Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Supplements du jour

Here's what I'm thinking about today: supplements. Exciting, huh? There are 20 billion supplements out there, roughly, and the same number of people and scientific studies that will tell you what to take, sort of, and they're all different and often conflicting.

People on low carb regimes are often low in potassium. Ok. And fiber... well, this seems to be up in the air. If you don't eat veg, then you're going to be low on fiber, and well, anyone who's switched from a grain based diet to a more heavily meat-based diet probably remembers that, in the beginning, a little extra fiber is probably a good thing. Plus there are studies suggesting that a lot of extra fiber before meals helps with weight loss and may reduce caloric absorbtion a little (see Jonny Bowden, Living the Low Carb Life, for a citation on this one). I don't see how you can go too wrong with this (unless you seriously overdo it). Michael's sensitive to colorants, and we both think that avoiding aspartame is a good thing, so that narrows the range a bit.

But then, what else? A multivitamin, and extra B5 and B6 and E and C and maybe D3 for heart, and fish oils (and maybe krill oil), and green tea, and things that support insulin sensitivity and the herbs of the month, and after you think about this and write it all down and try to find combined supplement so that you don't have to spend hours every month sorting the pills, and then you realize that you're doubling up on things, and you have to work that out, and your shopping cart is already up to $250 and you have a headache. What is the best supplement for headache?

I've tried to work this all out about 6 times now, and I keep giving up, and so we're still taking the collection of stuff that I buy at Wal-Mart (and what about drug quality?). A multivitamin. A lot of fish oil. Glucosamine and chondroitin for joints. Saw palmetto for Michael; prostate health. Iron for me, because I tend to be a little anemic. Ginseng if I have any.


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