Dietary Supplements are Good for Only One Thing

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And that’s giving you very expensive pee. I’ve heard that a lot over the years and chose to ignore it.

I’ve been an advocate of dietary supplements for many, many years. I always figured they couldn’t hurt and they just might help. But that is maybe not the case. Recent research is beginning to show that they may be more harmful than helpful.

I won’t deny that the CoQ10 that I take daily helps me to have more energy. I tried going without it for a few weeks and I felt tired all the time. I started taking it again and in a few days, I felt more like my regular self. Energetic. Motivated.

But all the rest of what I used to take never had as much of a noticeable effect. And I took a lot of supplements. To be fair, some of the pills, capsules, caplets, tablets and soft gels that I took were of the spice variety. Turmeric for inflammation. Ginger for digestion along with bromelain (not a spice, rather an enzyme from pineapple). Cinnamon for better blood glucose management. That sort of thing.

But then there was the cranberry soft gel for urinary tract health. Lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health. Chromium picolinate for glucose management. Vitamins C (immune system), D (bones), A (vision) along with E occasionally because someone once told me it delayed the graying of hair. How stupid is that.

I also took magnesium every other day. Too often and diarrhea would result. I took chlorella for help with eliminating heavy metals. And iodine for thyroid health because I don’t add salt to anything in order to control my Meniere’s Syndrome. Actually, I don’t eat anything with salt or sodium on the label.

I’d take a potent B complex and additional biotin because I read that biotin helps with the hair. I lost a lot of it after being kicked by that horse and having surgery and all that entailed.

Then there was the selenium and fish oil and collagen and the stuff I take for my bones and I may not be able to remember it all.

Recently, in light of my research, I’ve pared it down to what I consider to be the basics:  a less potent vitamin B complex, lutein/zeaxanthin, chlorella, kelp (iodine), cranberry, collagen, bone builder, CoQ10 and vitamin D (although I do get plenty of sun). It’s still a lot compared to the majority of the population. Or at least I believe it to be so.

What prompted this reassessment? A couple of things. Esophageal stenosis made it impossible for me to swallow certain large supplements. The stenosis has two causes: scarring from GERD and scarring from the nasogastric tube after my surgery. And more recently, new information on the role of free radicals and their nemesis, antioxidants.

I’ll pick on vitamin C. In a nutshell, the process of producing energy relies on oxygen. Oxygen is a very reactive element. In the creation of energy, oxygen loses electrons (becomes a free radical) and to fix itself, it strips electrons from whatever is around it; proteins, DNA, cell walls, etc. That’s the reason free radicals are dangerous.

Enter vitamin C to the rescue. It gives up electrons to the free radicals so that they don’t take the electrons from more bothersome sources. But … and it’s a big but … this turns the vitamin C itself into a free radical. Reductase to the rescue. It returns vitamin C to its former self. See, our bodies in all their wisdom, have a system in place for dealing with all this. But what happens if the vitamin C load in your body outstrips the available reductase?

Also, they have recently discovered how it is that macrophages within our blood stream kill invading bacteria. It was thought that the phages engulfed the bacteria and this killed them. But that is not the case. Within the macrophages are a lot of free radicals and they do to the bacteria what free radicals do to our bodies. They essentially shred the bacteria, stripping them of electrons and thereby killing them. So, perversely enough, free radicals are an essential part of our immune systems.

One study done on people who smoke tobacco had to be abandoned half way through its planned four years due to the fact that a larger than normal number of the participants were developing lung cancer and a larger number than normal were dying. Why? They were being given antioxidants.

It has to make you wonder what else we think is good for us that just might not be.

On a completely different note, I fairly regularly make updates to the static pages under My Novels in the main menu. Take a peek at them now and then to see what’s new with my various projects.

Published by Dianne Lehmann

I'm a writer. But I'm also a wife and a mom to a couple of fur babies. You could call me a cook (but never a chef, I'm not that good) and provisioner as well. Laundress? Yeah. Probably. I design jewelry and I crochet. But mostly I love to write. I love words and how they sound. I love their meanings and origins. I love stringing them together. And of course, I love to read. Thinking about it just now, I realize that what I love most is life and the people around me with a special place set aside for my wonderful husband, our adorable dog and our inscrutable cat. It's the world and the people in it that fuels my writing. So thanks to you all for being the amazing beings that you are.

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