Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Healthy Tuesday - Super Supplements

I borrowed this from Dr. Andrew Weil's website. Do you know which vitamin supplement he is describing here:

It is known mostly for its role in building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, but it is also required for proper functioning of the heart, muscles, and nervous system. It plays a role in maintaining normal blood pressure, regulating blood clotting, and preventing cancers of the digestive tract. It is also associated with relieving mood swings, food cravings, and decreasing the pain, tenderness and bloating associated with premenstrual syndrome.

Sounds like a miracle vitamin, eh?

And how about the supplement that usually accompanies it?

It helps maintain muscles, nerves, and bones, and studies have shown that a diet rich in this supplement may help protect against metabolic syndrome, a combination of risk factors that can lead to diabetes and heart disease. It promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism.

Have you guessed it yet? Calcium and Magnesium

You knew calcium was good for your bones and teeth, but what about that other stuff?  Blood pressure? Reducing PMS symptoms? Preventing cancers? And combined with the benefits of magnesium - they are like the Dynamic Duo!

Problems with energy - Magnesium
Problems with mood swings - Calcium
Problems in the bathroom (no details needed) - Calcium AND Magnesium
Problems with blood pressure or blood clots - Calcium
Problems with bloating - Calcium

The way out bodies store and use calcium is amazing! When we are young (think growing years), our bodies work like an ant in the summer, and saves a ton of calcium. In fact, it is working to store the back-up supply of calcium that we will need for the rest of our lives. So when we stop growing, you stop storing calcium. From that point on, you are a user and not a saver.

This is important to note if you have young kids in your house, like I do. We are "dairy free" so we need to work extra hard to get calcium (and magnesium and Vitamin D) into the diets of our kiddos.  They are storing their lifetime supply as I type this blog.

So, now that we aren't young (well, at least as far as storing and using calcium is concerned) we need to make sure we get enough calcium from our diets. Otherwise, our bodies will start to use it from the storehouses - our bones and teeth. I don't know about you - but I like having teeth and strong bones!

Naturally, we can get calcium from foods we eat such as:
  • Dairy foods
    • milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese
  • Non-dairy foods
    • Salmon , Tofu, Rhubarb, Sardines, Collard greens, Spinach, Turnip greens, Okra, White beans, Baked beans, Broccoli, Peas, Brussel sprouts, Sesame seeds, Bok choy, Almonds
  • Vitamin Fortified Foods
    • Non-Dairy Milks (Soy, Rice, Almond), Fruit Juice, Cereals, Breads

You can also take a calcium supplement. There are a couple of things to note when taking a calcium supplement:
  • The recommended daily allowance is 1000 mg. However, you cannot absorb calcium more than 500 mg at a time. So you should take 2 doses of 500 mg per day.
  • You cannot absorb calcium (and actually will start having arthritic symptoms) if you are deficient in magnesium. So you should take a 2:1 ratio of Calcium to Magnesium (500 mg Calcium and 250 mg Magnesium).
  • You also need to have Vitamin D in order to absorb the Calcium. You should take 400 IU daily, so you can split this into 2 doses daily and take it at the same time as the Calcium. NOTE: Your body also makes its own Vitamin D from natural sunlight. So if you have spent the day at the pool, you do not need to take a supplement that day. Save it for the rainy days.

For more information about this and other supplements, visit Dr. Andrew Weil's website. There is a ton of helpful information about supplements and healthy living.


  1. Great tips! I think a big thing many of us often misunderstand is how all of the vitamins work together and how our body absorbs them best.

  2. I agree with Brenna! Great tips, & I also like how you added how you can get these vitamins in food! Thanks for linking this up with Healthy 2day Wednesdays, hope you'll link up again soon!


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