Good Supplements – Filling in the Gaps

iStock_000004424358XSmallLast Tuesday, I wrote a bit about the dangers of bad supplements, and how they can do a lot more damage than good. Things like carbohydrate blockers, unregulated testosterone boosters, and too many vitamins can cause harm to the way your body functions. Many don’t measure up to the outrageous claims made on late night tv commercials.

Many supplements can do damage, but that doesn’t mean all supplements deserve a bad rap. In fact, many supplements on the market can do a lot of good, depending on what your body needs and your diet might be lacking.

There are plenty of supplements in the market that are perfectly healthy, when taken in moderation and with the full knowledge of what you’re putting in your body. I could write a book about all the good supplements out there, but lets take a brief look at some of the well known supplements out there:

Whey Protein – When I bring up protein mixes, a lot of people initially think I’m trying to turn them into a muscle head or a body builder. Having extra protein in your diet isn’t going to automatically give you bulging muscles, but what it can do is help preserve your muscles after exercising.

Whey Protein is a great source of Branch Chain Amino Acids, or BCAAs. These proteins reduce the amount of protein breakdown in your muscles. This means your muscles are going to recover faster after a workout, and promote muscle growth.

There are many, many different types of whey protein out on the market. There are even many types of protein mixtures other than whey you can use. I typically do not pay attention to the label as much as I do the nutritional information. Since it’s a protein mixture, I tend to choose mixtures that are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates.

Vitamin C – This particular vitamin has many uses throughout your body. From fighting colds to reducing pollutants, curing infections to promoting better blood flow, Vitamin C goes a long way to promoting healthy bodily function.

So how much is enough Vitamin C? As I wrote before, having too many vitamins can be a bad thing, but one to three grams of Vitamin C per day can go a long way toward promoting healthy body functions.

Green leafy vegetables and fruits like oranges and kiwis are very high in Vitamin C, and are a great natural source of the vitamin.

Fish Oil – This is a generalized supplement, but fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes healthy body function when paired with omega-6 acids. Because the common diet of red meats and eggs contain many omega-6 acids but not as many omega-3s, having a healthy boost of omega-3 acids can reduce the risk of diabetes, reduce plaque buildup in the arteries, and even reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Again, supplements should not be taken in excess, as fish oil can also raise levels of cholesterol. But when taken in moderation, the omega-3s found in this oil can be very beneficial.

Of course, the big question comes to mind: do I need to take these supplements? And the answer is of course not! Supplements do nothing but add nutrients to your body that you might not normally get in your everyday diet. There are no miracle cures that will automatically give you the body of Wonderwoman. But what supplements can do is fill in a few gaps you might have in your every day diet. They won’t do the hard work for you, but it might give you a little extra help.

No matter what though, make sure you talk to your doctor before you start taking supplements of any kind. And be sure to talk to me about any supplements you might be considering! I am happy to share my two cents on any and all supplements out there.

Bad Supplements – Causing More Problems Than Solutions.

iStock_000005673431XSmallHave you ever seen those late night TV ads that tell you “Lose weight quickly with this easy pill”? They always have the animated shot of fat disappearing, the bogus infographics, and the customer reaction shots telling you that this pill works. Some ads even get someone dressed as a doctor on the screen telling you they recommend it for all of their patients. And it’s for the low low low cost of four payments of $29.99!

What a deal, right?

I cannot help but laugh when I see these commercials, but it worries me that so many people take these commercials for truth. People want to lose weight, but they don’t think they are capable of the hard work that is involved. Other people not only want to lose weight, but gain tons of muscle mass in a short amount of time. They want to believe in the miracle pill that can solve all of their problems.

If you know me, you know what I’m going to say next: there are no short cuts to fitness. While we might be able to cut corners in other parts of our lives, you get exactly what you put in to your personal fitness regime.

Some body builders use steroids and testosterone boosters to help themselves build muscle mass, but please do not confuse that with fitness. That’s unnatural body building, and while they might look good on the surface, there are always side effects.

Take a look at some of the worst offenders in the world of bad supplements that I have seen:

Unregulated Carbohydrate Blockers – Carb Blockers keeps Amylase, a natural chemical that helps your body digest carbs, from doing its job. As a result, carbs will pass through your body without being absorbed. While prescription carbohydrate blockers are safe and effective at their job, unregulated carb blockers sometimes have unlisted ingredients that can cause harm to your body. On top of that, you don’t necessarily want your body to stop absorbing carbs, since carbohydrates are a natural form of energy your body needs.

