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Hundreds of studies suggest that omega-3s may provide some benefits to a wide range of diseases: cancer, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease, ADHD, and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
What is it that makes omega 3 so special? Omega-3's reduce the inflammatory process that leads to many if not all of these chronic conditions. The issue is compounded by omega 6 fatty acids, which we all are getting more than enough of in our diets today. Diets low in fresh veggies and fish are usually high in omega-6s; diets high in crackers, cookies, and corn-fed beef. We consume at least 20 times more omega-6s than omega-3s. Optimally we are supposed to get closer to only 2 times more omega 6 than omega 3. Therefore an essential supplement to consider is fish oil. Note that there are certain conditions in which fish oil is not a good idea. High doses of fish oil might keep blood from clotting and can increase the chance of bleeding so if you are on blood thinners or have a clotting disorder, ask your doctor if it is safe to take fish oils. This is also the case if you have liver disease, or have bipolar disorder.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance similar to a vitamin. It is found in every cell of the body. Your body makes CoQ10, and your cells use it to produce energy from food. Your body needs it for cell growth and maintenance. It also functions as a powerful antioxidant, which protects the body from damage caused by harmful free radical molecules. CoQ10 is naturally present in small amounts in a wide variety of foods, but levels are particularly high in organ meats such as heart, kidney and liver as well as beef, soy oil, sardines, mackerel, and peanuts.
CoQ10 is known to be good for heart health. Several clinical studies suggest that CoQ10 may lower blood pressure. As well people with high cholesterol tend to have low CoQ10. (Although it has yet to be proven that low CoQ10 is the cause) There’s evidence that CoQ10 may help treat heart failure when combined with conventional medications. One clinical study found that people who took daily CoQ10 supplements within 3 days of a heart attack were less likely to have subsequent heart attacks and chest pain. They were also less likely to die of heart disease than those who did not take the supplements.
It is known that administration of the cholesterol-lowering drug class called 'statins' has been associated with a reduction in CoQ10 levels leaving people deficient. Sadly, most doctors prescribing statin drugs do not tend to mention this to there patients. There is some evidence that taking CoQ10 may reduce side effects of statins. Studies showed that CoQ10 decreased the muscle pain associated with statin treatment.
Note: in all of the above-mentioned conditions it is critically important that one must ask their doctor or cardiologist if it is safe for them to take CoQ10. It should not administered without supervision.
Supplements to Avoid
There are simply no legal fat burners that work. From carnitine to raspberry ketones to green coffee extract it just does not make a difference--- it does not really work to make a substantial weight loss change. They do “technically” work in that they do mildly enhance metabolism but does that translate into weight loss? No. The key to losing weight is to reduce stress, change to a healthier diet and exercise regularly. My advice is to see a Naturopath or Dietician who can help you learn to take a healthier lifestyle in order to significantly lose weight.
While everything we’ve covered so far has been for general health, there are a lot of supplements that work for very specific cases. For example, Tumeric can help with irritable bowel disease; Chastetree (Vitex agnus castus) can greatly alleviate PMS symptoms. Garlic helps lower cholesterol levels. These are a few supplements that have been clinically shown to be useful for specific conditions.
It would take hundreds of pages to go over every single health condition and describe useful supplements for each. (I know as I have several 500 page books like this in my office) I would suggest that if you have a specific condition and you would like to see if there something that can help to make an appointment with your local naturopath, herbalist or nutrition expert and see if they can suggest a supplement that is right for you.
Dr. Anders Nerman, N.D.
Dr. Anders Nerman, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor with an Integrative Family Medical practice in Wolfson Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israel. For more visit www.drnerman.com or call 972-54-427-8667.
Information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or adopting any treatment for a health problem.