#FoodMatters and why I take supplements

I am a documentary junkie. In 2010, I came across Food Matters (2008), a documentary about letting food be thy medicine. Around the same time, I watched Food Inc. (2008), which takes a critical look at the food industry in the US and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (2010), about Joe Cross’s personal mission to regain his health. In 2011, I watched Forks over Knives (2011) which like Food Matters discusses the health-regulating and preventive power of what we eat. These documentaries made me double check what I thought I knew about food, the food industry, preventive medicine and disease; and I hold them partially responsible for what I have been able to do now.

For a while, media has been giving supplements and vitamins a bad rap (here‘s one example). In the documentary, Food Matters, Dr. Andrew Saul has a disturbing line: “good health makes a lot of sense but it doesn’t make a lot of dollars.” This is a very sad statement but it’s hard to deny when you really think about it. These documentaries also make another important point, doctors are often not trained in combining pharmaceutical treatments with nutritional treatments. When I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes (or metabolic syndrome) I was told that weight loss would help but that I needed to lose so much that taking a pill (that would damage my liver) would be a better course of treatment. Moreover, they also recommended pharmaceuticals to lower my cholesterol and only agreed to me taking Omega 3 when I proposed it. So, I quote Dr. Saul again in Food Matters, “the answer is for every person to realize that if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. You have to read, you have to dig, you have to want to have this information…” In other words, knowledge is power. (you knew that was coming).

So after a lot of reading and after a lot of asking questions I got my doctors to let me do it my way and I couldn’t be happier. I don’t take any drugs anymore for either my cholesterol, pre-diabetes, or depression. Instead, I control them all with good food, exercise, and supplements. Disclaimer: I AM NOT A DOCTOR, NUTRITIONIST, OR PSYCHIATRIST. Do your research and talk to your doctor about how nutrition can help you before changing your regimen.

This is what I take and why:

  • Multivitamin: Even though I probably eat today a lot better than the average American, there are probably a few gaps left in my daily diet. That’s what the multivitamin is for.
  • B Complex: I started taking this when I was diagnosed with depression since “11 members of what’s known as the vitamin B complex are critical nutrients for all things mind-related: mood, memory, even migraines.” But I kept taking it also because “some B vitamins help cells burn fats and glucose for energy. Others help make neurotransmitters like serotonin. And some B’s assist with the production and repair of DNA.” Read full article here.
  • Omega 3: Like I said before, I started taking Omega 3 to aid my cholesterol-level problems. Omega 3 helps increase good cholesterol. Additionally, research shows that “omega-3 fatty acids may help with other conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and many more.” Click here for more.
  • Calcium, Magnesium, and Zinc (CMZ): This one is pretty controversial since there is what I can only refer to as an urban legend that states that calcium interferes with the absorption of zinc. This has since been debunked. We all know the benefits of calcium to our bones but many don’t know that magnesium helps prevent and manage type 2 diabetes while “zinc assists in physical immunity, cell division and metabolism, and protein and DNA synthesis.” Since it can’t be stored in the body it has to be replenished every day. Read more here.

So I have been taking all these for about 8 months now (CMZ for 6 months) . No side effects I can speak of unless we talk about weight loss and a positive outlook on life. Now, don’t take supplements without healthy eating habits and exercise and expect to lose weight. Remember, “weight loss is a simple equation: calories in, calories out.” But supplements and vitamins can help you fill the gaps and regulate your mood and metabolism so you are more likely to feel great and go exercise, have the willpower to skip that cookie, and help your body fuel itself better.

I’ll leave you with the trailer for Food Matters and invite you to check out the other films

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4 comments

  1. Love this post! I need to watch more good documentaries! The truth is, there’s a lotta conflicting data out there with vitamins. Clinical trials cannot seem to give us a straight answer. All, the end goals measured in trials: stroke, heart attacks, poor wound healing, diabetes, hypertension all vary which makes it even more confusing. I agree with all of what you’ve stated. I am all for the multivitamin & omegas. The difficulty with CMZ is we don’t know at what amounts these minerals need to be “stocked up” at to be as effective as possible (therapeutic level) and at the same time we don’t completely understand all the storage mechanisms for excess vitamins. But it’s really hard to “overdose” on vitamins so while the data is not clear, I am a proponent of these supplements. I’ll be posting blogs about each vitamin & mineral (there are so many studies that EACH vitamin/mineral deserves it’s own blog post).. Sounds boring right? Lol but I myself want to tackle through the literature. There’s always new data coming out and it’s my goal as a physician to stay up to date with it. Stay tuned with my blog for updates on scientific date for supplements from a doctor’s point of view. 🙂

    1. Not boring at all. I look forward to it. And YES! There is contradictory evidence but there’s also common sense. The average American, for example, eats a diet of mostly corn (watch King Korn), soy, and wheat… That’s hardly balanced. I strongly believe that most of us are lacking and that can’t be good. Thanks for visiting.

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