Eat Drink Be Healthy

Dear Dr. Watts,
I am 63 and have been taking vitamins and working
out four to fi ve times a week but feel like maybe I am
overtaking vitamins. Sometimes after a hard workout,
I have leg pains after a hard work out and do not sleep
well. I would like to know what vitamins I should be
taking and how many per day?
—Karen Cobb

You are not alone in your concern in overtaking vitamins and in
wondering how to support your active body through post-workout,
recovery and restorative rest phases. It is important to know what your
body needs. But how do you do that? You make observations on the
nuances of your body throughout your day and you test. There are a
number of reasons for leg pain. Some pain can be referred pain from
your spine, others can be entrapped nerves in an inflamed muscle,
yet others can be from a nutrient deficiency or imbalance. Sleeping
well is vital to cellular regeneration and adrenal and immune system
function. Your not sleeping well may be due to nutrient deficiencies
and imbalance, adrenal dysfunction, or a disconnection between how
your brain and adrenal glands communicate. You may find you have
inflammation or need electrolytes and protein, and it is manifesting
in post-workout pain and poor sleep. While I am not overseeing your
particular case, these are questions to ask your skilled, health care
professional. Having some fairly basic blood work tested can illuminate
areas of dysfunction and deficiency. From there, an intervention can be
customized for you.

So where do supplements containing vitamins, minerals and herbs fit
in? Using highest-quality supplements with appropriate and informed
dosing strategies certainly has its benefits for people with deficiencies
and disease processes that warrant support. We live in a region where
vitamin D-inducing sunshine and omega 3-laden fresh fish aren’t
available a lot of the time. Enter vitamins, minerals, enzymes, herbs, oils
and bacteria. Choosing good quality vitamin D3 and a DHA-weighted
omega 3 supplements can be hugely beneficial when taken appropriately
and when a genuine need has been identified through testing. Green
nutrients like chlorella, spirulina, and kelp can provide high-potency
anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals if you are consistently missing the
mark with vegetables and fruits. However, it is vitally important to look
at food as a primary means of nutrition. Food first, supplements second,
and only after you know exactly what and how much your body needs.

Food diversity is more important than just choosing a new vegetable
here and there; it is essential to the optimal function of every organ
system in the body. The variety of color and texture in fresh fruits and
vegetables provide all the enzymes, phytochemicals, and fibers needed
to work together to give complete nutrition to the body. The same is
true with informed choices in lean animal proteins, nuts and seeds.
Real foods, not food-like substitutions or dietary supplements, support
the body’s true building blocks.

Contain lycopene, a phytochemical that
may help protect against prostate and
breast cancer, as well as benefit the
heart, memory, and urinary tract.

Full of anthocyanins and
proanthocyanins, antioxidants that help
with nervous system and heart health.
Inulin promotes GI-tract health.

Contains alpha and beta carotenes that
the body uses to make the active form
of vitamin A, which supports eye, bone,
and immune system health.

Rich in lutein, zeaxanthin, beta carotenes,
indoles, and isothiocyanates that
promote eye health, decrease cancer
risk, and promote clearing of toxins.

These anthoxanthin- and allicin-rich
foods help to lower cholesterol and
blood pressure. They also help to reduce
risk of heart disease and stomach cancer.

Do you have a question that needs
answering? Get in touch with Dr.
Kristen Watts to start the conversation:
nutrition@wedge.coop.