Who should you believe in the vitamin debate?

Every year or so, it seems that a study on supplements is published and news reports sensationalize the results with headlines like, “Multi-vitamins Don’t Work.”

Take this meta-analysis, published May 2018 in the Journal of American Cardiology, reporting that most common multivitamins don’t reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

However, critics were quick to point out a lack of standardization among the varying data sets, such as quality of ingredients, or ratios of nutrients. As one nutrition researcher pointed out, “they’re essentially comparing apples to oranges to say the least.”

Reports like these used to discredit supplements, and cause confusion among consumers by ignoring the more robust clinical data in this field – data that demonstrates the protective benefits of high quality multi-vitamins.

For example, a clinical study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association validates the use of multivitamins to maintain long-term health. The study was a ten year double-blind clinical trial – the “gold standard” in peer-reviewed research. Results showed that men who took a daily multi-vitamin significantly reduced their cellular health risks, highlighting the protective value of such formulas.

The truth is, numerous clinical and preclinical studies, along with countless clinical and anecdotal observations, have demonstrated that herbs, food-based nutrients, botanical extracts and other high-quality supplements can play a key role in promoting and maintaining long-term wellness. Combined with a nutrient-dense diet, exercise, healthy stress relief and other healthy habits, targeted supplements can give the extra edge needed to optimize wellness.

Basics of supplementing

Supplement requirements are based on numerous factors: health status, age, gender, family health history, occupation, diet, stress levels, exercise habits, location, environmental influences, lifestyle and more.

The best place to start is to consult an integrative health provider, especially if you are taking any medications. Even the most innocuous supplement can, on occasion, react with a pharmaceutical drug. For more information about potential drug/supplement interactions, visit http://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html.

When building a supplement plan, we must also consider the many different aspects of health. Here are some areas that can often use an extra boost, along with some versatile supplements which can protect and support multiple areas of health simultaneously…

Immunity and inflammation

Our biological systems perform a careful balancing act between being at rest, taking action or even, overreacting. Nowhere is this more apparent than the immune response. A tepid reaction can allow pathogens to gain a foothold, leading to chronic disease. An overreaction, by immune cells and/or the inflammatory response, can have a similar result. We want to help the body find the perfect balance that avoids these extremes.

I recommend a Tibetan Herbal Formula to help moderate inflammation and immune responses with adaptogenic-like benefits. It also has natural antimicrobial properties, which can help promote dental health from occasional gingivitis, periodontitis; as well as other acute infections.

Another versatile supplement that supports immunity and healthy inflammation responses is modified citrus pectin (MCP), derived from the pith of citrus peels and modified for enhanced absorption and bioactivity. MCP is shown to tamp down unhealthy inflammation responses and halt fibrosis of organs and tissues. It works by blocking the pro-inflammatory protein galectin-3, now shown in over 8,000 studies to be a key driver of numerous pathogenic processes. MCP is the only agent shown to block galectin-3. It also modulates immune function and safely chelates heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic.

To support immunity and healthy inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids are also high on the list. These can be found in flax seeds, chia seeds, salmon, sardines, walnuts and grass-fed beef among other sources. A high-quality omega-3 supplement can also help.

Cardiovascular support

Again, the Tibetan herbal formula is a top recommendation. A number of clinical and preclinical studies have shown that it supports arterial health and circulation. In addition, its antioxidant and healthy inflammatory properties can support flowing blood vessels.

MCP also makes the list again. Because MCP blocks the actions of galectin-3 it is shown via numerous published studies to promote healthy arteries which of course reduces risks of congestive heart failure.

Digestion

Science is only beginning to understand how different bodily systems interact with each other. Research now shows that gastrointestinal tract is critically important for nutrition absorption, hormone signaling, immunity and cognitive and emotional health, and much more. These relationships are well known in traditional healing systems like Chinese medicine, and now modern science is confirming these critical links.

Each one of us has a colony of symbiotic bacteria that influence many aspects of health. For that reason, I recommend both probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics supply friendly microbes, and prebiotics feed those colonies. Healthy intestinal flora can improve digestion, reduce inflammation, improve immunity, combat infections, support respiratory health, and even influence mental health.

I also recommend natural digestive aids to help improve digestive function and alleviate discomfort. Look for a formula containing herbs such as pepper fruit, ginger root and cinnamon, together with nutrients such as zinc, and digestive enzymes to support nutrient breakdown and assimilation.

Detoxification

Our body’s natural detoxification mechanisms often have trouble keeping pace in an increasingly industrialized environment. We’re constantly exposed to dangerous heavy metals, pesticides, air pollutants and more. These health-robbing toxins fuel inflammation, threaten DNA and cellular integrity, damage the neuro-endocrine system and much more. Again, MCP is a top recommendation because of its well-deserved reputation gently chelating heavy metals and other toxins. Alginates derived from seaweed also help remove harmful toxins from the digestive tract. Together, MCP and alginates are an excellent solution to help address increased toxic body burden.  Importantly, these two agents can remove toxins and heavy metals like lead, mercury cadmium, pesticides and radioactive particles and others, without leeching essential minerals like magnesium and zinc.

Vitamins and Minerals

I recommend gender-specific multivitamin formulas because they’re designed to deliver different ratios of nutrients that are helpful for men and women. Look for products that contain food-based ingredients along with plant-based enzymes and botanicals to aid absorption. Emphasize vitamin C (at least 5,000 mg. per day) and vitamin D-3 (at least 1,000 IUs per day). Multi-nutrient formulas that contain blends of herbs and botanicals for vital energy, hormone balance and other areas of health are particularly useful.

High quality, food-based supplements can enhance health by supporting the system as a whole. A carefully designed plan can go a long way towards promoting longevity and vitality; addressing chronic conditions and helping the body thrive over the long term.

For more health and wellness information, visit www.dreliaz.org.

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Dr. Isaac Eliaz

By Dr. Isaac Eliaz

Dr. Isaac Eliaz is a renowned integrative medical doctor, licensed acupuncturist, researcher, product formulator and frequent guest lecturer. He has been a pioneer in holistic medicine since the early 1980s, and has published numerous peer-reviewed research papers on several of his key integrative health formulas. He is the founder and medical director of Amitabha Clinic in California, an integrative health center specializing in cancer and chronic conditions. Dr. Eliaz is an expert in using highly strategic, synergistic protocols to address numerous areas of health including metastatic cancer, immunity, digestion, detoxification, diabetes, cardiovascular health and more. His approach integrates modern science with traditional healing wisdom for optimal health and wellness. To download any of Dr. Eliaz's comprehensive wellness guides, click here.