So, here’s a blog I haven’t written before.
Why haven’t I written on this subject before?
Mostly because I worked for a global supplement company for almost 15 years. You won’t see their name here, or that of any other supplement brand. I want to talk about the concept, not shill or trash a particular line of products. Do I have opinions? Oh yes I do. I spent enough time researching the subject, so the opinions are there. But no, I just want to lay out, naked for the world to see, my observations, learnings & opinions on the matter. And that is all I have that will be laid out, naked, for the world to see.
Trust me. You would thank me for that, but I digress…
To me, the concept is very simple. Your body runs on fuel. Macronutrients like carbs, fats & proteins. Deprive your body of any one of them and you , well, die. It’s that simple. Yes, carb-haters, you DO need carbohydrates. they are a necessary source of energy.
Don’t get me started.
Anyway, you also need micronutrients. Micronutrients are nutrients that are required by the body in lesser amounts for its growth and development. They play a major role in the metabolic activities of the body. These include, but are not limited to vitamins and minerals. Since our body cannot produce vitamins and minerals, they are taken externally from different food products.
Also, there are nutrients which come from plants, or phytonutrients. Boron Zinc , Manganese, Iron, Copper, Molybdenum and Chlorine are some of the important micronutrients in plants. Lack of any of these nutrients affects growth and development. Deficiencies in these can also lead to anemia, osteoporosis, impaired vision, cognitive impairment and host of other issues. There are a lot, and I mean a LOT, of other phytonutrients present in plants, the benefits of which are still being discovered and quantified.
Boy, that got really deep really fast, didn’t it.
My point being, there are a long list of “stuff” that contributes toward the efficient running, care & maintenance of our body. And that body of knowledge is growing and changing on a regular basis.
How to keep up? How to give your body what it needs and keep it humming as you hit 40, 50, 60 , 70 etc…?
Option 1. Forget it. Eat, drink & smoke what you want. We’re here for a good time, not a long time.
– OK, It’s a valid choice and I’m not joking. If you think that all this fitness, wellness, healthy aging thing is a racket and you just wanna run the car til the wheels fall off, go to it. Just know that statistically, your wheels are gonna fall off sooner, the paint’s gonna rust and the engine gonna blow. Stop changing your tires & your oil. See how that works. But again, it’s a valid choice.
Option 2- Eat a perfect diet. Do the research on what foods constitute a perfect combination of macronutrients, micronutrients and phytonutrients. Buy those food items. Prepare them with an eye toward preserving those nutrients (as opposed to worrying about things like taste and umami) Eat them. Every day. Day after day after day after….. Well, you get the point.
Option 3 – Eat a reasonably good diet. Try to get fruits & vegetables into your daily regimen. 5 servings a day would be a good start. Maybe a few less deep fried foods, a little less red meat. Nothing crazy. It’s not about squeezing every last bit of happiness from your life. It’s about, and I really don’t like this term, but it’s the truth, MODERATION.
And then, to fill in the gaps in your diet, those nutrients (I’m gonna just call them “nutrients” from here on out , OK?). that you aren’t getting from your food itself, take a supplement, or supplements.
And I’m not talking about taking them instead of food, OK? It’s right there in the word. “Supplement”, not “Substitute”. No tablet, gummy or smoothie will make up for a crap diet, OK?
Quick story. I was on a speaking tour with a world class sprinter who repped our brand. I was kinda his opening act, if you will. He was asked about his diet and said “ Oh, I eat whatever I want. A lot of McDonald’s….Oh, but I take (Brand) vitamins so it’s alright”
So what to take? What brand, what types of supplements, etc?
This is where it gets tricky.
I’m lucky. I had to do research as part of my job. I had to talk to, and listen in on presentations from all kinds of people with letters after their name. Doctors, scientists, etc. I know the brand I repped, and still take, are legit. I’ve done my homework on what I need, or think I need , as I get older.For example, I’ve had my G.P. recommend that I take more Vitamin. D, so I take a D supplement. Pretty simple, huh?
One of the challenges is that the FDA does not have the authority to approve dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness, or to approve their labeling, before the supplements are sold to the public.. They do periodically inspects dietary supplement manufacturing facilities to verify companies are meeting applicable manufacturing and labeling requirements. they also review product labels and websites, to ensure products are appropriately labeled and that they do not include claims that may render the products drugs (e.g., claims to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent diseases). But honestly, it’s still a little bit of the wild west out there. Unsubstantiated claims abound ( Former baseball players winking at the camera because “she’ll like it too”). And are some supplements expensive? Heck yes they are. But, as I saw in an ad about socks ( socks, for Chrissakes) they said “They’re not cheap, because they’re not cheap.”
So, like many things in life, you gotta do your research. It’s your body. It’s your money. Do your homework people.
Bottom line is;
Yes, I believe that a good diet, activity and supplementation add years to your life and, more importantly to me, life to your years.
You gotta make your own choices. Maybe some of this will help.