People today have pretty stressful lives. I know I do, with the demands of running The Center, writing and speaking, commitments to my faith community, to say nothing of being my wife’s husband and my kids’ dad. It’s a lot. Because life is stressful, with many demands on time and energy, sometimes nutrition derived from a daily diet is not enough.
If you don’t eat nutritious food in the first place, then you’re really operating from a deficit. If you overstimulate your body with jolts of calories and caffeine, you create internal stress to augment the normal, everyday, external stresses of living. If you take prescription medications, you can compromise your body’s ability to break down and assimilate whatever nutrition you do take in. If you abuse laxatives, prescription medications, drugs, or alcohol, you are constantly leeching nutrients from your system.
Even for those of you who already have a pretty good handle on healthy eating, it may still not be enough. Since 2002, the American Medial Association (AMA) has recommended adults take a multivitamin supplement daily. At The Center, our whole-person approach to recovery is firmly grounded in the need for an efficacy of nutritional support and supplementation. An individualized plan is created based on medical testing to determine nutritional deficiencies and the best ways to correct those deficiencies. We use a variety of specialized nutritional products to help bring people back up to optimum nutritional levels. The results in health are very gratifying and are a significant part of our intensive recovery programs for a variety of mental-health and chemical-dependency issues.
While these individualized plans, there are a couple of commonsense nutritional supplements that make sense for the vast majority of people. The AMA may recommend a single multivitamin, but I believe a better multivitamin and mineral formula is one that is taken over the course of the day, involving more than a single pill. Because most nutrients in supplement form are water-soluble, a percentage of them simply are flushed down the drain during the course of a day. In order to assist in greater absorption and assimilation, your multivitamin serving size should consist of several tablets or capsules, taken at intervals during the day. You also want to look for a formula that maximizes bioavailability. It’s not just what nutrients are in the supplements but how easy it is for your body to absorb and make use of those nutrients. Otherwise, most of your nutrients will end up down the drain and of no benefit to you.
In addition to a good multivitamin and mineral formula, many people have found health benefits from taking an EPA/DHA supplement, sometimes called a fish oil supplement. EPA (eicosepautoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid) are omega-3 fatty acids. Dietary sources of these omega-3s are cold-water fish (like salmon), whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and garlic. Omega-3s are really good for you, with a whole host of benefits.
Omega-3s, as essential fatty acids, are well established as beneficial. You can take them in capsules over the course of the day or as liquid (this is the most efficient delivery system, but be cautioned, the taste requires a little getting used to. The liquid form needs refrigeration, which is good because the taste seems to be less “fragrant” when cold.) As more and more people come to understand the health benefits of taking a supplement containing EPA and DHA, technology keeps getting better. The potency of the supplements, I believe, will only increase.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 38 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.