Supplements; Essential as We Age
Supplements become more important as the years go by. As we age our nutritional needs increase. At the same time, our caloric needs decrease. We can make up some of that difference by cutting out the junk foods and high calorie desserts that we indulged in when we were young and thin. In fact, if we want to maintain a healthy weight, that change in our eating habits is essential. Fortunately, Nature gives us a helping hand here, because most adults dislike the intensely sugared cravings of their youth. In addition, fried or overly rich foods often tend to give mature adults some form of gastric distress, indigestion, or an overly “full” feeling.
It’s not possible with the average industrial age lifestyle to age well without supplements. Because we don’t usually walk for miles each day or perform manual labor. There will always be athletes who can consume a 3500 calorie diet who could arguably not need to supplement their diets. In practice, though, they are the first to reach for supplements to increase their energy levels and general health. The average person, even one who eats a great diet, will find that their health gradually deteriorates without adding “a little extra” into their diet. It’s simply impossible with modern farming and food distribution to eat a perfect diet on the limited amount of calories consumed by mature adults over age 40. Without supplements the body will crave extra food and extra calories that cause weight gain.
There are three vitamin deficiencies that most commonly cause serious problems and can easily be corrected with supplements. This short list does not include vitamin C supplements. Almost everyone knows enough to supplement with vitamin C, because we are the only mammal who doesn’t make vitamin C in our bodies. These supplements are not for correcting B-12, folic acid, or iron deficiencies. Because the standard medical profession is very, very good at testing and detecting these deficiencies. For the same reason vitamin D isn’t one of the three hidden deficiencies that can absolutely shorten your lifespan and cause countless health problems. The good doctors routinely test for vitamin D deficiencies now, and a person would have to have been living under a rock for the past decade to not know about vitamin D deficiencies.
The most common vitamin deficiency that medical tests don’t reveal is a deficiency of calcium. Blood tests will almost always show a constant of calcium in your bloodstream. Because your body must maintain a balanced PH at all times to survive. And it buffers acidity with calcium. Without supplements your body will pull calcium from the most available and most “disposable” sources in terms of survival. A “disposable source” is one where you could overcome a short-term deficiency by replacing the missing calcium, or a place that the body would reluctantly sacrifice. Your body will pull some of this absent calcium from the bones. The hardened skeleton that most people are familiar with is actually a poor representation of living bone. Living bone is a factory of red blood cell production in the bone marrow and a resilient storage of minerals which is constantly donating and rebuilding those minerals in the body. When too much mineralization is removed without replacement the bones become porous and weak. The bones are prone to fracture and to break easily. This condition is termed osteoporosis (porous bones) as if it were a disease instead of simple long term depletion. Osteoporosis is simply taking more from the bone bank than you are replacing.
Long before osteoporosis becomes evident the body sacrifices at another, less critical, place than bone structure; the teeth. This starts with slight signs, such as increased tooth decay as the body doesn’t have enough calcium to rebuild the teeth. The bones holding the teeth in place are also subtly diminished. The tooth becomes more porous and sensitive to hot and cold foods and liquids. Eventually enough calcium has been withdrawn from the teeth that they begin to crack under the pressure of hard objects (shells, pieces of bone) that would not have been an obstacle in previous years. Eventually there is enough bone loss in the teeth and jaw that the root becomes compromised with bacteria that can now work its’ way in through porosity of bone. Teeth loosen and eventually die and fall out or must be removed.
Even a slight calcium deficiency can cause tension and cravings for food. This tension is a natural response to demineralization and acidity in the blood. The cravings and the acidity also create weight gain. The body has no choice but to store the excess acid in fat cells. The liposuction doctors have said for years that the excess fat they remove is extremely acidic. The foods craved are often associated with childhood satiation; high calorie puddings, ice cream, cheese and dairy based dishes such as macaroni and cheese. The demineralization also creates cravings such as pica (eating of chalk, plaster, other non-food items). The irresistible desire for salty and crunchy foods such as potato chips is also a form of pica. Your ancestors would have chewed on bones and gristle and cracked bones for marrow. The more refined foods in a diet, the more acidic the blood becomes. A high protein diet produces varying degrees of ketosis, or acidity. This is balanced in more subsistence based societies with a higher ratio of calcium bearing vegetables to protein. Protein is an expensive condiment in many societies and vegetables are the staple. The people in these societies tend to have strong bones and solid teeth even into extreme old age without supplements.
Calcium supplementation for the over-40 age group isn’t simple. The most common form of calcium supplement, calcium carbonate, is poorly absorbed. The body has often lost the ability to transform calcium carbonate into a biologically useful form because of a chronic lack of enzymes. These enzymes might be low due to a diet lacking enough variety of vegetables, low quality of vegetables (such as canned), or not enough vegetables. The ability to create enzymes can be compromised by challenges such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowl syndrome, celiac disease, or any other form of gut inflammation. A simple course of antibiotics has the potential to disrupt the enzymatic process, sometimes for many years.
The answer is to use a microcrystalline calcium hydroxyapatite supplement. This is a calcium that is easily used by the body both to support PH levels and to build bone and teeth. The brand that I recommend is Bone Maximizer III by MRM. With the caveat that the dosage instructions on the bottle are too high. Calcium supplements over 1000mg runs the risk that your body will store excess calcium in soft tissues. Two capsules of Bone Maximizer III provide 800mg. of calcium, which is the correct dose for this form of highly absorbed calcium. To supply the body with a constant calcium load, these capsules should be taken as one at breakfast and the second at bedtime. This supplement also contains important minerals such as zinc, boron, and magnesium to support improved bone density. The vitamin D3 in this supplement increases calcium absorption. It’s also essential to improve the diet with an increase in the amount and variety of vegetables. This reduces acidity and encourages weight loss. Prebiotic and probiotic foods and supplements can greatly improve the intestinal flora to increase calcium absorption. With calcium supplements, a diet more alkalized with vegetables, and probiotics, body weight will normalize.
To be continued next week: The second essential supplement