Supplements: Plates AND Pills, an experiment

In 2009 when I became a part of the CMT patient research pool at the Institute for Neurology in London, I gave up all supplements. At that time, I had been taking Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Glucosamine / Chondroitin, and Co-Creatine. I stopped supplements because as a participant in a strength based research study (looking into the effects of muscle strengthening on patients with CMT and if strength gains translate into gait improvement) I needed to be free from any substances which might otherwise influence the trial. As studies had been done on Vitamin C and creatine and the impact on CMT patients, I needed to stop taking those two supplements to avoid any chance of skewing the research outcomes. So I decided to stop ALL supplements.

Since that time, I have been fairly convinced that it is diet and exercise, not supplements, that are the keys to healthy living while managing a chronic condition such as CMT. As TriMarni says – Plates not Pills was my philosophy.

Until now.

With the knee pain I am having, I have been toying with the idea of going back to glucosamine / chondroitin. I asked my knee rehab doctor John Houghton for his views on this combination, and he reiterated what I had read. The research is inconclusive. But, he said it may be worth me trying the supplements again to see how I felt, perhaps in combination with other anti-inflammatories.

Anti-inflammatories such as high quality fish oil, high in Omega-3.  And turmeric.  And flavanoids.

Sure, you can choose your plate to maximise the anti-inflammatory components of your food.

Dr Andrew Weil is a propoonent of anti-inflammatory eating, and Greg Carter, a physiatrist who has extensive experience working with CMT patients has recommended following Weil’s anti-inflammatory pyramid. The basis of this way of eating is to minimise red meat, while maximising vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats.

As I shared here recently, I had about 6 weeks of persistent cold that had really gotten me down.  I just couldn’t shake it.  So I went back to my immune rebuilding smoothies (adding turmeric, matcha and vitamin c powder to my morning smoothies). I just wanted to rebuild, to come back from this low energy point feeling stronger and healthier.

I re-read Tamsin Lewis aka SportieDoc’s blog about supplements for immune health

And I decided it was time to add supplements back into my routines.

I decided that I needed plates AND pills.  At least for a while, to see if the supplementation would help both my immune system as well as my general levels of joint pain.

After consultation with my medical doctors at the Institute of Neurology I worked with Tom at Ultimate City Fitness to design a supplement pack to just add a little extra to my daily intake, to give me just a little assistance with those things I was missing:

– calcium and magnesium to focus on the minerals which can be a trigger for cramping (I suffer from severe leg cramps from CMT)
– Vitamin D (well, Tamsin’s blog says it better than I ever could – so vital!)
– silica (various anecdotal feedback that this is good for joint health and also to manage CMT related cramps)
– Vitamin C (although not proven to help CMT, it is an effective anti-oxidant and good for immune health and cell repair)
– Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA via fish oil, which are known anti-inflammatories)
– Glucosamine (for joint health)
– Curcumin (turmeric – a strong natural anti-inflammatory)

I am taking an Usana custom designed pack. See the label, Beating Limitations?

So for me, it is now Plates AND Pills.  Will keep you posted on how my supplement experiment progresses.

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