Sunday, July 15, 2007

You are what you eat?? Right?

I am sure we have all heard the expression “you are what you eat.” We’ve used this to apply to obesity, heart disease and overall appearance. But apparently this expression extends even further and can quite clearly affect the face you present to the world. You want to radiate energy and give off that vibrant glow that makes you stand out in a crowd. That glow isn’t a secret anymore, for it’s become common knowledge that the affect can be achieved through a diet rich in vitamin E and selenium. Vitamin E is most effectively absorbed and utilized in the body when combined with vitamin C, glutathione, selenium and vitamin B3. Foods rich in vitamin E range from sunflower seeds and almonds to mustard greens and spinach. But if you don’t eat enough of these foods, you might want to consider a supplement.

Supplements are everywhere. If you want pretty skin, more energy, better memory, better sleep…there are multiple supplements out there that claim they can do just that. And many can, but at what cost? New research discovered by the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer (NPC) trial found that increasing your selenium intake can also increase your risk for diabetes. The Annals of Internal Medicine will publish these finding in their August 21 issue. Not only do they present the latest research on the selenium supplement/diabetes link, but also point out that other supplements such as B-carotene and vitamin E have been shown to “increase mortality and morbidity.”

It can be a confusing time for consumers. New research is being rapidly published arguing the pros and cons of various supplements. Selenium is shown to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, but is also presented to possibly reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease and arthritis. So which studies are correct? The real question is, does it really matter. And the answer in most cases is no. If you are getting an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals in your daily diet, there is no need to take a supplement. If you don’t believe that you are meeting all of your needs, the best plan of action is not to run out and buy vitamins A-Z off the store shelf. It’s best to visit with your doctor, who can give you a more well-rounded (and knowledgeable) indication of how to best meet your nutritional needs via supplements or otherwise. Avoid the controversy and focus on one body of evidence in nutrition…your own. And if that body truly needs supplements, has exactly what you need.

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