In this week’s Wednesdays With Will episode Dr. Will Harden is back to tell us which supplements are most important for a person’s health and vitality.
Should you take?
- Vitamin C
- Fish oil
- Vitamin D
Listen and learn what you should take to keep your metabolism running in its highest efficiency.
This listener question this week is from Dan in Los Angeles who wants to know which supplements a healthy, active, 50 year old male should take, if any, for best health.
Ask Will A Question
These special Wednesdays With Will episodes are a series with Dr. Will Harden, chiropractor, creator of the Dr. Will Bar, and health and fitness guru. He will discuss health, fitness, nutrition, and chiropractic issues that have the potential to improve your health and life. Dr. Will Harden has been a chiropractor for 26 years. He graduated first in his class from National College of Chiropractic in Chicago, IL and moved to Portland, OR in 1989 and owns a practice called the Corbett Hill Wellness Center.
In This Episode You’ll Learn
- Which vitamins a healthy person needs to stay healthy
- Which type of fish oil you should take
- Where to find Omega-3 fatty acids
- Who should take vitamin D
- How to avoid wasting your money on worthless supplements
Links and Resources
Transcript of This Episode
Will Harden: I’m sure you have a certain idea of what a huge topic this is. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of hours, even just post grad, I’ve studied nutrients or nutrition and supplements. I think what you might be asking without outright asking is ‘if I was going to twiddle down what a person should do to improve overall health with supplements, what would I recommend?’ And I think the answer is if I was going to name 3 things everyone should take, it would be a:
#1) A high absorption, fairly comprehensive phytonutrient containing multivitamin. Again, I mentioned that company Metagenics. I love their multi called PhytoMulti because it’s high absorption. It’s very complete in its overall contents of vitamins and minerals. And it contains phytonutrients.
Phytonutrients are nutritional components, primarily in fruits and vegetables, smaller than vitamins and minerals that are known to be immune stimulating and in some cases, even anti-carcinogenic. Examples of those you’ve heard are tomatoes which have lycopenes in them. And you’ve heard of leukotrienes and Pycnogenols. Those are small compounds known as anti-carcinogens or immune stimulants similar to anti-oxidants that boost immunity. It’s what you get from fruits and vegetables. Therein lies the ultimate benefit of fruits and vegetables. Not only are they alkalizing, not only do they provide vitamins, and minerals and fiber, but they contain phytonutrients. And that’s why they’re really an important part of our diets.
But in truth, would you believe the Federal Government now recommends to get enough vitamins, nutrients, minerals from fruits and vegetables so as not to become vitamin deficient we should get 11-14 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Why… I don’t know a vegan or a vegetarian who gets that many. So the conclusion is, yes, in this modern day of food processing forming techniques, food distribution, methodology; it is believed that we cannot get enough nutrients from fruits and vegetables alone. And therefore, a multivitamin helps to kind of cover your rear relative to the potential of developing deficiencies.
#2) The second nutrient to consider, fish oil. Fish oil is loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids. Bear in mind, there are two types of essential fatty acids. They are called essential because our bodies must have them and yet, we do not manufacture them in our liver. Therefore, it’s essential that we eat them that we get them in our diets. We need Omega-6 fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids. We get Omega-6 fatty acids from most nuts, seeds, vegetable oils including olive oil, peanut oils, soy oil, corn oil, canola, safflower, sun flower, etc. In other words, we get lots of it because it’s in almost all baked goods, package goods, crackers, snacks, fried foods, restaurant foods.
We get Omega-3 fatty acids from essentially 3 sources: fish, flax, walnuts. This is the three main sources. We should get one or two times more Omega-6 than Omega-3. And in European countries, that’s about what they get. But in the US diet, we get about 20-30 times more Omega-6 than Omega-3. And we know that that disproportion promotes inflammation, auto-immune disorders, elevated LDL’s and cholesterol levels, reduced HDL levels, the earlier onset of changes in brain function including dementia or senility. It can promote memory loss, changes in vision. So it is really important to make a point of increasing your consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish, flax, walnuts. So when you make a smoothie, it’s always a great idea a quarter cup of flax meal in a smoothie. Snack on walnuts periodically rather than just always snacking on mix nuts, peanuts or almonds. And consume fish at least a couple times a week. Better yet, consider adding a quality, concentrated, purified fish oil to your daily regimen to the neighborhood of 2 or 3 grams per day.
