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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

VITAMINS: SHOULD YOU TAKE THEM?

Hi there!
Half of Gabby has moved to a new kickass website! 

Read this article, in it’s updated version, HERE.
 The page that you are on right now (www.halfofgabby.blogspot.com) is no longer posting new articles and information. Half of Gabby has moved to www.halfofgabby.com and will continue to post new material regularly! In addition, all older articles have been updated on the new site!

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Here's the dealio. There are literally hundreds of vitamins, minerals, and supplements to choose from out there. This is a very individual decision and everyone has their own issues and ailments.

I've gotten a lot of requests about what vitamins and supplements I take. This article in no way shape or form is to get you to take everything I take, we are all different and have our own individual needs. I just wanted to answer all the peeps who keep asking me and to explain not only what I take, but the benefits I get from taking them. However, taking vitamins and supplements is a personal choice. Please talk to your doctor before taking new vitamins or supplements.

But a great place to start for EVERYONE is a multivitamin.


     Multivitamins:
There have been countless studies, theories, and personal opinions on whether multivitamins are actually needed. Depending where you look, you're gonna find several different views. Most of the medical community as well as other health experts recommend taking a multivitamin daily. But there are still some views out there that find it unnecessary. Most of the views stating that multis are not needed are arguing that a healthy diet can supply you with all the required vitamins and minerals. I personally don't think it's possible to get every single vitamin and mineral in with nutrition alone. Do you have any idea how long the 'list' is of essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc?  

Believe me, my eating is spot on. I take extra care of what goes into my body. I make every calorie count and there is NO way I can get everything in. Not a chance. I'd have to line up a smorgasbord a mile long and eat my way to combustion to get it all in. No thanks, I'll take a multivitamin and forget about it.

     Taking a multivitamin cannot make up for a poor diet. 

So if your diet mainly consists of processed foods and greasy foods, no multi in the world is gonna get you out of that mess. Multivitamins are meant to accompany healthy eating so that most of your vitamins and minerals are indeed coming from the fresh foods that you eat. The multi serves as a back up and fills in any gaps. So taking a multi doesn't mean that all day you can sit on your ass in front of your tv and all night you can scarf down chicken wings and pound brewskies. It doesn't work that way. I know... what a downer.

"To all my little Hulkamaniacs, say your prayers, take your vitamins and you will never go wrong.", Hulk Hogan

     One common agreement among most experts, no matter which side of the 'vitamin theory' they fall on, is that it can't hurt you to take a multi-vitamin. The worst that will happen is you'll piss out the extra. So, no biggie there. Your body will dispose of any extra vitamins through your urine. An important point to mention here is that you should always take your multi with food. There are many nutrients that need fat to help with absorption.

      There are a plethora of choices out there. I personally recommend a multi that is vegetarian. 

Many of the one-a-day vitamins out there are man-made. The vitamins are synthetic and do not come from a natural source. With a vegetarian multivitamin, each and every vitamin and mineral are taken straight from a natural plant or vegetable source. 

Personally, I cannot stomach the synthetic vitamins. Literally. Even when I take them with food, I still become nauseous and vomit. Nice huh? Well, my body doesn't want fake synthetics, it doesn't recognize them and puts up a fuss when I try to give them to it. I have no problem whatsoever with the vegetarian vitamins. There are many out there. I take GNC's Ultra Mega Vegetarian Multivitamin.



     If you don't want to take a bunch of pills everyday, believe me, I totally get it and I don't blame you at all. But you can afford to take one. And if you're going take one and only one, make it a multivitamin. It will pick up the slack for what you're not eating and will guarantee that you are getting all the essentials that your body needs to run with all cylinders firing all day long.


     Fish Oil (Omega 3): 
Many people don't give much thought to anything other than a multivitamin. And honestly, I didn't either...until a few years ago. But it's definitely worth a mention here. It is very difficult to get in the necessary omega 3's through diet, especially in this country. 

We do not use foods like fish and shellfish as a staple like many other cultures. Unfortunately, we are a Big Mac and fries type of people.

     The benefits that omega 3 offers are extensive and should not be ignored. First and foremost, omega 3 takes heart health to a whole new level. The American Heart Association (AHA) confirms that fish oil reduces the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. It also lowers triglycerides, corrects abnormal heart beats, and prevents and treats atherosclerosis (which leads to clogged arteries).

     Another biggie is that omega 3 reduces any type of inflammation, including joint tenderness and joint pain. People with arthritis as well as rheumatoid arthritis can benefit greatly from taking fish oil daily. Studies have shown fish oil also alleviates depression, including postpartum depression. Fish oil also promotes eye health and lowers the risks of prostrate, breast, and colon cancers. Healthy hair and healthy skin are yet some other perks. Moreover, fish oil promotes an optimal fat metabolism and improves brain function. And let me tell ya, the brain function thing is definitely an added bonus. Between my mommy brain and my bouts of insomnia, I can use all the help I can get in the brain department. I swear some days my 4 year old could outwit me, for reals. Fish oil is something you should consider, especially if you are past your twenties. 

One thing I need to mention though is that most fish oils come from some type of shellfish, so if you have a shellfish allergy, you need to make certain that you are taking an omega 3 that comes from a non-shellfish source.

     Probiotics: 
Many people overlook this supplement and do not even let it enter their radar but let me tell you, this one is a goodie. This is something that will be beneficial to anyone.

 And if you are a female, forget about it, this is a MUST! Chickas, this should be a daily supplement for you! Probiotics will keep your lady parts happy and healthy!

Probiotics are what your doctor will recommend you to take if you are on antibiotics. The reason for this is that when you are on antibiotics, it strips your body of the 'good' bacteria as well as the 'bad' bacteria and this causes an imbalance. This imbalance is not healthy for anyone but women especially. Probiotics replenish the 'good' bacteria. When there is a shortage of good bacteria, things can go wrong. This is why antibiotics so often result in yeast infections for women. The 'good' bacteria keeps everything in check and without it, well, things get all crazy...and itchy. Ew. 

