You can’t replace a healthy diet or exercise with nutritional supplements, but supplements can provide nutrients that your diet might be lacking such as calcium, fiber, vitamin D and in vegetarians, B12, carnitine, and iron. Most people over-consume sodium and saturated fats, refined grains, processed foods, added sugars, and don’t eat enough vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
In fact, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee states there is a shortfall of nutrients consumed in the American diet including vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium. In adolescent and premenopausal women, iron is a common deficiency. Iron and B12 deficiencies are also common among postmenopausal women who don’t eat a lot of red meat.
Medications can also deplete your body of certain vitamins and nutrients. For example, if you are taking a statin to lower cholesterol, you may be deficient in CoQ10. If you are taking birth control pills, you may be deficient in B vitamins. Even antibiotics, high blood pressure medications, diabetic medications, antidepressants, and anti-inflammatories, can deplete your body of important nutrients.
Supplements are regulated, but not as strictly as prescriptions or over-the-counter medications. Manufacturers do not have to prove that their supplements are safe or effective before they are marketed.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements following the policy of Good Manufacturing Practices. This requires supplement companies show that their supplements are processed consistently and meet manufacturing standards.
Other than looking for GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) labeling on a product, you can also look for other certifications and ask for information about purity and standardization (that the amount on the label is actually contained in a product). This is important when choosing a supplement.
The best way to get a good, quality supplement is to ask your doctor or healthcare professional what they would recommend. The determination will be based on your age, sex, diet, lifestyle, medical conditions, medications, genetic predispositions, and personal health goals. You should also look for scientific research that supports the claim of what a given supplement may do for you. And you should do testing to determine your nutritional needs.
At Preventative Wellness MD, Dr. Petruzzelli recommends SpectraCell micronutrient testing and other testing to scientifically assess your nutritional deficiencies. The SpectraCell blood test measures more than 30 nutritional components including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids within your white blood cells. An analysis of the white blood cells provides an accurate overview of a body’s nutrient status over the past 4-8 months. It reflects how vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are functioning within the white blood cells or immune cells of the body. It also can give information on metabolic function and measure antioxidant function. Antioxidant function helps to determine how your body can protect itself from free radicals and other oxidative stresses which cause aging and disease. Immune function shows how the body recognizes and defends itself against bacteria, viruses, and substances that appear foreign and harmful (including cancer).
Tests for B6, B12, homocysteine, and folate, can help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Other nutrients such as CoQ10, carnitine, and B12 help with energy production. Eye health, heart health, bone health, metabolic health, and joint support can all be improved with vitamins, minerals, and other supplements if deficient.
Dr. Petruzzelli will use SpectraCell analysis and other tests to identify deficiencies and recommend nutraceutical grade supplements in a customized program based on your nutritional needs. She will also take into account any medical conditions, medications, diet, and genetic predispositions. At Preventative Wellness MD, we use nutraceuticals that follow Good Manufacturing Practices and offer only the highest standards for quality and ingredients.
With professional guidance based on your personal testing results, you can form a plan to add, maintain, or delete specifics that will enhance your health, resulting in overall improvements to your quality of life.
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