I've been avoiding this post.
I've been writing to my daughters about all the things I wish I'd ever told them and am afraid I may have missed.
Shortly before Shannon moved out, I told her, "Come upstairs with me and watch me clean this toilet. You'll need to know how to do this on your own now." And she told me, "It's OK, Mom, you've already shown me how to clean a toilet." And I wanted to say, "But my technique may have changed since then," or "I think I use a different cleaning chemical now," or "Are you sure? I have no memory of that. I probably did it wrong; let me show you again." Actually, I probably did say that last thing.
Anyway, as promised at the end of the last post in this series, this post is about supplements. Shannon doesn't really much approve of taking supplements, and Laura hates the way the basket full of supplements looks in the kitchen, and I feel pretty self-conscious about this particular post. But it is keeping me at least one more step away from trying to talk about beauty, and for that I am truly grateful.
I take supplements because I think they keep me off prescription medications, and that is a very good thing, especially with the lack of coverage our health insurance provides.
One of the most important aspects of supplements is this: they can help you boost your immunities. Here is a list of immunity boosting supplements:
(1) Vitamin D3. We talked about this earlier. Vitamin D3 is very important, especially for those of us who live in the northeastern USA where there is precious little sun, and small children grow up believing that the sky is gray, not blue. It boosts your immunities, eases aches and pains, strengthens your heart... actually, I forget all the things it does. If we ever migrate to Arizona, we will be able to ease up on the vitamin D3, but for now, take a supplement, and some days, the darkest days, go ahead and take two.
(2) A multi-vitamin. Take a good multi-vitamin daily. I shy away from vitamins formulated specifically for women, because they always contain iron, and iron makes me sick. Men's multi-vitamin formulas often have selenium, which I always thought was good for you (in the proper amount, not too much) and helps with immunities, heart, skin, thyroid and eye health. It is a very powerful anti-oxidant and even has some effect on fighting cancer and neutralizing toxic substances that you may take in. I was a big proponent of selenium, and then Dr. Mercola came out and said that it is really dangerous and the kind they put into most multi-vitamins will actually kill you (not the kind he puts in his own multi-vitamins, of course...) But I'm sick of Dr. Mercola, so I think I'll go ahead with my recommendation that you take a muti-vitamin with selenium and no iron.
(3) Fish Oil. Fish oil is just so good for you over all, you ought to take it. Again, it is good for your heart. It helps your circulatory system, your nervous system, your digestive system and your skin, hair and nails. It's even good for your brain. The special kind of fat in fish oil helps you metabolize your food and absorb your vitamins. One of my friends told me that a psychiatrist told her that he takes four fish oil capsules a day to boost his mood and fend off depression. I'm not exactly sure if it belongs in my "immunity boosting" list, but it does everything else, so I figured that such an all purpose supplement probably boosts your immunities, too. NOTE: look for entearic coated fish oil capsules, or at least capsules that promise "no fishy burps." Cheaper is not better where fish oil is concerned. The cheap ones can give people wicked indigestion.
(4) Acidophilus or a good probiotic. The good bacteria in your "gut" (as they say) is very important to maintaining a healthy immune system. Antibiotics kill off these good bacteria. Other things do, too, specifically the chlorine in drinking water and--much stronger and more dangerous--the chlorine in Splenda (sucralose). Stay away from Splenda, almost as much as you would stay away from aspartame. (Anyway, Splenda tastes awful.) Besides generally keeping your immune system healthy, probiotics prevent and fight all kinds of fungal and yeast infections. Also, if you are having troubles with your stomach being off, or with diarrhea or constipation, a few extra probiotic capsules should help to right your system.
Then there are supplements I take for "womanly" issues. I will try to be careful about how I discuss them.
(1) Evening Primrose Oil. I love this supplement. It prevents joint pain, acne, heart disease, hyperactivity and obesity. It has a very high concentration of a fatty acid called GLA which actually works on your endocrine system and blocks certain hormones from bothering you. It is proven to help with both PMS and menopause, lessening menstrual cramps, breast tenderness, irritable bowel flare ups and hot flashes. It increases feelings of well-being. Applied topically, it also prevents wrinkles and heals wounds. Good stuff. It smells nice, too, and the capsules are one of the few without a nasty flavor on the way down.
(2) Estroven. This is an over-the-counter preparation, not exactly a natural supplement. I used to like the one that was actually a multi-vitamin with womanly help added to it, but they stopped making that one, or at any rate I haven't been able to find it. The important ingredient is Black Cohosh, which is a famous herb for PMS and menopause. You probably do not need to take this stuff, although if you run into PMS trouble, or lots of discomfort with your periods, you might want to pick up a bottle of Black Cohosh.
(3) Calcium. You need Calcium to have strong bones, and to prevent osteoporosis, which runs in my mother's family. The best way to take Calcium is in combination with other supplements that help you absorb it. One of these is Vitamin D, which we already discussed above. I also feel that it is important to take Calcium with Magnesium. Magnesium helps with a number of female and nervous system issues, and it also prevents you from getting constipated from the calcium. I have been taking a combination of Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc for many years, and it seems to be serving me well. DJ has encouraged me to take my Calcium and Magnesium at bedtime to help me relax and lessen my leg cramps. Calcium taken alone can cause indigestion, constipation and even kidney stones, so be sure to take Magnesium and Vitamin D along with it.
(4) Cranberry. I do not take this all the time, but if I run into trouble with my bladder, this is the ticket. If you get a bladder infection, or something that feels like a bladder infection, get a bottle of this. Look for one that says Cranmax on it somewhere, either in the main name of the product or in the ingredient list. To fend off a bladder infection, take the Cranberry tablets along with a probiotic and lots and lots of water. I have found that, for me, this works better than going to the doctor.
Haha. Here we are... my beauty supplements.
(1) Biotin. I take this, as the bottle says, for skin, hair and nails. I mostly notice that it works on my nails. Since I've been taking it regularly, My nails hardly ever break. I started taking it because my hair is falling out. My hair dresser says she thinks it is helping, but I can't tell that it is. I don't know whether it makes any difference in my skin, but I keep hoping it does. It definitely strengthens my nails, though.
(2) Saw Palmetto. Somebody told somebody that Biotin is useless without Saw Palmetto, so I bought some. I really can't say that I notice much difference. Saw Palmetto is a DHT blocker, and DJ says that means it should block acne causing hormones, too. My skin and my hair are holding steady at what I would call a passable condition, so maybe these two supplements are staving off excessive damage and I have no idea how bad it might be without them.
To be totally honest, I think I do notice more problems cropping up when I forget to take my supplements for a couple of days (as I have this week).
Well... scary but true... we are encroaching on the subject of beauty, and we will have to face it head-on before long. Or maybe I will end this series with this post. What will the future bring?
Other posts in this series:
Good-bye, girls--part one,
Good-bye, girls--part two,
Good-bye, girls--part three,
Good-bye, girls--part four.
Good-bye, girls--part five
Good-bye, girls--part six