Intermediate Plan: Supplements
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Dr. Mercola's Nutrition Plan
Lesson 1: Increase the beneficial bacteria in your diet.
Maintaining a healthy gut flora and following sound dietary principles are the best ways, I’ve found, to promote optimal health One of the most profound health strategies you can implement would be to optimize your gut flora. Eliminating sugars, grains and processed foods is a powerful first step in this process Removing sugars will help increase beneficial bacteria and decrease pathogenic ones.
Did you know that 90 percent of the genetic material in your body is not yours? It is from the bacteria that are primarily living in your gut. There are about 100 trillion bacteria in your gut and you only have 10 trillion of your cells, so collectively they outnumber you 10 to 1. These bacteria provide a large number of incredibly important benefits such as:
- Optimizing your immune system and helps you resist infections
- Helping you digest your food
- Help detoxify heavy metals and chemical you have been exposed to
- Important source of B vitamins and vitamin K2
- Balances your nervous system and is an important source of neurotransmitters
Probiotics are good bacteria; the essential inhabitants of your gut that help to control the yeast and bad bacteria that also coexist in your gut. They’re also crucial for proper digestion of food and absorption of nutrients.
While a high potency probiotics was recommended in the beginning stage, at this point in the program I strongly advise switching over to fermented foods, like fermented vegetables, You can purchase these (just make sure they’re traditionally fermented and NOT pasteurized), or better yet you can easily and inexpensively make your own and save loads of money by preparing your own.. The following video explains the basics.
With beneficial bacteria it is in many cases a numbers game. Two high potency probiotic capsules can supply about 100 billion organisms. However if you take those two capsules and properly ferment a quart of vegetables as discussed in the video above, then you can massively increase the numbers and get about one hundred times the amount. So a typical 2-3 ounce serving can provide up to 10 TRILLION bacteria or about 10 percent of the entire bacteria population in your gut!
When starting fermented foods however it is best to start very slowly, like one half teaspoon a day and gradually working up to several ounces a day over 1-2 weeks depending on your tolerance. Some people will pass gas during the adjustment period but this is a temporary response.
Lesson 2: You can use supplements to help relieve irregular bowel movements.
Bowel movements aren't necessarily the most pleasant things to think about, but it's healthy to have two to three bowel movements a day. Ideally, they should be effortless, odorless and not sink to the bottom of your toilet bowl.
- Flaxseeds: My first choice would be organic psyllium. You can also use freshly ground organic flaxseeds. You can take one to six tablespoons per day. Psyllium and flax have water-soluble fibers, which are very effective at relieving constipation. Additionally, flax is a food and a source of beneficial omega-3 fats.
- Magnesium: This can be helpful to temporarily restore a healthy frequency of bowel movements. Start your dose at one 500 mg tablet or capsule twice a day. Malate is the preferred form, but glycinate and citrate also work quite nicely. You can increase this to four tablets twice a day (two grams) if necessary. You can go up to eight per day in divided doses for severe cases. Diarrhea is the only side effect of magnesium, and you can easily reduce the dose if this occurs.
It's important not to use magnesium on a long-term basis, as it will cause imbalances in the calcium/magnesium ratio in your body. If the magnesium does not work, you can use Aloe Vera capsules instead. However using the fermented vegetables will radically improve bowel movements in the majority of people using them.
Lesson 3: Use vitamin E to maximize the benefits of fish oil and vitamin C to help with stress or the effects of heavy exercise.
You may want to consider taking vitamin E (400 units a day) as this will help protect the omega-3 oils from being oxidized once you consume them. You might want to also consider vitamin C, especially around times of heavy exercise or stress.
Please beware that not all vitamin E is equal. Many do not know that the term “vitamin E” actually refers to a family of at least eight fat-soluble antioxidant compounds, divided into two groups of molecules: tocopherols (which are considered the “true” vitamin E) and tocotrienols. Each of the tocopherol and tocotrienol subfamilies contains four different forms: Alpha-, Beta-, Gamma-, and Delta-. Each one of these subgroups has its own unique biological effects.
Ideally, vitamin E should be consumed in the broader family of mixed natural tocopherols and tocotrienols, (also referred to as full-spectrum vitamin E) to get the maximum benefits. Unfortunately, the vitamin E most often referred to and sold in most stores is a synthetic form of the vitamin, which really should NOT be used if you want to reap any of its health benefits.
You can tell what you’re buying by carefully reading the label. Natural vitamin E is always listed as the “d-“ form (d-alpha-tocopherol, d-beta-tocopherol, etc.). Synthetic vitamin E is listed as “dl-“ forms.
Your body can easily distinguish between natural and synthetic vitamins, and natural vitamin E is between two and three times as bioactive as the same amount of synthetic vitamin E.
If you are consuming one pound of vegetables for every 50 pounds of body weight, you will receive a large variety of antioxidants from the vegetables so it's not as important to take a vitamin E supplement.
