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Supplement Sensibilities & the Benefits of Testing

You’ve seen these names on store shelves and online. You’ve received recommendations from friends and read articles about them. Aged garlic extract and K2 can help prevent calcification in coronary arteries. The B vitamins (B6, B12, folate) trimethylglycine (TMG) and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) treat elevated homocysteine – an inflammatory marker linked to vascular disease. Many anti-inflammatory supplements exist, such as turmeric, boswellia, tulsi and bromelain, just to name a few. Many supplements can be as valuable as prescription medications, but not everybody needs the same things. Remember, sometimes too much of a good thing is not always best.

I believe that supplements are only an adjunct to a healthy life-style and diet. The natural products business is a $23 billion industry, and it is a controversial subject. I frequently recommend supplements to enhance the effect of food, physical activity and mind-body therapies such as meditation. I believe that vitamins, minerals, herbs and other supplements can be very valuable when used correctly.

Please consult with a health care provider who is both knowledgeable of and agreeable to natural products –and one who is trained in evidence-based supplement use. To locate a practitioner, you can contact the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (www.AIHM.org) or The Institute for Functional Medicine (www.functionalmedicine.org). Naturopathic doctors have extensive training in natural medicine. You can locate a naturopathic doctor at www.naturopathic.org. These tests may be part of your comprehensive wellness assessment at my clinic, Guarneri Integrative Health, Inc. at Pacific Pearl La Jolla in La Jolla, California (858-459-6919, www.pacificpearllajolla.com).

A good place to start is measuring your nutrient and hormone levels. You can be tested to measure levels of most nutrients like antioxidants, omega-3, CoQ10, and vitamin D. These enable your health care provider to make an informed decision.

I typically recommend these basic tests:

  • Bone density – get a baseline reading to assess your need and response to treatment.
  • Coronary-artery calcium score – calcium in the coronary arteries is a sign of plaque rupture. Aged garlic extract and vitamin K2 should be considered to prevent further calcification.
  • Endopat testing – evaluates the lining of the blood vessels, for plaque formation and can help detect your antioxidant needs.
  • Vitamin D – low levels lead to depression, symptoms of fibromyalgia, and links to breast and prostate cancer and heart disease.
  • Advanced lipid profile – lipid values such as for oxidized LDL, HDL, HDL2B, and triglycerides to determine your best cholesterol and triglyceride-lowering supplements
  • Omega-6/omega-3 ratio – know how much omega-3 you need to take
  • Inflammatory markers –at the very least, check your hsCRP, Plac2, oxidized LDL and homocysteine, a marker linked to vascular disease.
  • Genetic testing – MTHFR genetic testing is important to determine how you metabolize folate. Genetic variations are associated with depression, clot formation and elevated homocysteine. Other genes can be evaluated for Vitamin D and supplement support for proper detoxification.
  • Adrenal stress index – one of the most important in my practice; it determines levels of cortisol to implement protocols for adrenal fatigue and stress.
  • Food sensitivity testing – your guide to eliminating foods that cause you inflammation
  • Micronutrient testing – vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Remember supplement safety. Check the FDA website to ensure a supplement has not been recalled. Look for USP or NSF International seal on the supplement bottle. Know where the supplement was made. Each label should have a list of ingredients and the contact information for the manufacturer.

Learn more:

An Evidence-Based Guide for Coronary Calcium Scoring in Asymptomatic Patients without Coronary Heart Diseasehttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3384065

Vitamin D Deficiency in Adultshttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2912737/

The Importance of the Ratio of Omega-6/Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acidshttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909

Cardiovascular Non-Invasive Testing Package at Pacific Pearl La Jollahttp://pacificpearllajolla.com/cardiovascular-imaging-package-at-pacific-pearl/