Your Ideal Supplement Plan in 3 Easy Steps : The Essential Guide to Choosing the Herbs, Vitamins and Minerals That Are Right for You

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 2000-02-01
  • Publisher: Dell
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List Price: $5.99


Do you know which supplements are best for you? Are you overwhelmed by confusing, often contradictory information about vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other supplements? Help is here at last in this simple, effective 3-step plan designed to restore and maintain optimum health with supplements tailored to your specific needs. You'll get comprehensive information on over seventy-five supplements and herbs, their use, function, and forms, how to take them, and possible side effects...plus specific supplement recommendations for over sixty-five common ailments from arteriosclerosis to varicose veins...and easy-to-follow charts to help you create and individualize your own supplement plan. Learn: From acidophilus to zinc, what to take, what to avoid and why...including information on dosage and timing How to avoid interactions with prescription medication How to evaluate your special nutritional needs The most effective supplement forms in the crowded marketplace PLUS the latest facts on which specific supplements can help prevent, treat, or cure acne, colds and flu, glaucoma, headache and migraine, herpes, insomnia, macular degeneration, shingles, sinusitis, varicose veins, and more....

Author Biography

Deborah Mitchell is a writer and editor whose medical and health-related articles have appeared in consumer and professional journals. She is the author of numerous health books, including <b>Peak Performance</b>, <b>Nature's Aphrodisiacs</b>, <b>Natural Medicine for PMS</b>, <b>Natural Medicine for Weight Loss</b>, and <b>Natural Medicine for Back Pain</b>, all available from Dell.<br><br>Deborah Mitchell lives in Tucson, Arizona.



Supplements can be the best insurance policy you ever buy. They give you the power to attain and maintain the most precious thing you can ever possess--your health. Just as important as having the physical supplements in your possession and taking them are the emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits you experience from knowing you are taking an active part in creating balance and health for yourself.

In the Introduction you learned some basic things about supplements and why you need them. In this section you can learn about the most commonly used supplements and how they are helpful, what forms to buy, how to use them, what side effects and interactions to look for, foods that contain the nutrient (if applicable), signs of deficiency (if applicable), and precautions.

A Note about "What to Buy": The majority of supplements are available in more than one form; some in as many as eight or ten. Not all forms are equally effective, which is why "What to Buy" lets you know which ones are more beneficial. In addition, where applicable it lists "Other Helpful Supplements" forms for those who cannot obtain readily the recommended forms in their area or who prefer to take the alternative forms.

When purchasing supplements sight unseen via mail order or the Internet, get as much information about the products as you can by calling the company's customer service department. Comparison-shop: check out several suppliers; look for advertisements in health and nutrition publications; ask your physician, pharmacist, and knowledgeable staff in health food stores. Read labels carefully and research the options. Sometimes a store brand may serve your needs just as well as a higher-priced national label.

An explanation of several terms you will see often in this section will be helpful. Standardized and standardized extract are used to describe many herbal supplements. Standardized means that the herb form is guaranteed to contain a predetermined, or standardized, level of active ingredients. A standardized extract can be a solid, liquid, or powder. Any form of an herb can be standardized; however, not all manufacturers have adopted this practice. Whenever possible, buy the standardized form of the herb(s) you have chosen to take, as it is the preferred and more effective form of an herb.

Some herbs can be taken as an "infusion" or a "decoction." Both forms are prepared similarly to teas, with two important differences: in both cases more herb is used than in ordinary tea; and the herb is allowed to steep longer. These differences make infusions and decoctions much more potent than average tea. Infusions are prepared from the soft parts of the herb--leaves, flowers, and berries. Decoctions are made from the hard parts--bark, roots, and stems.

A Note about "How to Use": The doses provided in the "How to Use" section are a general guide. Because there are many different manufacturers of supplement products and various potencies, it is necessary to read the dosing directions on each product before you use it. For more detailed dosing information, refer to the specific condition (in bold type) you are treating. Check the package instructions and consult with your health-care provider before taking any supplement.

The dosage instructions have been drawn from a wide variety of authoritative sources, including highly regarded medical practitioners and institutions. For a complete list of sources, see page 228. Doses are given in milligrams (mg, or thousandths of a gram); micrograms (mcg, or millionths of a gram); and milliliters (mL, or thousandths of a liter). See Appendix C for measurement conversions.


Acidophilus Acidophilus (Lactobacillus acidophilus) is a type of beneficial bacteria that resides in the colon and vagina. Acidophilus helps destroy bad bacteria, promotes the growth of good bacteria, improves digestion, and boosts the immune system. One common use of acidophilus is in the prevention and treatment of yeast infections (see vaginitis), which can inhabit the intestines as well as other organs in the body. Acidophilus is also used to treat and prevent athlete's foot, canker sores, chronic fatigue syndrome, diarrhea, diverticulitus, fibrocystic breast disease, herpes, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and urinary tract infections.

Acidophilus is the main beneficial bacteria in the small intestine, where it replenishes the colonies of good bacteria. Regular supplementation with acidophilus can help maintain a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria and thus inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms, especially among women who are susceptible to yeast infections. Individuals who are especially likely to be deficient in good bacteria are those taking antibiotics or eating a poor diet, or anyone experiencing diarrhea, especially chronic cases. Active live cultures of acidophilus are found in some brands of yogurt and in acidophilus milk, but the concentration of acidophilus is higher in the supplement.

What to Buy: Powder and liquid extract are preferred. Acidophilus is available with either a dairy (cow or goat milk) or nondairy (carrot juice, apple pectin) base. The nondairy form is recommended, especially if you are or suspect you may be lactose intolerant. Although acidophilus is also sold as a combination product containing more than one strain of lactobacilli, most experts recommend using a single-strain product. Look for brands that tell you specifically how many CFUs (colony-forming units) you get per dose (see "How to Use"). Do not buy any product that uses the preservative BHT.

Also available as a capsule, tablet (chewable), and softgel.

How to Use: The recommended daily dose depends on whether you are treating a condition, such as a yeast infection, or whether you are using it for preventive purposes. Acidophilus should be taken on an empty stomach and one hour before meals. The typical dosage is 1-2 billion CFUs per day, which generally means any one of the following forms three times a day: 2 Tbs powder in cool liquid (not hot); or 1 Tbs liquid extract. See individual medical entries for specific dosages.

Possible Side Effects and Precautions: No side effects have been reported. People who have an intestinal disorder should consult their physician before taking acidophilus. Because heat can kill acidophilus, store the supplement in the refrigerator, and do not take it in hot or warm liquids. Be aware of the expiration date on the bottle, because the bacteria must be alive to be beneficial.

Interactions: Use of acidophilus may help promote production of folic acid, biotin, vitamin B, and niacin.

Excerpted from Your Ideal Supplement Plan in 3 Easy Steps: The Essential Guide to Choosing the Herbs, Vitamins and Minerals That Are Right for You by Deborah Mitchell
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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