Supplements that work
By Kimberly A. Harris, RN, MSN, FNP
Just about everywhere you look there’s a new supplement for women being promoted that promises to change your life. This month we’d like to give you our views on a few supplements that we prescribe at our GYN clinic and know improve health and prevent illnesses.
Over 25 million adults in the United States are at risk of developing osteoporosis. Vitamin D helps your bones absorb Calcium and defend against osteoporosis.
Vitamin D also plays a big role in defending the body against illness. A person with low levels of vitamin D is 40% more likely to develop a respiratory infection than a person with normal levels. Current research is being done to test the theories that vitamin D might also help prevent breast and colon cancers, dementia, and macular degeneration.
Vitamin D occurs naturally in very few foods, so people make the majority of their vitamin D from sun exposure. Those who live in the north, are homebound, dark skinned, or use sunscreen are likely in need of supplementation.
Our bodies should contain large quantities of Lactobacilli, which is a good bacteria essential in our ability to ward off infections from viruses and bad bacteria. However, each time we take antibiotics, our Lactobacilli count is depleted.
For years our only option was to eat yogurt daily while taking antibiotics, but that has not always been enough. Now there are a variety of quality Lactobacilli supplements that contain large amounts of colony-forming units within each pill.
But use caution when buying them in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Eastern Shore, Peninsula, Hampton Roads or North Carolina. Because supplements and vitamins are not FDA regulated, the claimed potency is not necessarily accurate. It is imperative that the product you chose has a guarantee on potency (strength claimed on bottle is backed by the manufacturer), otherwise known as pharmaceutical grade. In the case of vitamins and supplements, it is not always cost effective to bargain or “on sale” product. Feel free to call our GYN clinic if you have any questions.
Also, try finding an enteric coated probiotic that has between 1-35 billion CFUs. The coating will allow the pills to make it to the small intestine before it begins to break down.
This hormone produced in the body is the precursor to our sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone. DHEA levels begin to decrease after age 30. Low DHEA levels are now associated with adrenal insufficiency, depression, obesity, decreased libido, and lupus. If blood tests through our GYN clinic show there is a deficiency, it can be supplemented to help these conditions.
However, DHEA needs to be used under the guidance of a GYN doctor or other qualified healthcare professional who can monitor the dosage, blood level, and effects.
As GYN doctors, we feel this is the most important antioxidant in the human body. The kidneys, heart, lungs, and muscles all use this nutrient to help protect tissue from damage. The level decreases after age 40, but supplementation can be used to help with certain conditions.
The most recent research shows CoQ10 can be helpful in reducing blood pressure, slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and decreasing leg pain caused by certain cholesterol medications. Other conditions where CoQ10 shows promising results is in Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), periodontal health (protecting and strengthening gingival tissue) and Huntington chorea.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil, EFAs)
Essential fatty acids are needed throughout our lives and cannot be produced by the body. To achieve optimal health and maintain wellness, we must obtain 2-3 grams of EFAs daily from diet or supplementation. Dietary EFAs can be found in sardines, anchovies, salmon, herring, and English Walnuts. You would need to consume 8-12 oz. of salmon daily to get the recommended amount.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids are helpful in reducing cholesterol, blood pressure, stroke risk, joint pain and swelling associated with arthritis, and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. They also help improve mood and memory.
There is research now being conducted to see if Omega 3 Fatty Acids help with depression, anxiety, attention and focus.
Again, it is important to obtain a product that is pharmaceutical grade, which in turn prevents the fishy taste or belch people often associate with fish oil. Use caution in using EFAs if you currently take blood thinners or are having surgery in the near future.
This mineral is found in lozenges and should be taken three times a day with meals when you first feel an irritation in your throat. Zinc has been shown to prevent viruses from multiplying on the mucous membranes inside your throat. Zinc is also helpful in the wound healing process. You can find Zinc as gluconate or acetate and should get around 15-30mg per day depending on your reason for taking it.
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If you have questions about supplements, osteoporosis, vitamin D, probiotics, lactobacilli, DHEA hormone, depression, obesity, decreased libido, Coenzyme Q10, or zinc, and live in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Eastern Shore, Peninsula, Hampton Roads or North Carolina, please contact our GYN clinic at (757) 312-8221. Our GYN doctors are here to help you.
About our GYN Clinic
Our three female GYN doctors and Nurse Practitioner provide comprehensive gynecology services to women and girls of all ages in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Eastern Shore, Peninsula, Hampton Roads and North Carolina. Our health care includes supplements, osteoporosis, vitamin D, probiotics, lactobacilli, DHEA hormone, depression, obesity, decreased libido, Coenzyme Q10, Zinc and more.