I’m fairly particular about fish oil though. To make fish oil, essentially, a manufacturers squeezes the carcasses of fish to extract the body oils, to concentrate the Omega-3’s and to remove all contaminants. Out of a hundred gallons of fish body oil. Twenty to thirty gallons of concentrated purified Omega-3 fatty acids are derived. These are put into tablets and sold at the tune of $35-$80 a bottle for fish oil capsules. And that’s usually a month’s supply if you’re taking 2-3 grams a day.
But the remainder of that body oil, 70-80 gallons worth, is completely legal and legit to call fish oil and put in a tablet to sell for $10-$15 a bottle. So if you are buying the cheapest fish oil you can find, that’s what you’ll pay. But you are not, by any means, getting a high concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids that are certified contaminant free. So one way that you might be able to tell that is if you open a bottle of fish oil and it reeks of a can of tuna. And if you take that fish oil and 15 minutes later, you’re burping up a fishy after taste that almost certainly is not a concentrated purified fish oil.
So be careful where you buy it. Some store-bought brands that are very acceptable would be Nordic Naturals and I carry multiple, purified, concentrated fish oils. Rest assured, if you’re paying a lot for it, it is almost certainly a purified concentrated fish oil. Somewhere on that bottle, certainly on the back label, it will tell you each table contains x or y mg of Omega-3 fatty acids. There are two essential Omega-3 essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA. And those should total somewhere between 500 and a thousand milligram per tablet. And then you can do the math in how many you need per day to get 2-3 grams.
#3) The third supplement that I think everyone should take is vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is, also known as cholecalciferol, has been shown to be deficient in 59% of Americans randomly assayed. If you live here in the Pacific Northwest, I assure you it’s more like 90 plus percent are vitamin D deficient. Bear in mind, vitamin D is made in the skin when you are exposed to sunlight. And the amount of sun that you would need to prevent vitamin D deficiency is said to be about 1 hour per day on a wide expanse of skin exposed to the sun without sunblock because sun block destroys the skin’s ability to make vitamin D3. So the amount of D3 necessary to address deficiency and to also prevent it, is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-6 thousand IU’s per day. An IU is like a milligram for a fat soluble nutrient. So therefore, taking vitamin D3, certainly if you live in the Pacific Northwest, is a really a wise idea.
Vitamin D also happens to be one of those nutrients that a lot of people actually feel, that is by taking vitamin D, they’ll say that they feel more energetic. They’re sleeping better. Their muscles don’t seem as tense. A lot of people see improvement in lower back pain when they take vitamin D. So vitamin D is really a fascinating nutrient. It is now considered to be the number one cure or preventative for common colds and flu’s, more so than vitamin C. It’s been demonstrated that it improves insulin sensitivity and therefore it may prevent type 2 diabetes and improve blood sugar levels. It tends to improve moods. And if you’re one of those people that tends toward seasonal affective depression disorder, that is, you get the blues in the winter, and it’s nothing other than a vitamin D deficiency. Taking 4-5 thousand IU’s of vitamin D3 a day might clear that up in literally two weeks.
In a study at Creighton University School of Medicine in over a thousand women, taking vitamin D each day over a 4-year period, had a 66% reduction in all cancers compared to over a thousand women taking a placebo. That study emphatically showed that vitamin D is anti-carcinogenic. Vitamin D3 is non-accumulating, non-hepatotoxic, no side effects, no known harmful effect, whatsoever; it seems silly not to take it.
Three Reasons to Take Vitamin D3 daily:
- A good high absorption multi-vitamin with phytonutrients;
- Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil; and
- Vitamin D3 If only to kind of to cover your rear for overall health is a very wise consideration.
