Principle #3 – Multivitamins/Supplements

As I have worked in the Emergency Department over the past 30 years, I have folks ask me more and more about supplements.  As physicians, we are not taught much about nutrition and supplements in medical school.  Much of what I have learned is from other people.  I also found out that all supplements are not alike.  Some of the ones  you hear about in commercials are actually worse for you than not taking them. I’ve heard the argument over and over that if one just eats right, one will be fine.  However, as I have talked to many experts over the past 20 years, they don’t believe that to be true.  As my Pop once told me, “Robert, that same tomato that we used to grow in our garden when you were a little Boy in the 60s doesn’t exist anymore.”  In other words, you need supplements.

The problem is apparent to me from observing more and more those who visit the ER have poor nutrition habits.  For most of us Baby Boomers, eating at fast food joints was a once-a-month, twice-a-month event.  That definitely is not the case today.  I personally know of some people who eat breakfast and lunch daily at fast food restaurants.  Young women in their 20s have told me they cooked their husbands Wendy’s for dinner, yet wonder why they can’t fit into their clothes.

The results from the lack of Multivitamins/Supplements are immeasurable: increased risk of heart disease and circulation, reduction of healthy cholesterol, possible malnutrition for the unborn baby, increased risk of disease/illness, increased issues with old age, alcoholism and cigarette use, less energy, an increase risk of obesity, osteoporosis, PMS, unhealthy sperm, malfunctioning prostate, and arthritis.

The role of vitamins is to supplement some of the nutritional gaps in our diet. Vita means “life” in Latin and vitamins are essential for life.  The World Health Organization calls them the “magic wands” used by the body to synthesize enzymes, hormones and other chemical necessities. Unable to create vitamins from scratch, the body must fetch them from outside sources—typically food.

Benefits of Supplements/Multivitamins are countless.  Taking these regularly reduces stress, thus preventing disease and illness, improving one’s overall physical and mental state.  Some individuals suffering from heart diseases might possibly require CoQ10 to assist in preventing a worsening of their condition.  Ingesting other supplements would ensure sufficient nutrition for the mother and the unborn baby, promoting immunity and increased energy.  Other benefits would be protection against cell damage and cell aging caused by free radicals, thus decreasing one’s risk for cancer.  Maintaining a healthy weight, bone health, reduction of the symptoms of PMS, healthy sperm production and better functioning prostate are also big plusses for taking supplements/multivitamins.

As you might note, there is evidence accumulating showing that multivitamins may be an important extension of healthy eating and helpful in achieving a level of health beyond what is possible through diet alone. Taken in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, multivitamins can help to support and promote excellent health throughout our lives. Complete multivitamin supplements are a good choice for health-conscious people who want to give their body the right nutrients. A regular diet may not always be able to supply your body with the daily nutritional requirements. With multivitamin supplements, you can get most of the nutrients necessary for proper body functioning.

As you can see from the aforementioned, the benefits of Supplements/Multivitamins are countless.  However, before I leave this subject, I would like to share a story with you about my Pop.

Although my Pop was 78 years old, he was extremely active.  Pop worked out in the gym six days a week consisting of strength/resistance and cardio training.  Pop was in better shape than most folks in their 30’s. However, he had adult onset diabetes for several years which unfortunately started to affect his kidneys. Pop was heading for kidney dialysis!  He was actually leaning towards not doing anything because he had several close friends that were on kidney dialysis and he had seen what kidney dialysis does to folks first-hand.

Most of the time, one cannot predict the future.  Pop’s health had taken a turn for the worse to the point where he might lose one of his legs because a severe infection had set in.  Moreover, his kidney function had deteriorated dramatically and if he did not undergo kidney dialysis, his death was imminent.

I convinced Pop to go to the hospital.  However, when he was on the operating table, his doctors could not get him off the table. They asked my siblings if Pops had a Living Will.  Trust me, this is never good.

As God, the Universe, Energy, Luck would have it, Pop woke up!  I truly believe that Pop woke up because of a combination of two things: Exercise and Supplements!  The Doctors were  astonished that he survived having no clear explanation for it.  Yet, I do….God, the Universe…Exercise and Supplements.  I will go to my grave believing and knowing this.

I ask you: Do you want to take that chance, that when you find your health is declining, that regular exercise or supplements could have remedied the outcome?  The choice is yours!

I hope that I have enlightened you on the significance of supplements.

What are good sources for Supplements/Multivitamins information?

One can go to or or

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