Testosterone Boosters – These boosters can be safe when prescribed by a doctor, but I have seen many “miracle pills” out there that claim they can boost your testosterone levels, giving you more energy, zeal, and muscle mass. In the end, these pills are more dangerous than they are helpful. Testosterone boosters can raise blood pressure, elevate blood cell counts leading to blood clots, and even liver damage.

Believe it or not, many doctors posit that simple lifestyle changes, like regular visits to the gym and a change in diet, can give you the kind of boost that testosterone treatment claim to give you.

Too Many Vitamins – Many of us take a multivitamin pill every day. After all, we want to get a natural amount of vitamins in our system, right? It turns out, there is truth to the idea of too much of a good thing. Getting an overdose of vitamin C, for example, could lead to nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Having too many vitamins can be just as bad as not getting enough.

Even if you’re taking regular doses of vitamins, it’s important to be aware that many multivitamins on the market include fillers that make the pill more appealing. This can include hydrogenated oils, artifical colors, and other fillers that are unhealthy at high levels. Make sure you check what’s really in your multivitamin before you take them.

Please, before you do anything else, talk to your doctor about using these “as seen on TV” drugs and miracle cures. These scams are worse than sugar pills; they will change your body chemistry and lead to more problems than solutions.

Want an anti-aging supplement? Think CoQ10!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not only baby boomers that are seeking the fountain of youth and yearning for a way to turn back the clock on aging. There are a lot of products on the market that promise to help fight aging. You have probably seen plenty of them and wondered if they were worth the high dollar associated with them. Most people are not aware that there is a supplement called CoQ10 that has been found to be effective for anti-aging. And it’s something that will leave you money to still go out to breakfast!

CoQ10 is a supplement that is increasingly becoming popular because of the variety of heart health and other benefits that it provides. But researchers have also found that CoQ10 is effective in fighting free radicals, which are the major factors causing our body’s cells to age. CoQ10 also helps to keep Vitamin E levels up, which is important because Vitamin E is also an important antioxidant that will help with anti-aging.

So just how do you go about getting CoQ10 into your daily life? For starters, it is available in a lot of foods, such as fish, spinach, broccoli, and whole grains. Problem is, however, in order for you to get the CoQ10 benefits, the foods have to be raw and unprocessed. Most people tend to cook most of their foods, so it makes it a bit more difficult to get that extra CoQ10 into your body.

The good news is that you can take a CoQ10 supplement to get what you need in helping with the anti-aging process. Keep in mind that statins (medications that lower cholesterol levels), can block your body’s ability to make CoQ10, so it’s an especially good idea to take a supplement if you are on a statin. It is also believed that CoQ10 is effective in helping those on statins to have more energy and less muscle cramping.

If you want to start the anti-aging process by adding CoQ10 to your life, aim to get 100 to 200 mg per day. Staying within that amount seems to be what most experts recommend. And if you have a choice when you buy them, opt for the ubiquinol version, which is better absorbed by the body.

You may be a baby boomer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something for effective anti-aging. Because CoQ10 has been shown to be an all-around healthy supplement and will help keep your cells young, it makes an ideal option. CoQ10 just may be the golden ticket that helps you see great results!

 

Why You Can’t Trust Your Health to the Lowest Bidder – How to Pick a Multi-Vitamin

Millions of baby boomers around the country take a daily vitamin. Multi-vitamins have become popular, and the store shelves are full of all the different varieties available. Being a personal trainer, my clients often ask me about what multi-vitamin they should take or if they should even take any at all. The more you know about multi-vitamins before you choose one, the better off you will be!

A multi-vitamin is taken by so many people just as an added measure to try to make sure that they get all their nutrients. If you eat a well balanced, healthy diet, there is a good chance you don’t even need one to begin with. Yet many people, especially senior citizens, take one just as insurance in case they don’t get all the nutrients they need through their diet. So just how do you go about choosing the right one?

