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Dr. Mercola's Nutrition Plan
Dr. Mercola's Nutrition Plan
Level 1
Dr. Mercola's Nutrition Plan
Level 2

Supplements: The Top 5 Picks for Your Health

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Once you have incorporated the Essential 3 supplements in Level 1 into your routine, it’s time to enhance your health with these additional supplements: Astaxanthin and Whole Food Multivitamin Plus. These, along with the Essential 3, make up the “Core 5” supplements that can improve your health.

The Benefits of Astaxanthin

Obtained from the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis,astaxanthin is a powerful marine carotenoid that can cross the blood-brain and blood-retinal barriers, a feat that can’t be claimed by most antioxidants. Astaxanthin is also more powerful than vitamin C (65 times more), beta-carotene 954 times more), and vitamin E (14 times more).

What’s more, this antioxidant is very effective at neutralizing singlet oxygens that are made from a specific type ofoxidation caused by sunlight and various organic materials. Astaxanthin can weaken singlet oxygen molecules 550 times better than vitamin E and 77 times more than beta-carotene.

The benefits don’t stop there. Astaxanthin helps in supporting your eyes, brain, immune and cardiovascular systems and blood sugar levels and lowering risk for diseases linked to them. It can enhance your endurance, workout performance, and recovery as well.

This antioxidant also aids in healing spinal cord- and nervous system-related injuries, lessening inflammation from all causes, lowering oxidative damage to DNA, relieving indigestion and reflux, preventing sunburn, and protecting your body from radiation.

It can also potentially lower your risk of several types of cancer and prevent diseases such as pancreatitis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

Making the Most Out of Your Multivitamins

Statistics show that one-third of Americans today take multivitamins, with the number rising to about 40 percent among older Americans. This increase in multivitamin use has spurred debates tackling multivitamins’ usefulness. However, the latest research highlights is that multivitamins are actually beneficial for you.

Multivitamins have been shown to benefit your heart. A study, which followed 9,000 adults who took multivitamins for nearly two decades, showed a 35 percent lower risk of heart disease mortality recorded among women who took multivitamin-mineral supplements for at least three years. 

The study noted that this doesn’t prove cause-and-effect, since people who took multivitamins may have had a healthier lifestyle to begin with, and the other changes worked in combination to result in better health. Researchers also took note of the adults’ weight, blood pressure levels, blood sugar control, education, and alcohol use, but all things equal, this beneficial association remained

It’s important to know that multivitamins are a part of the solution, but are not THE solution. One proof that multivitamins aren’t quick fixes was that the lowered risk of illnesses was seen after about three years of regular multivitamin use.

Multivitamins can also help fill nutritional gaps, but don’t fool yourself into believing that they are a substitute for fresh and organic food. Instead, if you’re struggling with a poor diet, use them to ensure you receive important vitamins and minerals. There are 19 studies that support multivitamins’ benefits, and you can find the complete list in Dr. Andrew Saul’s article “NBC’s Vitamin Ignorance.” You can also watch my interview with him below:

Multivitamins also save on healthcare costs. A report by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) says that $11 billion could be saved each year by the U.S. healthcare system if people would take supplements for prevention.

According to the report, 75 percent of expenditures in the U.S. health care system go to treat preventable diseases, but only 3 percent of this amount is invested in disease prevention programs. You’ll still spend money, but the difference is you’ll be spending for prevention and not for treatment. For your health, it pays to think long term, and multivitamin use can help you do that.

The report highlighted that high-risk populations of people over age 55 could benefit from taking a multivitamin as it can help reduce their risk of heart disease, diabetes-related heart disease, age-related eye disease, and osteoporosis. One caveat: Men of all ages and post-menopausal women should choose a brand that does not include iron.

Multivitamins also have a clean record when compared to other preventative or treatment measures — zero cases of deaths all-in-all compared to vaccines and over-the-counter drugs. In the March 2013 GAO Dietary Supplements report, there were 1,080 adverse effects reports (AERs) sent to the FDA — a far cry from the 26,517 vaccine AERs and 526,527 prescription drug AERs recorded.

In fact, 106,000 hospitalized patients die yearly because of drugs that have been deemed “safe” and are properly prescribed and administered, while 2 million patients suffer other serious side effects (not including deaths and side effects from other medical errors).

The numbers do not lie. If you want to add more years to your life, start by making healthy food choices and complementing your diet with the right supplements.

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