Patients often ask me for a vitamin that will give them healthy skin, strong nails and thick hair. We’d all like a magic bullet for not having the perfect diet. I’ve kept my eyes peeled for this magic bullet and learned a lot along the way.
Sometimes a scientific study or product claim comes up that holds promise; CoQ10, alpha-lipoic acid, biotin, selenium, , beta carotene, vitamin E or some combination of B vitamins curing wrinkles or dry skin, growing hair, strengthening nails etc. With some rare exceptions however, these magic bullets don’t deliver results when my patients try them. Combine that with the fact that I don’t entirely trust vitamin supplements. I remember all too well seeing patients in the 1980s with eosinophilia myalgia syndrome, the deadly and debilitating disease from the popular L tryptophan supplements used as a natural sleep remedy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eosinophilia-myalgia_syndrome).
Nutritional supplements are what I consider 'processed food'. Each processing step potentially alters nutritional content. My conclusion -there’s no substitute for eating real foods; foods farmed to maximize nutrition- rich in vitamins, essential fatty acids, protein and micronutrients (some that our scientists may not even know about yet). I think our bodies evolved over thousands of generations to get all our nutritional needs from real food and there’s no short cutting it.
I’ve been a 'health nut' since I was 15 and so I’ve looked for natural health remedies all through medical school and my medical practice. I’ve tried many of the modern natural health kicks myself, and collected more interesting experiences from my patients. My intent is to share my observations and recommendations over the course of my blog posts on natural skin health.
The first, most important lesson I’ve learned is that there's no substitute for a healthy diet of real foods. But:
• What are real foods?
• How do we conveniently work them into our real life, our real daily schedule?
• Organic and ‘natural’ foods are often expensive, how can we afford them on a budget?
• Can they satisfy your need for a quick snack, comfort food, a craving?
I say YES to all of the above-most of the time!
Next post I’ll define what I mean by ‘real foods’ for natural skin health.
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