Did you know that more than 150 million Americans take a vitamin or dietary supplement daily? 64% of Americans take prescription drugs in addition to a vitamin/mineral supplement on a daily basis.
Improving our daily nutrition is very important but not everyone is well informed on the key facts about safe vitamin use or smart tips on how to choose a quality product. Many people forget to share their use of all vitamins, minerals, herbs and other over-the-counter (OTC) products with their health care provider. In addition, many health care providers don’t always ask their patients about dietary supplement use.
Good communication and open dialogue between health professionals and patients improves patient health and encourages a focus on important prevention.
Be sure your health care professional knows and writes down all dietary supplements you take, even if taken infrequently. Write them down before your appointment and bring the list with you. The list should contain the supplement name, brand name, dosage and how long you have been taking the supplement.
Some dietary supplements interfere with prescription and over-the-counter drugs so it is important to provide information about dosage and frequency of use.
When visiting your health care provider, remember to ask them about your prescription medicine and nutrient deficiencies. Certain prescription medications can deplete essential nutrients in your body. Ask your provider how you can compensate.
Be sure to discuss lifestyle changes. Are you on a diet? Do you eat smaller or irregular meals? Do you smoke or drink alcohol? If so, you may be missing certain nutrients that are a necessary part of a healthy diet, such as iron, B-12, calcium and more. Discuss with your provider which vitamins may help fill the nutritional gaps in your diet.
Make sure to educate yourself. It is important to use reliable, scientifically sound information on dietary supplements for your health decisions. Talk with your health care provider and get their ideas.
Always choose a quality supplement. The quality is just as important as the type of product you take. Consider the following when selecting a brand:
• Is the product from a reputable manufacturer? If in doubt, ask your provider to recommend a reliable brand that carries the USP mark.
• Does the manufacturer have a toll-free number and website where you can get information from qualified professionals and ask questions?
• Does the label make claims that seem too good too be true? Use caution.
Know about safe supplement tips. Read the label and follow the dosage instructions carefully. Always look for warning statements, paying special attention if you take prescription medication, are pregnant or lactating, have allergies or any pre-existing conditions. When purchasing vitamins, choose a quality product and look for the USP mark.
For optimal health choices, open and accurate communication is the key.
Anti-aging medicine is a relatively new medical specialty. Lets examine the philosophy and treatment approach of anti-aging medicine toward the aging process.
Old age is usually viewed as inevitable with all of its typical infirmities. Medical treatment usually focuses on the symptoms of age related disease once it’s established. Anti-aging medicine, on the other hand, looks to detect and treat the presence of damaging biochemical conditions or deficiencies, which promote and accelerate aging prematurely with the idea extending optimal health and function through the aging transition.
Anti-aging medicine does not accept the premise that spiraling downward deterioration of our bodies is a certainty with advancing age. Keeping memory sharp, sustaining major organ function at youthful levels, maintaining a high level of energy and mobility and avoiding excessive weight gain and loss of sexual function are believed to be possible under the anti-aging rubric.
While the aging process is considered to be genetically determined and therefore inevitable by allopathic medicine, anti-aging medicine holds that genes may “load” the aging gun, but modifiable events and circumstances actually pull the “aging” trigger. Inflammation, oxidative stress and hormone deficiency are the key aging factors and these can be assessed and treated by cutting edged tests and novel therapies.
Excessive body burden of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the form of peroxides or free radicals can slowly and progressively damage the body’s tissues at the cellular level. Oxidative stress also causes the accumulation of oxidative damage to important biological macromolecules such as DNA, lipids, and proteins that result in functional deterioration of the cell. Research has revealed that Increased longevity is usually associated with increased resistance to oxidative stress. Important antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene and Co-enzyme Q are commonly used in anti-aging medicine
Microscopic inflammation of tissues, sometimes referred to as inflamm-aging “, is another process, often without obvious symptoms, which can now be detected by such tests as CRP, IL-2, and other biologic inflammation markers.
Elevated blood sugar causes a special form of oxidative stress and inflammation know as ‘glycation” where critical proteins and enzymes are denatured leading to organ, tissue and cellular damage. Glycation and its treatment through proper blood sugar control are followed in diabetics by the Hemoglobin A1C test.
Conditions such as cancer, heart and cardiovascular disease, hypertension stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, emotional dysfunction, diabetes osteoporosis, cataracts, arthritis, obesity, immune deficiency and organ function deterioration are all associated with inflammation and oxidative stress.
Detection and treatment of hormone deficiency is also a critical anti-aging endeavor. It is commonly believed that our hormones decline as we age. Anti-aging medicine operates on the premise that we age because our hormones decline and recommends hormone replacement as a central anti-aging therapy.
Treatments utilized in anti-aging medicine focus on detection and correction of inflammation, excess oxidative stress, elevated glycation levels, and hormonal deficiency. This is accomplished by using cutting edge testing, prescription of needed high quality supplements, reducing stress, promoting brain health, assuring proper digestive functioning, emphasizing anti-inflammatory nutrition, prescribing exercise and performing bolstering body detoxification capacity. The American Academy of Restorative and Anti-aging Medicine (A4M) www.worldhealth.net is an excellent resource for information on where to locate an anti-aging doctor.
The problem of persistent soft tissue pain is a sticky one. Pain that is localized to a shoulder or hip may be caused by arthritis or tendonitis, but generalized pain is different. When all the muscles seem to be sore, and the patient is also tired, the common diagnosis is fibromyalgia. However, there is increasing awareness in the medical and lay community that widespread muscle pain and fatigue may be caused by other medical conditions.
One of these conditions, currently the object of a great deal of interest, is vitamin D deficiency. It has been found to be widespread and very common among those persons with musculoskeletal pain. It has been found to affect as many as 80% of persons with chronic musculoskeletal pain.
Vitamin D deficiency leads to muscle wasting and weakness, in addition to osteoporosis. Persons with low vitamin D have muscle pain as well as bone or joint pain. Vitamin D deficiency has also been found to increase the likelihood of falling and fracturing bones. Replacement of vitamin D in vitamin D deficient persons has been shown to reduce muscle pain, increase strength and endurance, and to reduce falls in the elderly.
Exposure of the arms and the face to summer sunlight for as little as 15-20 minutes a day will supply all the vitamin D that is needed. However, when the sun is lower in the sky, as it is in the winter, or we are covered up or wear sunscreen, skin does not make vitamin D. As we age, our skin is less able to make vitamin D. In winter we rely on vitamin D taken by mouth to provide us with this essential vitamin. Persons who are protected from sunlight also rely on oral vitamin D. Getting adequate vitamin D from the diet usually means taking a supplement. Again, as we age, we are less able to absorb vitamin D.
The diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency is made by a simple blood test. Treatment is straight forward. It is accomplished by taking vitamin D supplements by mouth. For persons with very low levels of vitamin D, prescription high-dose supplements are available. Persons who have had calcium containing kidney stones must be treated carefully to avoid developing more kidney stones. Improvement is usually felt within two months. This is a condition that is common, is easily treated, and should be considered in every person with widespread muscle pain.