First off, it is important to realize that price has absolutely nothing to do with how good or bad a multi-vitamin is. There have been plenty of tests performed that have demonstrated that many expensive vitamins don’t even dissolve in the body as they should, and many cheap ones don’t perform well either. The cost of the vitamin should not be a factor, other than to make sure you can afford it.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing a multi-vitamin:

Check the label to see what nutrients are being offered. Of course, this can be confusing in and of itself. But you want to make sure it has folic acid (400 micrograms at least). Folic acid is important for new cells in the body.
You should probably avoid taking multi-vitamins with iron, which can be hard on the stomach and can sometimes cause constipation.

If you don’t live in a sunny climate, you will want to make sure it has vitamin D in it. Those who live in areas where they can get at least 15 minutes of sun exposure per day don’t have to worry about it because the body makes it with sun exposure.

Baby boomers will want to make sure that it has vitamin B-12 as well.
Avoid taking any type of “mega” vitamins because you probably don’t need extra doses of things. Too much of a good thing can be bad.

If you are taking any prescriptions, you should first check with your doctor about your multi-vitamin just to make sure there is nothing in them that can interfere.

Another issue is with the multi-vitamin dissolving. Try dropping it in a glass of water and stirring it around and letting it sit. See how long it takes to dissolve. If it doesn’t, then it won’t in your body either, so it will be wasted.

Researchers have also found that many multi-vitamins don’t actually have the amount of a particular vitamin in it that they claim. While they are usually fine to take to ensure your daily requirements are met, you should rely more upon making sure you eat a well-balanced, healthy diet, so you don’t have to rely upon vitamins for the nutrients.

Want to Drink FRS? Here is what you need to know!

Think baby boomers aren’t considering drinking energy drinks? Think again! Energy drinks have become a fad that has touched just about every segment of the population. One of the more popular energy drinks to hit the market is called FRS. With all the celebrities being used to promote the product, it has a lot of people sitting up and taking notice. But should you jump on the bandwagon and start drinking FRS as well?

FRS comes in a variety of flavors such as orange cream, peach mango, and plenty of others in between. They offer drinks in bottles, cans, and even a powdered form that you can simply add to your water. It’s been touted by everyone from Lance Armstrong to Tim Tebow and even trainers. There is a lot of buzz about FRS!

If you are one of the many baby boomers who are considering drinking FRS, there are some things that you should be aware of first. Take the following tips into consideration when deciding if it is an ideal beverage for you:

Energy drinks are designed to do exactly that, give you energy. They usually do this through such things as caffeine. The problem is that caffeine can lead to a rapid heart beat, nervousness, and can increase blood pressure. Just make sure that you won’t have any complications with this.

Try to stick with the varieties that have the least amount of added sugar, that way it won’t contribute to weight gain.
The FRS energy drinks rely upon an antioxidant called Quercetin. There have been reports that Quercetin can cause complications for people who are taking statins to lower their cholesterol. If you take statins, you should speak with your doctor to see if this could be a problem for you. If you don’t take statins, then this won’t be an issue.

As a personal trainer that specializes in providing service to baby boomers, I have my own thoughts on my clients using FRS. With energy drinks being so popular and being effective at giving people a pick-up when they need it I believe FRS makes an ideal choice.

If you are going to try an energy drink, give FRS a try. I think you will find that it tastes great, gives you the energy boost you need, and help keep you feeling great! Energy drinks can be a part of a healthy lifestyle, and FRS makes the cut for me.

Healthy Eating on the Go…And Getting What You Need

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No doubt you value the importance of losing weight and maintaining a healthy body weight.  In this day and age though, is it really possible to eat on the go and still get what our body needs?

Many people in their quest to lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight turn to the ever popular meal replacement.  Meal replacements have been with us awhile now and that doesn’t look like changing anytime soon.  Today’s supermarket shelves are loaded with drinks, powders, biscuits, shakes, bars and soups – all of these are meal replacement options.

But when it comes to meal replacements, are they really the way to go?

Well, you certainly can lose weight using meal replacements, but at the end of the day, they won’t teach you how to eat a healthy, balanced died.  I mean, do you seriously want to spend the rest of your life (that is how long you want a healthy body weight, right?) substituting two or three meals a day with a meal replacement?  And do you really want to spend the money that expensive meal replacements cost for the rest of your life?

At the end of the day, I encourage people to commit to a lifestyle change that involves a balanced, healthy diet and daily exercise.  That’s all you need to achieve the healthy body weight you should be.