But truth be told, being on antibiotics is not the only time you should take probiotics. Probiotics not only keep a woman's 'area' in check but they help everyone maintain healthy digestive systems and fully functional colons. Furthermore, this supplement will help tremendously with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Probiotics should be taken daily for maximum benefits.

 Probiotics are very affordable and can be found just about anywhere. A general rule is the higher the bacterial count, the better. But any count is better than nothing. Probiotics are finally starting to get some attention and are promoted more now than they have ever been. In fact, some vitamin companies are now including probiotics in their multivitamins.


     Kelp: 
Here's a supplement most people are unaware of but for certain people, it can be very helpful. Kelp is a 'sea vegetable' and has been used by some cultures for centuries. The reason I stumbled upon this supplement is because of my thyroid. I had my thyroid tested during the four beginning months of my weight loss journey. I was not dropping weight despite all my efforts and my doctor suspected my thyroid at first. It turns out I was insulin resistant and that was the real culprit but in the meantime I did find out my thyroid wasn't functioning optimally. Now, I need to point out here that my thyroid did test within the normal range. I do NOT have a thyroid problem. However, my thyroid did test on the very bottom of the 'normal' range and it was apparent that even though I did not have a bona fide thyroid issue, it wasn't working like it should have been. So I was told about kelp and did some research on it. Turns out kelp does more than help with thyroid function...a lot more.

     The reason kelp helps with thyroid function is that it's loaded with iodine. Iodine does wonders for the thyroid and most people have some level of an iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiencies can slow your metabolism by as much as 50%! This can result in substantial weight gain and obesity as well as other health problems. Taking kelp will increase your metabolism and energy levels. It also boosts immunity and brain function (again, I need all the help I can get). Kelp also prevents osteoporosis, impotence, and anemia.

     The benefits of kelp are impressive and grossly under-reported. Do a little research for yourself, your health could greatly be impacted by taking kelp. 

*But if you do indeed have a thyroid problem and especially if you take thyroid medication, please talk with your doctor before taking kelp or any other supplement. You want to make sure there are no drug interactions.

     Glucosamine:
 Glucosamine helps in reducing joint inflammation and pain. Glucosamine rebuilds damaged cartilage and connective tissue and speeds up muscle recovery. It is for this reason that many people who weight train take glucosamine daily. In addition, anyone who suffers from any type of arthritis or joint pain can benefit greatly from glucosamine. If weight training is not an integral part of your fitness regimen, glucosamine would not be necessary. But if you are serious about building lean muscle mass and make weight training a priority, it's definitely something to look into.

     B-12: 
In addition to my multi-vitamin, I take an extra B-12 daily. B-12 is the only vitamin that contains the essential mineral cobalt.  B-12 is not found in fruits or vegetables. It is found mostly in meats, fish, and dairy products. If you are a vegetarian, taking B-12 is a must. Check the amount of B-12 in your multi, some multi-vitamins have less B-12 than others.

     My intention is NOT to get you to take all the vitamins and supplements that I do. Every person has their own individual needs and requirements. 

However, I DO suggest that every one take a multivitamin. Talk to your doctor about it if you are not sure. Taking a multi is just an added assurance that your body is getting everything it needs. And not only is it healthful and smart to make sure you are getting all the essential nutrients, but it will also help your body lose weight. 

When we want our bodies to lose weight and build muscle, we are asking a lot of it. It's no easy task for our body to engage in all of the necessary functions that allow weight loss and muscle building to occur. Providing your body with all the nutrients and energy it needs, lets it perform optimally and consistently

As for the other supplements I touched upon, I simply wanted to make you aware of the benefits that they offer. As to whether you should take them, that is up to you and your doctor. I by no means want to give the impression I know what supplements you should be taking, I only know what works for me. But if I can get great results and benefits from something, maybe someone else out there can too. I get a lot of questions about vitamins, which prompted this blog article. If you are unsure what you should be taking, I encourage you to do some research.

     We simply can't get all of the important vitamins and minerals we need by eating healthy. In fact, most of us get into eating patterns (even if they are healthy ones). 

I know I do. For instance, currently I am on a greek yogurt kick as well a turkey-swiss melt kick. It seems for almost every meal I'm eating greek yogurt and a turkey (low-sodium) and swiss (reduced-fat) melt on Ezekiel Bread. Last month I was on a serious egg kick. I was having eggs for all three meals. I honestly thought I was going to start friggin' clucking. 

When we get in grooves where we are eating the same things, a multivitamin can really help out. It'll pick up the slack and make sure we are getting what we need. There's no reason to be lacking in something if you don't have to be.
    

Related Links Below:
http://nutrition.about.com/od/vitaminssupplements/f/whyvitamins.htm
http://www.oprah.com/health/Vitamins-and-Supplements-for-Your-Age
http://www.fishoilblog.com/8-fish-oil-benefits.php
http://www.kelpbenefits.net/

*The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content in this article is for general information purposes only. I am not a doctor, nor am I a dietitian. Talk to your physician before making any changes in your diet or exercise regimen.  The information found in this article is from various sources which include, but are not limited to, the sites listed above. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. This information in this article or on this website should never replace or serve as medical advice. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR HAVE ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.

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*The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content in this article is for general information purposes only. I am not a doctor, nor am I a dietitian. Talk to your physician before making any changes in your diet or exercise regimen. The information found in this article is from various sources which include, but are not limited to, the sites listed above. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. What has worked for me may not work for you. This information in this article or on this website should never replace or serve as medical advice.

NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR HAVE ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.


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