There are many fallacies about taking vitamin and mineral supplements and the health benefits they offer. At Helou Chiropractic we don’t like to recommend that people take any supplements without first eating a balanced diet. But there are a few exceptions. Here’s the bottom line on the supplements you should add to your daily routine, but before you do, be sure to check with your GP - especially if you are taking prescriptive medications or have special health concerns.
Fish or Krill Oil
The first exception is an Omega 3 fish oil supplement that everyone should be taking daily. Every single cell in our bodies benefits from the Omega 3 fatty acids they offer, but they’re especially great for brain and heart health and decreased inflammation and other generalised pain. Omega 3 fatty acids can also effectively accelerate the fat burning process when combined with diet and exercise.
Opt for a high-quality omega-3 supplement. One of the best sources of omega-3 fats is from Antarctic krill oil. Although high-quality fish oils will do as well, they are highly perishable and can easily become rancid inside of your body if you don’t get enough antioxidants. Krill oil, on the other hand has endogenous antioxidants right in it, which greatly reduces any concerns of rancidity.
Food sources: Atlantic salmon, mackerel and anchovies are especially good sources. Flax seed oil, beans (mainly black beans and kidney beans), walnuts, omega 3 enriched eggs and dairy foods, grass-fed meat.
Our bodies make vitamin D naturally when exposed to sunlight, but that may not be enough. Small amounts of vitamin D can also be found in food sources such as fish, liver and eggs, but it’s almost impossible to get all your vitamin D from food. A deficiency can lead to symptoms of fatigue and immune response issues. Supplementing with vitamin D3 can help boost your immune defenses and help ward off sicknesses like the flu and cold.
Most of us are deficient, so ask your GP to test your D levels so you know your baseline before taking supplements. If you do need supplements, look for D3 which is the kind that is best absorbed by the body.
Food sources: Wild salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, and eggs.
Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria in the form of a nutritional supplement or fermented food, which can be taken in an attempt to replace or supplement damaged indigenous gut flora. Probiotics are essential to balance between the good and bad bacteria in our gut, and many of us are deficient when it comes to the good kind. This imbalance hinders our digestion, causing poor absorption of nutrients and a possible decrease in our immune response.
While a healthy diet is the ideal way to maintain a healthy gut, regularly consuming traditionally fermented or cultured foods is the easiest way to ensure optimal gut flora. Healthy options include fermented vegetables like cabbage and carrot and fermented milk such as kefir or yogurt (but not commercial kinds which are typically loaded with sugars that feed pathogenic bacteria).
That being said, if you don’t enjoy the taste of fermented foods, taking a high quality probiotic supplement is advised. A good probiotic on average increases absorption rate of nutrients from food by 50% or more. Look for a supplement that delivers:
Vitamins and minerals
With the advent of ‘health pills’ in our society today, taking a daily multivitamin has become popular, that even a lot of foods you buy at the supermarket are now fortified with vitamins and minerals to compensate for the loss of those nutrients in food processing. However, a lot of these supplemented nutrients are synthetic. Our body has been designed to use natural forms of these nutrients and often do not recognise the synthetic forms and doesn't know what to do with them.
In addition, many supplements on the market have a very low absorption rate – some even as low as 9%, so the amount you get is actually way below what it says on the bottle. The absorption of supplements is a complicated process which, apart from the quality of the supplement, also depends on the state of a person’s digestive system. Two different people may absorb different amounts of nutrients from the same supplement. To complicate this further, many nutrients compete for absorption sites in the gut. So, if we supplement too much calcium for example, it may impair absorption of other nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, copper iron, and some amino acids, creating deficiencies in those nutrients.
This is a very complex and confusing area of nutrition. The truth being that there is not enough research or knowledge on vitamin prescription. Ideally you would get your vitamins and minerals from a well balanced diet consisting of nutrient dense foods.
If you want to take a multivitamin and mineral supplement to fill in some blanks in your diet, not to re-write the whole nutritional story, then we suggest you invest in a high quality product, based on whole foods. And, where possible, try to keep supplementation to a minimum. For example if you don’t eat dairy or have iron absorption problems, you can choose to add some calcium or an iron supplement but for the most part, we recommend that you get your vitamins and minerals from a plate and not in a pill!
Food sources: A well balanced diet consisting of: green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, fresh fruits, beans, lentils, raw nuts and seeds, whole grains like oats, barely, and buckwheat, quinoa, bulgur, rice, fish, eggs, chicken, red meat etc.
Yours in good health,
The team at Helou Chiropractic
High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short, describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less intense activity or even complete rest.
Research shows you can achieve more progress in 15-20 minutes of this type of interval training (done 2- 3 times per week) than the person jogging on the treadmill for an hour. And according to a 2011 study at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, just two weeks of HIIT improves your aerobic capacity as much as six to eight weeks of endurance training. One of our favourite HIIT exercises is the Peak 8 workout, which can get you great fitness results in only 20 minute's time (done 2-3 times per week).
What is Peak 8?
Peak 8 is a type of HIIT that was introduced by Dr. Joseph Mercola in 2010. You have three different types of muscle fibers: slow, fast, and super fast. A marathon runner will mostly use the slow twitch muscle fibers, while Peak 8 exercises largely involve the fast twitch fibers. This has a very different effect on your body and health. Typically with a Peak 8 workout you will be able to lose more fat and gain more strength and muscle while only doing the exercise for 20 minutes 2-3 times per week.
Dr. Mercola suggests using a recumbent bike and doing Peak 8 exercises, but we find that those bikes put your hips lower than your knees which pushes your body forward, which is not ideal. We recommend that you use a cross trainer, rower, treadmill or simply an upright exercise bike. If you are in great physical shape you can also sprint outside, although this is more of an advanced technique and injuries are more common.
Benefits of Peak 8
Besides the obvious benefit of very quick workouts, Peak 8 exercises effectively and naturally increase your human growth hormone (HGH). HGH is largely correlated to how healthy and strong you are, and will help lower body fat and increase muscle tone.
Once you reach your 30′s, HGH levels start to decline. By using Peak 8 and using your fast twitch fibers you will cause a big production of HGH following a workout.
The Peak 8 workout
You don’t technically need any equipment, although personally we like to use the cross trainer.
1. First you warm up for 3 to 5 minutes
2. Then go all out and hard as you can for 30 seconds
3. Recover for 90 seconds (go slow)
4. Repeat 7 more times, for a total of 8 repetitions.
5. Cool down for at least 3 minutes, and you're done
Now depending on your fitness level, start out with less than 8 reps. This is a very intense exercise, so don’t push too hard in the beginning — work your way up slowly. If you have heart disease or other health concerns please get cleared by your doctor.
If you suffer from back, hip or knee pain, you may want to wait until you've had some chiropractic treatments in order to correct your structural problem.
Getting the most out of your Peak 8 workout
The content of Peak Health for Every Body blog are for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.