But even then, with your healthy balanced diet, are you still getting everything your body needs?

Today, many people take fish oil and multivitamins, in order to get what their body needs.  I am a big believer in fish oil and multivitamins.  I’ll explain by telling you what the benefits of each are.

Fish oil helps:

 Prevent diabetes;

Prevent age-related eyesight decline;

Prevent impaired brain development and vision in children;

Prevent sudden cardiac-related death;

Prevent irregular heartbeat;

Prevent some forms of cancer;

Prevent stroke;

Prevent pregnancy complications;

Prevent age-related enlarged prostate in males;

Prevent and treat Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Systemic Lupus and other inflammatory conditions;

Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease;

Reduce fatty food cravings;

Maintain healthy weight; and

Improve skin, hair and nails.

According to experts, we should take 6 grams of salmon oil per day with food.  You would have to eat a lot of fish to get this dose each day, and to eat that much may result in consuming too much mercury.  By taking a supplement of salmon oil, you know you are getting what you need each day.

As for multivitamins, according to experts, daily multivitamins will improve our general physical and mental health – and improve our wellbeing as well.  Multivitamins basically prevent us suffering from any deficiencies when it comes to vitamins.  In pregnant women, multivitamins can help decrease the risk of passing malnutrition on to her unborn child.  And in most people, multivitamins will help reduce stress and energize us.  They can also reduce the risk of cancers and cardiovascular disease.

So what is my take on all of this?

Well, I recommend you enjoy a healthy, balanced diet every day, and if you so choose, you can enhance your health and wellbeing by taking daily supplements of fish oil and a multivitamin.  Avoid meal replacements, and put your energy into a healthy, balanced diet.

It is always a good idea to discuss nutritional matters with your doctor, so make an appointment today to discuss your nutritional needs at length – and get the tailored guidance you need.

My Take on Weight Loss Supplements and Weight Loss

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If you’ve decided to drop the extra pounds you’re carrying and lose weight for life, chances are you’ve probably done your fair share of internet surfing to find the easiest way to do it.  If easy is high on your priority list, no doubt you’ve checked out weight loss supplements.  And perhaps like millions of people each year, you probably loved the idea of the weight “simply melting off in no time, with hardly any effort.”

As the old saying goes, “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is” and as a personal trainer, I’m afraid to break it to you.  There is no magic pill (pardon the pun) when it comes to weight loss.

Sure, we’ve heard all about supplements like Hoodia and seen the dramatic (in my view, over dramatic!) before and after shots of devotees who apparently swear by the supplement.  But the thing is – like most products in the weight loss industry – supplements aren’t meant to work long term.

Here are the two big ones that many weight loss supplements claim:

  • You don’t have to worry about dieting:  This is rubbish that appeals to people who don’t want to control what they eat.  Fact is, you need to get your metabolism on side to get the weight off and keep it off.  To do that, you need to fuel your body up with the right foods at the right time.  This means cutting back on carbs, cutting out processed foods and consuming lots of fruit and veggies – in addition to healthy carbs, good fats and of course, lean proteins.  If you’re time poor or stressed about changing your dietary habits, you won’t like the sound of this – but it’s the only way!
  • You don’t have to do any exercise:  This is totally wrong!  No diet pill will help you to burn the calories needed to rid your body of excess fat and keep it off – none!  All a pill may do is elevate your heart rate somewhat, but that’s about it.  Frequent exercise will help you to burn the calories you need to lose weight and keep it off – and by regularly exercising, you’ll increase your energy levels, help your resting metabolism so it burns fat even when you’re resting and build muscle which also helps you to burn fat and keep weight off.  Pills don’t do this.

By changing your lifestyle to include a healthy diet and healthy dose of exercise, you’ll not only get the weight off – you’ll keep it off for life.

And trust me.  No pill will do this for you.  The weight loss supplement companies don’t care about you.  They simply want to make money and keep people overweight, so they can keep making money!

After saying all of this though, it’s totally fine for you to supplement your healthy diet with vitamin supplements if you’re finding yourself lacking a bit.  And yes, it’s okay for you to have a meal replacement shake every once in awhile – but only as part of a healthy and balanced diet.  The shakes recommend this anyway.

Remember, 30 days is all it takes to get you well and truly into the habit of healthy – so start today!