With all the information available, how do you go about setting up a personal dietary supplement program for yourself? There are so many different supplements and so many approaches to health programs that it may seem confusing. Many sources of information on supplements will tell you of the value of some of them, but will leave you unsure of where to begin your own program. Because of this confusion, many people give up in frustration, but it is important to your health to get started now.
In this chapter you will find some basic guidelines and some sample programs for health enhancement and preventive medicine. You will also find some sample treatment programs for specific conditions. Consider them as guidelines, not prescriptions. When reading these recommendations, always keep in mind that your particular needs may require more or less than what you see here. This is for both the specific supplements you might need and the amounts of any one of them.
If you are a physician, remember: it is an error to try to treat diagnoses rather than people. Everyone is an individual, and frequently health problems occur in combinations. There are also specific life situations that demand personal attention in designing a health program. Keep this in mind when recommending supplements or any other health program for your patients. More physician training is available in this field, especially through the American College for Advancement in Medicine.
Supplements Are Supplements
First, a reminder that supplements are just that: additions to a healthy diet and support for many health practices. They neither replace good foods nor eliminate the need for exercise and stress management, laughter and a positive attitude. I have often known people who think that supplements could relieve them of the discipline required to change their health habits. No one health practice cures or prevents all illness and degeneration, even though any one of them will help to some degree.
Second, remember to keep any health program simple enough to follow. If you make it too complex, chances are you will fall off the program and lose all of the potential benefits. Take any dietary supplements at breakfast, dinner or bedtime, unless you have unusual discipline and can remember lunchtime doses. There is some small benefit in absorption of nutrients from dividing your intake of water-soluble supplements into three daily doses, but not if you do not remember to take them.
If you do not eat breakfast, it is time to reconsider your health habits, since breakfast is an important meal. Even if it is just a piece of fruit with some whole grain toast and a few almonds, or some whole grain cereal, try to eat something to start your day. If you absolutely cannot face food before noon, take the first dose of supplements with your lunch, and the second dose with your evening meal at least 6–8 hours later.
For general preventive medicine, you may wish to start with the basic supplements essential for health promotion, assuming you are in good health. These would be the Basic Multiple formula, some extra vitamins C and E, and probably some natural carotenes. The extra E and carotenes can be taken any time of day, since they are fat soluble and not rapidly turned over. If you do not divide the water-soluble supplements into at least two doses per day, some of them will be less well-absorbed and excreted more rapidly. They will still benefit you, but perhaps not as much. If you are concerned that you might not tolerate some of the supplements because of unusual sensitivities, you might wish to start with one at a time for a few days. If you wish, take one formula, as indicated below, for 2 or 3 days, and if there is no problem with that one add another for 2 or 3 days, and so on. The following table represents such a basic supplement program: