Choosing the Right Food Neutraceuticals to Help Medical Conditions

Author Richard Firshein suggests there are many food neutraceuticals to help medical conditions, many of these ailments can be prevented or treated with dietary changes and a core group of neutraceuticals.

| December 2000/January 2001

Many physical ailments can be prevented or treated with food neutraceuticals to help medical conditions. 

According to Richard Firshein, D.O., author of The Neutraceutical Revolution (Putnam 1998), many of the ailments from which we suffer today including fatigue, asthma, diabetes and cancer can be prevented or treated with food neutraceuticals to help medical conditions such as dietary changes and a core group of neutraceuticals. "There may be components of foods that prevent certain conditions and are useful in treating certain conditions," he says. "There are a number of issues which I think are very common and that people are concerned about, and there are supplements that I find to be most beneficial."

When shopping for supplements, it may be tempting to go for a bargain, but Firshein advises against cutting corners. "You get what you pay for. I recommend people stick with tried-and-true brands or get them from trusted sources, because there still is not the kind of standardization of supplements that will make it easy for people to make that decision."

Firshein cautions, too, against plunging into the world of natural remedies before seeking the advice of a physician. "There's no guarantee that if they talk to their doctor, their doctor's going to be familiar with all of these nutrients," he says. "But at least they can get a sense of the relative risks of taking a supplement or of not taking a particular treatment."

• A favorite among cardiologists, vitamin E is linked to a reduced risk of heart and cardiovascular disease. This vitamin works as an antioxidant, which eliminates free radicals, highly unstable molecules that wreak havoc in the body by attacking cell membranes. Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds, whole grains, vegetable oils, egg yolks and leafy greens. For general health, 200-400 IU are recommended. Since the body has an easier time absorbing vitamin E from natural rather than synthetic supplements, look for those labeled d-alpha-tocopherol, as opposed to dl-alpha-tocopherol. Do not take vitamin E if you are on blood-thinning medication or take aspirin daily.

Fatigue is a common complaint that can be blamed on stress, depression or a simple lack of sleep. Once your doctor rules out organic causes, such as a thyroid disease or adrenal insufficiency, there are a number of remedies for this ailment. The amino acid tyrosine, found in dairy and poultry, can help to restore the brain's levels of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that can be depleted by stress. Tyrosine

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