You might want to also consider vitamin C, especially around times of heavy exercise or stress. When using vitamin C, it is important to remember that it is a water-soluble vitamin and ideally should be taken at least three times a day. If you are highly sensitive to vitamin C you may experience diarrhea. If that happens, simply lower your dosage.
Lesson 4: Consider astaxanthin to boost overall health and enhance exercise performance
I know it is a mouthful to say, but astaxanthin has recently jumped to the front of the line in terms of its status as an antioxidant "supernutrient," becoming the focus of a large and growing number of peer-reviewed scientific studies. Natural astaxanthin is produced only by the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis when its water supply dries up, forcing it to protect itself from ultraviolet radiation.
If you ever wondered what caused pink flamingos to be pink, it is astaxanthin. There are only two main sources of natural astaxanthin—the microalgae that produce it, and the sea creatures that consume the algae (such as salmon, shellfish, and krill).
Astaxanthin, while of the carotenoids family, is FAR more potent than beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, lycopene and lutein, other members of this chemical family. It exhibits VERY STRONG free radical scavenging activity and protects your cells, organs and body tissues from oxidative damage.
It’s unique "antioxidative artillery" provides for an impressive array of health benefits, including:
It can even help protect you from sunburn by acting as an internal sunscreen, and due to its ability to reduce DNA damage from radiation, it can be useful for frequent travelers, and/or if you need to have medical imaging done. To learn more, please follow the hyperlinks provided, and listen to the following interview with Dr. Robert Corish.
Dosing Recommendations to Give Your Health a Turbo Boost
One of the reasons I am such a fan of krill is that it naturally contains astaxanthin, which helps protects it highly perishable omega-3 fats from oxidation. However, new research suggests you could enjoy even MORE benefits by further increasing your astaxanthin, even if you are already taking a krill oil supplement. There have been no adverse reactions found for people taking astaxanthin. It is very safe and non-toxic.
If you decide to give astaxanthin a try, I recommend starting with 4 mg per day. You can increase the dose to 8-10 mg if you want to use it for athletic performance or some of the other anti-inflammatory or eye benefits.
Lesson 5: Ubiquinol (CoQ10) can benefit your health even if you're not taking a statin drug
As you age, you progressively lose the ability to make the vitally important antioxidant, the reduced form of coenzyme Q10, called Ubiquinol. This is absolutely critical to protect your mitochondria and allow them to make ATP to give you the energy you need to not feel fatigued. Ubiquinol is an important stabilizer and can help counteract mitochondrial toxicity.
Your mitochondria are little organelles—found in the cytoplasm of the cell—inside of which energy is formed. This energy is called adenosine triphosphate or ATP. Without ATP, the cell dies. Toxic exposure can cause mitochondrial dysfunction, and once the mitochondria dies, you get tissue impairment, followed by pathology.
There are also many experts in aging that believe optimizing your mitochondria are one of the most powerful strategies you can have to extend your life. There is certainly overwhelming animal studies that suggest this. Since there is virtually no toxicity from Ubiquinol, because your body naturally makes it, it is one of the few supplements that I take every day as an adjunct to a healthy lifestyle.
Additionally, one in four Americans over the age of 45 are currently taking a statin drug. Unfortunately, few are aware of the need to take coenzyme Q10 along with it, to buffer against some of the most devastating side effects of the drug. If you're taking a statin drug, you MUST take Coenzyme Q10 as a supplement. Statin users need at least 100 milligrams (mg), preferably 200 mg, of high-quality CoQ10 or ubiquinol daily. You cannot get enough of it through your diet.
Most of us are exposed to a number of mitochondrial toxins, such as insecticides, pesticides, mercury and other heavy metals, radiation and EMF. Ubiquinol can be an important resource to help reduce the toxicity from these exposures. To learn more, listen to the following interview with Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a board certified cardiologist, and a prominent expert in the field of natural cardiology . Interestingly, surveys of cardiologists, asking them which supplement they would take, shows that the majority would use Ubiquinol as they are familiar with its profound benefits on cardiac health.
If you're not on a statin drug, the amount of CoQ10 or ubiquinol you might need depends on how sick you are. The sicker you are, the more you need. As a general guideline if you're not ill, Dr. Sinatra suggests taking 50-100 mg per day. If you're over the age of 70, double that dose, or up to 200 mg per day. This is because your natural CoQ10 levels begin to drop after the age of 40, and by the age of 70, levels begin to precipitously drop.
Ideally, you'll want to split the dose up to two or three times a day, rather than taking it all at once, as this will result in higher blood levels. Other dosing guidelines include:
|Hypertension 200 mg/day
||World class athletes who need extra ATP turnover, 300-600 mg/day
||Heart transplant or severe CHF, 300-600 mg/day in divided doses
|Arrhythmia 200 mg/day
||Typical athlete 100-300 mg/day
||Mitral valve prolapse, a combination of 400 mg magnesium and 100-200 mg of CoQ10