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Do I need to take supplements?

This is an e-mail sent by Tim (The “Fella I worked with” in my story), to the Concise-low-carb-uk list. I thought it was better than my response to the same post…

Dr Jeremy Mills said: Are all these supplements discussed really necessary if you eat a varied low-carb diet – surely by cutting out the carbs you aren’t necessarily losing anything else ??

I think the view is generally that it is *better* to be getting your vits and minerals from food in any case, as there may be “other things” in there which science doesn’t currently fully understand, which lend themselves to enhancing absorption.

Most vitamins should, as you say be readily available if you are eating your veggies up (with the possible exception of Omega-3’s and Magnesium, and you can get Omega-3’s from oily fish if you’re into that.)

However, some of the antioxidants (and a handful of others) have such a dramatic beneficial effect that it may be worth supplementing in any case!

Getting the right fat balance is very hard to do today, unless you are a big fan of sardines! Taking a fish oil supplement comes highly recommended, just to make sure you get your Omega-3’s.

Magnesium reportedly has almost miraculous properties, and everyone should take it! 😉
(This is to do with Magnesium/Calcium balance, it’s a bit like the Omega-3/Omega-6 fat thing)

(Note from Jeanette in reply to this post:
I would just urge one caution about the Magnesium and your comment “everyone should take it!”: In Protein Power LifePlan on page 220, there is a caution that if you have heart or kidney trouble you should NOT supplement magnesium without the permission of your doctor.)

Chromium apparantly has an insulin sensitising effect, and so may be helpful on this WOE, especially to people in the early phases of the diet.

Again with people in the early phases, you’ll be losing a lot of water initially, so it’s probably a good idea to replace the inevitably lost potassium, this can most easily be done by using some kind of lo-salt, but you could take a potassium supplement instead if you wanted to.

There are a whole swathe of anti-oxidants, but these 4 are generally considered to be the most important:

Vitamin E – THE most important antioxidant, hands down
Vitamin C – everyone knows about this one
CoQ10 – horrendously expensive, but very good for you
Alpha-Lipoic Acid – another excellent anti-oxidant, also has the effect of regenerating the 3 above in your body!

The anti-oxidants are recommended for their anti-aging and cancer-retardant properties, as I’m sure you know already.

Realistically, you are already doing your body a lot of good by getting your blood-sugar and insulin levels right down via the WOE. Everything else is really just extra. If you want to “go that extra mile” and perhaps reap some additional benefits, then start taking supplements as well. You won’t get anything like the benefit you’re already getting just from the WOE, but you may feel just a little better. It’s really down to the individual, where in the effort/reward balance do you feel most comfortable.

If you want to get more info, I highly recommend The Protein Power Life Plan which has some excellent science in it, explaining a number of aspects
of this WOE that I’d not seen touched on in such detail elsewhere, and has several sections dealing with vitamins and minerals and their specific effects.

Hope this is at all useful!

Tim (KSC, KoX) -><-
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