Focus on Health: Benefiting from Supplements

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I talked briefly about Natural Foods a short while ago. See “Natural Foods Are Not the Ones You Just Naturally Pick Off the Brightly Lit Sign With a Clown at the Local Drive Through”

Supplementation is a natural follow-up topic. Note how I emphasize Nutrition first, Supplements second. In our New, Improved, Modern, Pill Happy World, many people are still looking for the “magic pill” thinking they went “Holistic” by popping Herbs instead of Chemicals. The good news is that supplements are (relatively) risk free. That doesn’t make them your (quick fix) Health Solution.


The Chiropractic profession has a Natural philosophy of good health that is based your body’s ability to maintain and heal itself with proper care. Cornerstones of good Health care include Nutrition, Exercise, and Chiropractic care. Use of Supplements is secondary to good nutrition.

So you heard how supplements help. You walked into a Health Food store stacked to the ceiling with miracle cures and now you are so confused that you are ready to give up. But wait! As a Doctor of Chiropractic, I have spent years studying the nutrients; so let me help you with the Big Picture!

*1. Start with a Daily Multi-nutrient. Make sure that it is complete with B vitamins and multi minerals. Supplements are not just about vitamins anymore so you will see a variety of specialty products such as Men’s, Woman’s, Seniors, Children’s, or Athlete’s formula. Some of these are good. You can stick with “one a day” but the newer packs will contain large volumes of food concentrates and a range of supplements so you will be surprised to find that some recommend two to eight tabs a day and may include a variety of “pill” types. Don’t be put off by that. If it is the right one for you, these can be tremendously improved products.

I take an iron free men’s formula. Before too long I may be taking a “Seniors” package. Menstruating females (and anyone with blood/bleeding disorders such as ulcers) needs iron. The female formulas often contain herbs such as Black Cohosh that support hormone function. Pre-natal vitamins (typically high in folic acid) are now standard, thank goodness. Who knows how many birth defects this has prevented.

*2. Antioxidants. This is a real buzzword in supplements. These nutrients are the types found in fruits and vegetables, which emphasizes how important it is to change your diet to increase these foods. These include Vitamins A, E, C, B6 and Selenium. They may contain additional supplements such as plant and herb concentrates. These reduce your risk for cancer (including skin cancer, good to know in Hawaii!), cardiovascular disease including heart attack, hardening of the arteries, strokes, asthma, immune challenges and more! Increase your dose with fresh injuries, before and after heavy workouts. This speeds healing and reduces recovery time! Take more when you have cold or flu. Some Daily Multiples contain these! Read the label.

My suggestion is to take antioxidants at the meals that you don’t take your multiple, even if your daily has them. Vitamin C is your number one antioxidant. You aren’t going to overdose on it, and you can use a lot. Linus Pauling took 18 grams a day in multiple doses. That’s 18,000 milligrams! He lived to 92 and outlived his critics (the best revenge).

*3. If you are Active, Athletic, if you have “strain/sprain” injuries then you need additional nutrients. You may find these labeled as “Connective Tissue.” “Arthritis” or “Athletic Injury” formulas. These are also excellent for chronic aches and pains from old injuries and help your body respond to Chiropractic care. Take small doses long term (allow time for natural healing). Here is what to look for:

Glucosamine sulfate; for Joints, other sources are chondroitin sulfate and shark cartilage (contains lesser amounts).

Calcium (Magnesium); for Bones, best with a multi mineral package.

Sulfur; the link for connective tissue. Found in glucosamine sulfate, DMSO, and MSM (S and sulfate stand for sulfur).

Silica; for Ligaments/Tendons, other sources, Equisetum/Horsetail.

Don’t make the mistake that so many people do. These nutrients supply building blocks for healing, but they don’t correct the injury. Chiropractic care is essential to proper recovery from injuries. Nutrition and Supplements support the healing process.

*4. Multi Minerals. This should be in your Daily Multiple. If it is not, switch. If you are older or female, you need Calcium and Magnesium in a multi-mineral. Get good quality calcium (citrate, malate, hydroxyapatite) and take Calcium and Magnesium in nearly equal quantities. Your supplements should have a large variety of Minerals. Studies show that multi-minerals are more effective than isolated supplementation. That just makes sense. Any good Women’s Daily Multi should contain these. Check the label. If you are concerned about osteoporosis, you may be surprised to know that your exercise program may be more important than your calcium supplement. More later.

A few short years ago, Chiropractors were accused of selling their
patients “expensive urine.” Now, the Journal of the American Medical Association has acknowledged that regular use of supplements can prevent a number of chronic health problems. JAMA. 2002;287:3116-3126

Always base your supplements on a good diet of Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole Grains. Get a Cookbook that shows you how to cook with real food and you will discover that you have been missing real flavor and quality. With Exercise and Chiropractic Care, you will discover a whole New World of feeling good and being Healthy.

”’Rik Cederstrom, a licensed Chiropractor in Hawaii, has a Bachelors in Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Doctorate in Chiropractic from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Oregon. He approaches his patients’ health from a wholistic point of view, including nutrition, exercise and lifestyle, focusing on spinal correction. Send questions and comments to him at:”’