Treating many baby boomers in my practice I often see the many degenerative conditions associated with aging. I also see people consuming piles of drugs, often with known hazardous side effects. On occasion I have worked with the patient and their doctor to reduce or eliminate prescription medications and replace them with safer and sometimes more effective natural remedies. Being a boomer myself, I am determined to delay the onset of these uncomfortable and debilitating problems as long as possible. To achieve this end, I take a select group of herbs and supplements
Two issues frequently arise when considering natural products vs drugs. One is convenience. What! Nine tablets a day!? Yes. Natural remedies are generally less potent and therefore safer, but require larger dosing. Also, they usually take longer to produce results, as they are working to support the body’s healing and function rather than just covering up symptoms like pain. Get used to it. Second is cost, as supplement s are in most cases not covered by insurance, the exception being certain health savings accounts that will reimburse. It’s just a matter of priorities. Do you spend that $50 or $100 on new clothes, expensive sports equipment or concert tickets, or invest in your long term health and wellbeing. It depends on your life goals and priorities, and is a personal choice.
Like me, my patients are constantly bombarded by advertising for health and anti-aging products on Facebook, email and telephone. Making informed decisions on choices can be overwhelming. Many people present a rag tag collection of supplements based on every source from People Magazine to Dr. Oz. Often they will ask me what I personally use. I have put together a program of products that include some general supplements with many and varied benefits with others specifically for my age and health status. I prefer to use products I can trace to the original discovery and development, ideally with the researcher’s personal endorsement, and avoid wannabees, copycats and cheaper imitations . The products I use are supported by decades of research and recommended by doctors and health professionals, not just advertisers and celebrity endorsers.
Top priority are adaptogenic herbs to counter damaging effects of stress (it’s everywhere) while building strength and endurance, speeding recovery from physical activity, building immunity and improving mental function. Who can’t use all this? Russian Olympic athletes used them to dominate us in athletic competition during the cold war.
Inflammation is a major factor in aging, causing organ fibrosis and dysfunction and directly related to progressive illness and deterioration with age. Systemic enzymes offer powerful anti-inflammatory, scar dissolving, immune modulating, systemic cleansing and cardiovascular benefits. They are used by pro athletes, including the Denver Broncos, whose careers and livlihoods, as well as team championships, depend on prevention of and quick recovery from injuries.
Vitamin D has become a big deal in the health news the last couple years for a whole list of reasons.
Antioxidants fight free radicals said to contribute to over sixty diseases including cancer and diabetes. I alternate product with different blends of nutrients such as vitamins A,C and E, minerals, green tea, quercetin , pine bark and grape seed extracts.
For my focused products I use glucosamine sulfate proven to benefit arthritis in my knee. Be careful choosing products as many commonly sold in stores and online have no evidence of actual benefit.
Then I add garlic, CoQ-10 and l-carnitine, a powerful form of arginine and potassium with magnesium for heart health.
For breakfast or lunch I drink a smoothie containing green superfoods, an all-star team of nutrients, with omega oils for inflammation, brain building, healing, cardiovascular health and physical performance. I prefer plant based oils over krill or fish because animal oils are great for omega 3 but lack omega 6.
A word of caution: buying products online can be risky. Watch for counterfeits, expiration dates and low potency. One customer, thinking he was saving $20 on a $150 purchase, actually spent seven times more to buy online. Finally, as I sit writing this article, I receive an email warning of an enzyme product on the market cut with antibiotics. Certain herbal formulas from China are notorious for contamination with pharmaceutical drugs, not listed on the label. Do your homework and shop smart.
Yes, I use a number of supplements daily, and they are top quality, and not cheap. Is it worth it? It’s hard to say for sure, but I think I’ve only missed one day of work from illness in over twenty years, and I’ve been carded three times in the last month-to prove I was old enough to get the senior discount.
Good luck to you in your pursuit of a happy healthy life into old age!
Jim Martin, LAc
February 8, 2014
Serving Washington and Columbia counties since 1994, including cities and communities of Scappoose, St Helens, Warren, Rainier, Columbia City, Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Beaverton, Aloha, Portland, Gaston, Banks, North Plains, Carlton and Yamhill Oregon
Pain, aging, degeneration, herbs, supplements, acupuncture, nutrition, superfoods, antioxidants, omega oils, glucosamine, CoQ -10, arginine, enzymes, pine bark, grape seed.