Glenn Johnson: That’s great, Will. I was looking through the questions that listeners have sent in. And I have one about supplements. You may just have to repeat yourself because your answer might be very similar to what you just said.
This question is from Dan in Los Angeles. He says, “I recently turned 50 years old. I’m in good health. I exercise for health but I’m not an athlete, never have been, but I’m fit and healthy. Do you recommend any supplements I should take prophylactically as I age?”
Will Harden: Well, prophylactically, all of those things that I just listed are very appropriate. But what additional considerations does a 50 year old have? One certain answer to that is at somewhere between 40 and 50, nearly all of us begin to develop indications of one or two or all joints showing degenerative change. And by that, I mean some wearing of, thinning of cartilage.
Cartilage is this smooth surface of bones at all joints that help to keep them lubricated and essentially friction free. There is one nutrient of that for sure is known to increase the production of cartilage. And that’s glucosamine sulfate. In the sulfate form, there is ample research that demonstrate that glucosamine sulfate does in fact increase the activity of the cell called chondroblasts.
Chondroblast is the cell that makes or produces cartilage. We often combine chondroitin sulfate and with something called MSM or methylsulfonylmethane. And whereas, MSM does seem to improve pain in people, for example, with fibromyalgia and sometimes arthritis; we don’t know that that promotes growth of cartilage or synthesis of healthy joint tissue, but it does seem to help with chronic pain syndromes.
Chondroitin sulfate, some people swear by it but it kind of amounts to this – the pores in your capillaries are only so big. We’ll say the size of a baseball. Glucosamine sulfate is the size of a golf ball and chondroitin sulfate is the size of a soft ball. And you know that you can’t get a soft ball through a baseball-sized-hole. So it’s very debatable whether chondroitin sulfate actually works, unless you are an individual who happens to have fairly large capillary pores, that chondroitin sulfate can get out of the blood stream and in to the joint tissue and therefore stimulate change in cartilage. But a golf ball easily gets through a hole the size of a baseball. We know glucosamine sulfate isolates itself in joints after consumption. In fact, if you radioisotopically tag glucosamine sulfate and take it an hour later, it’s shown to be harboring itself in joint tissue.
You know what? I’ve been taking glucosamine sulfate since I was 35 because of the nature of my work. I come crashing down on people and do it day in and day out. And I’m consequently in my profession susceptible to degenerative joint changes of wrist, elbow, shoulders and low back. I have none of that. I cannot say that by taking glucosamine sulfate I feel amazing. What I can tell you if we run out and I don’t take it for about 4-5 days; out of nowhere, I’ll notice mild stiffness of an old knee injury. My shoulders and elbows feel mildly stiff. In 4-5 days of going back on it, all those things are alleviated. And I have many, many patients who take and swear by glucosamine sulfate more by far than those who take chondroitin sulfate or MSM.
I do want to make a caveat to that. The dose of glucosamine sulfate necessary to have clinical effect is 15 hundred milligrams per day. You can take it all at once. You don’t need to spread that out. Usually, it comes in a 500 or a 750 mg capsule so 2-3 of those, depending on the dose each day. You can take it with or without food with no side effect. It is derived from sea food. And yet, namely from shellfish, but even those with shellfish allergies, generally, have no problem with glucosamine sulfate because it does not include the proteins. And therefore, does not induce an allergic response.
I could go into depth on the wisdom of 50 year olds seeking guidance with a naturopath as it relates to assessing and possibly addressing falling testosterone levels but there is no one nutrient that I can tell you will suddenly boost your testosterone levels. But I think a 50 year old male is well advised to have that assessed. So, I think I’ll stop there relative to discussing testosterone because that’s a whole new can of worms.
Glenn Johnson: Thank you, Dr. Will Harden. As always, I really appreciate your words of wisdom. It’s so educational. It’s so interesting. I always learn something whenever I talk to him. In fact, that’s why I wanted to start this Wednesdays With Will series because every time I speak with Will, I’m just blown away with how much he knows and how much you guys need to know these stuff.
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Thank you very much for lending your ear. I will leave you with this little ditty.
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