How to supplement your healthy lifestyle successfully
In terms of what I consider to be the good supplements that genuinely help, firstly we need to recognise them as being supplements to good health — people still need to practise the keys to healthy living.
So let’s look at the evidence for what I call targeted supplementation. Drugs are like high-performance cars in that they take you from A to B very quickly but with the potential for killing you, whereas supplements are like a bicycle taking you from A to B more slowly but you get some exercise along the way and it’s better for your body.
You cannot have the same rules for the car that you have for the bicycle, nor can you have the same randomised control trial rules for supplements that you have for drugs.
A simple one, suitable for everyone to take every day, is a multivitamin. For the past 30 years, Harvard University has been conducting the Nurses Health Study and the Male Physicians Trial and they have looked at the multivitamin intake of the doctors and nurses involved. Up to 10 years, there was absolutely no benefit, but when you get to 10 years in the doctors, there was an 8 per cent reduction in common cancers and an 8 per cent reduction in cataracts. But if you then go to 15 years in the nurses, you see a 75 per cent reduction in bowel cancer, a 25 per cent reduction in breast cancer, and a 23 per cent reduction in cardiovascular disease — just by taking a multivitamin every day.
With the male doctors at 20-year follow-up, the multivitamin takers experienced a 44 per cent reduction in cardio disease. These are pretty powerful benefits but it shows the importance of a long-term commitment to ingesting supplements and also choosing a good-quality multivitamin that contains 400mg of folic acid.
I recommend a quality, high-strength fish oil supplement as well as a multivitamin from the age of 35 to 40 onwards, and when you get to 50, it’s best to crank up the fish oil to two capsules twice a day. It has certainly been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease over a long period of time, reducing sudden cardiac death by 50 per cent and cardio disease by 30 per cent.
When you’re around 50, it’s my view that the best supplement in the world is Bergamet (Pro Plus) which comes from the concentrated juice of Calabrian oranges and has been shown in a number of studies to have profound effects on metabolism, breaking down sugar and fat in the gut, improving microcirculation and converting one cholesterol type into another.
It’s a misconception that LDL is a ‘bad ‘cholesterol and HDL is ‘good’. LDL and HDL are divided into small and large components. Small LDL is bad for you but large LDL, which makes up most of your cholesterol, is naturally good for you and builds a healthy brain, cell membranes, metabolism, and also protects you against fatty liver, which affects a quarter of the population. Bergamet converts your small LDL to large LDL and we have published data that if you’re on a statin, you can add Bergamet and use a lower dose of statin and get a better response to your cholesterol.
You can drive the flashiest car on the planet but if you’ve got no fuel in the tank, it doesn’t work. Mitochondria is the fuel pack in our cells and if they are not producing good-quality energy, then your cells don’t work properly. The problem is when people hit about 50 and the ubiquinol in their mitochondria starts to drop and so the cells don’t get as much energy. I take 150mg ubiquinol every day purely to give me energy. Statin drugs further deplete your mitochondria and a lot of people get aches and pains in their muscles, stiffness, weakness, cramping and even loss of muscle bulk because they don’t have enough ubiquinol in their mitochondria to protect them from the damaging effects of statins.
Finally, we often talk about magnesium being a very good supplement but the best version is magnesium orotate that also increases the CoQ10 in the mitochondria.
We also need to make the distinction between ubiquinone (inactive form) and ubiquinol (active form). When you get to about 50, the enzyme that converts ubiquinone to ubiquinol starts to drop in the body so it’s relatively ineffective taking ubiquinone after the age of 50.
This is a twice-daily tablet from the juice of citrus fruits grown in southern Italy. There is a large evidence-base around this product from well recognised international journals showing clearly that Bergamet has the following properties:
- BergaMet Pro Plus activates AMP Kinase, the master metabolic switch, and therefore breaks down sugar and fat in the gut.
- It improves the microcirculation through an inhibition of PDE-3.
- It has a protective effect against fatty liver.
- It blocks cholesterol absorption in the gut, similar to Ezetrol and phytosterols.
- Although it may not have a profound effect on the overall lipid profile, it converts small LDL to large LDL and small HDL to large HDL. My group published a study in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology last year, confirming these findings.
- It is the only natural product available that positively benefits all aspects of metabolic syndrome.
Aged Garlic Extract
Wagner Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is a very different form of garlic. Naturally aged in controlled conditions, it provides the powerful benefits of garlic without the odour, and contains beneficial compounds that aren’t found in fresh garlic. It can be used to support cardiovascular health, maintain the health of the blood vessels, and may also assist in the maintenance of cholesterol within the normal range in healthy individuals.