What Supp?? Find out in Dr. Michael A. Smith’s “The Supplement Pyramid”
I’ve got some exciting news for my readers! Several weeks ago I became a participant in Life Extension Foundation’s blogger program. As such, I will periodically receive complimentary products from Life Extension to review and share with my readers. (If you want to learn more about Life Extension Foundation, click here.) Most recently they provided me with a couple of copies of The Supplement Pyramid, a new book by Life Extension’s Senior Health Scientist, Michael A. Smith, M.D., hoping that I would review it in this blog. (I’m going to give away the extra copy to one of my lucky readers! Read on for more info.)
First, I’ll be honest. I am a big fan of Life Extension Foundation both for their detailed research into wellness and aging and for their high-quality supplemental nutrients. I recommend many of their products to my clients and I use many in my own health regimen. I also have a great deal of respect for Dr. Smith’s contributions, but I have to admit that when I saw that he had written a book attempting to lend some structure to the often chaotic and confusing process of creating an individualized supplemental nutrient regimen, I chuckled under my breath. I believe that every body is so different and there are far too many variables to consider to make any generalizations whatsoever when determining what supplements are most beneficial for most. There are all types of people out there, each with their own unique circumstances, each with their own unique source of motivation. Each just plain unique.
But you know what? Dr. Smith did it. He actually managed cover the variables and, at the same time, squeeze just about all of the complexity out of building one’s own personalized nutritional regimen to create a simple and understandable step-by-step process that will allow just about anyone to take control of their health! So let me tell you a little bit about it . . .
One thing that I appreciated about “The Supplement Pyramid” was that Dr. Smith began by detailing why he believes we need nutritional supplements in the first place. It’s been my experience that many individuals feel that supplements aren’t necessary if they consume a healthy diet. I’ve spent quite a bit of time on Dr. Smith’s side of that argument, spouting off facts and figures as to why food today, no matter how healthy and whole, lacks the nutrient density that it once boasted back in the day. Suffice it to say that Dr. Smith has explained this and the effects of our modern-day toxic burdens like artificial ingredients and other chemicals much better than I ever could. In fact, I learned a thing or two from Chapter 1 that I can now add to my pro-supplement arsenal.
It is likely that, by Chapter 2, the reader will be convinced of the necessity of nutrient supplementation for optimal health. So at that point Dr. Smith takes the time to educate the reader on the process of deciphering the overall quality of a supplement, a critical though easily overlooked component of choosing supplements. As with most things, the necessary information is out there, you just have to follow Dr. Smith’s advice and do some digging (or take advantage of his digging and simply choose from the list of recommended supplement companies in the back of the book.)
Once it is understood that not all supplements are created equal, it’s time to get into the meat of the program. Dr. Smith advocates modeling your personalized supplement program after a three-level pyramid, with the bottom level representing the “Foundation Level” that includes a few of the most important nutrients from which almost everyone can benefit. Now some people may want to stop with those, based on their age and health status. But I venture to guess that the majority of readers will want to build on that foundation with the Personalization Level.
The Personalization Level is the point at which that “uniqueness” that I spoke of earlier is acknowledged. The goal of this level of the pyramid is prevention of or support for health issues that are of specific concern to you. Dr. Smith includes a variety of checklists as well as personal and family medical inventories that simplify the process of selecting supplements at this stage. At the end of each inventory or quiz, Dr. Smith makes multiple supplement and lifestyle suggestions, as well as specific lab tests that you may want to consider, based on your results.
Once you have established those nutrients that will support your unique health concerns, it is time to move to the top of the pyramid – The Optimization Level. Dr. Smith refers to the supplements at this level the “icing on the cake.” These nutrients are not critical to good health per se, but they focus on the longevity, targeting anti-aging – in other words, extra support to attempt to “reverse the biological clock” so to speak!
By the end of the chapter on The Optimization Level, I had already found quite a bit of value in the book and was prepared to give it a well-deserved positive review. I didn’t expect, and was pleasantly surprised by, the continued detail that followed in the next chapter: Disease Supplement Pyramids. For any of you who believe that you’re too ill to benefit from nutritional intervention, please be sure to read this chapter thoroughly. Here Dr. Smith details supportive recommendations for the most common ailments . . . cancer, COPD, GERD, Parkinson’s . . . the list continues.
So, do I believe that The Supplement Pyramid is worthy of a place in your health library? Absolutely! This book will provide you with the knowledge necessary to be your own well-informed health advocate. Knowledge is power and I personally can’t think of anything that I’d rather have power over than my own health and well-being!
You can purchase this book online at Life Extension Foundation or, if you’re feeling lucky, enter to win my extra copy! All you have to do is share this post via Twitter or Facebook and reply below with the supplement that you feel is the most important part of the “foundation” of your health regimen. A winner will be randomly selected on June 2nd.
* To avoid any potential interactions between medications and nutritional supplements, it is very important to consult with your doctor prior to beginning any supplement regimen.
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