Thursday, June 22, 2006

Brain nutrition

So I was hanging out at my favorite coffeeshop and I ran into a friend, and we had a chat about dietary supplements. His ever-increasing regimen (he rattled off the names of 20-30 substances he takes every single day) has done wonders for his psyche and physical well-being. I don't want to breach any confidentialities, but let's just say that after three days of taking his supplements he woke up with a very physical manifestation of better health. Since that fateful morning, he's put in copious amounts of research through internet sites and the books he's subsequently ordered. When I asked him if this was a passing infatuation or a lifelong obsession, he confidently predicted that he will be using supplements for the rest of his life.

Now in my mid-thirties I find myself considering what possible steps I could take to feel better as I age. There are all the usual suspects... eliminate my glaring bad habit(s) , get regular exercise, eat breakfast, buy quality food and learn how to prepare it well, etc. But always, always is the temptation to look for a shortcut. Could I limp into better health simply by buying and taking pills regularly? Is this what modern technology has done for us? As my friend pointed out, all these chemicals already pre-exist in foods, but where and how much has been mitigated by over-processing and how much other unnecessary crap are we getting along with the vital nutrients? Simply put... how much FOOD is in our food? Do you trust the FDA? How about the corporations that manufacture our food and drugs?

I found out from my friend that there are actually co-ops that buy bulk quantities of these supplements. The pharmaceutical companies aren't trying that hard to make these available at an affordable price. But folks are resourceful.

While a bit more than merely intrigued, I couldn't really imagine me putting the time and effort into this as my friend has. So I asked him what supplements he thought he would pick if he was limited to just five. The following is his list:

Acetyl-L-Carnitine
R-Alpha-Lipoic Acid
Sulbutiamine
Twinlab LPP Predigested Protein
Good ol' Vitamin C (he suggests 3 or more grams a day)

Round that out with a decent multivitamin... and better living through chemistry.

What do y'all think? Chime in by commenting...

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