Friday, September 5, 2008

Do I have to take a vitamin?

The american dietetic association is conservative in its suggestions to the public about nutrition in the US. With gas prices forcing people to work longer hours or second jobs, most americans who ate poorly before are now diving into fast food, stress eating or binging after a 12 hour shifts. Kids will follow when at home by themselves or in the care of a non-kitchen friendly guardian. (My brother in law used to joke by saying he would watch the kids by pouring a large bowl of cereal and placing a few boxes of juice box drinks in front of the tv/xbox for the time I was at work....I still wonder if he was kidding or not). Poor nutrition with higher stress living asks the body to go into fight or flight for extended periods of the day. An average human will have enough endorphin and adrenalin to sustain bursts for about a day but then after that, body store depleation. That would be depleation of glucose, glycogen (sounds good for weight loss!) but also neurotransmitters, body steriods controlling bodily function (like pooping, eating, concentration and sleep) and then those nasty hormones responsible for laughing, love and good sex.

Bottom line is that we learn poor eating in high school, keep it up in college, take it to work and teach it to our kids. Vitamins are necessary to sustain a basic level of function when an adult is eating 4 meals of low cholesterol, low fat, high fiber with 3-10 pieces of fruits and/or veggies daily. The average person reading this doesn't eat that way. Personally, I have to go to whole foods, dominics, jewel and target to find the best choices for fruits and veggies and not go broke every month. I like to say I do it for my kids but my fibromyalgia is under control, back pain is gone and I can still do 60 minutes of cardio with 30 min of yoga without needing medicine for blood pressure, inflammation or joint pain.

All these diet and supplement suggestions you hear are for an average american with an average diet. Those that carry medical problems and take medicines to control them need more supplements. (My average patient seen in the ER has 2-3 medical problems, 1-2 medicine they are taking and is under 45 years of age.) It funny that the average patient on cholesterol lowering medicine doesn't follow a low cholesterol diet! Average patient with early diabetes doesn't know how many calories or carbs they are taking daily. Average arthitis sufferer doesn't loose weight or participate in yoga or taichi.

Watch my next post to figure how to pick a supplement.