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A Solid Thumbs-Up on Nutritional Supplements

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Every morning and evening for more years than I like to ponder, I reach for my two vitamin trays (yes, I need two), mentally check that I’m not taking them on an empty stomach, and dutifully swallow my eighteen pills and capsules, plus an aspirin.

That’s 37 a day. Like every other person taking multiple supplements, I get terribly tired of pill swallowing and hope to high heaven all these pills are actually doing something. Yes, I know some of the studies are conflicting about supplements, but overall the data is compelling enough that I keep it up.

Finally, however, researchers at the University of California (Berkeley) decided to track the overall health and well-being of the individual they tagged the “multiple nutritional supplement user.” Namely, people with trays of vitamins like mine. They compared 278 users with 602 non-users.

The typical assortment of supplements of a member in the user group included: a multiple vitamin, B complex, C, D, E, calcium, fish oil, Co Q 10, resveratrol, glucosamine, and an herbal immune support. Men often added saw palmetto for prostate; women, a probiotic.

After adjusting for a variety of factors that might alter the data, like weight, risk factors for specific diseases, amount of exercise, and so forth, the researchers concluded that among the supplement users there was:
• 52% less coronary artery disease
• 73% less diabetes
• Significantly lower blood pressure
• Higher HDL (good) cholesterol
• Lower C-reactive protein (test for systemic inflammation)
• Lower homocysteine (heart disease risk factor)
• Very high levels of self-reported health status–either “good” or “excellent”

Even the most skeptical nay-sayers about supplements have to admit these results are impressive.

If you’re curious about what I take everyday, here’s my list:
1. Multiplex (multiple vitamin without iron), twice a day
2. Vitamin C–1,000 mg, twice a day
3. Vitamin D–1,000 IU, twice a day
4. Vitamin E–400 IU, twice a day
5. Co Q 10–50 mg, twice a day
6. Fish oil–one capsule twice a day
7. Acetyl-L-carnitine–500 mg, twice a day (memory enhancement)
8. Phosphatidyl serine–100 mg, twice a day (memory enhancement)
9. Phosphatidyl choline–500 mg, twice a day (memory enhancement)
10. Glucosamine/chondroitin–twice a day (joint health)
11. Prostate phytonutritional–twice a day (prostate)
12. Lycopene–twice a day (prostate cancer prevention)
13. Lipotropic factors–twice a day (liver support)
14. Detoxication factors–twice a day (liver support)
15. UltraResveratrol–twice a day (antioxidant)
16. Cyto-Redoxin–twice a day (antioxidant)
17. Green Tea Extract–twice a day (antioxidant)
18. Host Defense–twice a day (herbal immune support)
19. Low-dose aspirin–81 mg, once a day (heart attack/stroke prevention)

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