I would venture a guess that most of the population wants to be healthy. Very few people wake up in the morning and say, "Boy, I hope I put on another pound today!", or look into a mirror and assert, "I just don't look obese enough for these jeans." Yet if the solution to our weight and health problems were simple, everyone would be thin and healthy. We could virtually eliminate the diet and fitness section of every bookstore.
The challenge I see to the available diet and health solutions is there are just so many of them these days. It reminds me of the Bing "Search Overload" commercials where there is simply too much information, and the message gets lost. I have found my solution, but I am on a mission to help others find their own solutions. I don't like us being the fattest and unhealthiest nation on the planet so I seek to alter that trend one person at a time.
I believe with all of my heart that knowledge is power. The more you know the better positioned you are to make good and intelligent choices. One of my goals has always been to identify tools to help others make these choices. With that thought in mind, I offer a few more tools for the toolbox.
To be a discerning consumer of all that is healthy and good for you, it is important you understand the "language" of health supplements. Anyone can read the back of a canister of protein shake or a dietary supplement; however, the beginner rarely understands what they are looking at. What is the difference between Whey Protein and Calcium Caseinate? Is Olive Oil Powder really that good for you? Just what is Yucca Root anyway? Knowing the answers to these questions may prove very useful to you. However, if you feel like you are reading stereo instructions written in Portuguese (and you can't read Portuguese) you may never invest in something that could help you to achieve your fitness goals. I therefore recommend that you do your own research. With that said, I have done a little research for you. Here are a few ingredients that you might come across.
Ionic Alfalfa has long been used as a cleansing agent.
There are studies showing that this botanical agent may provide protection from free radicals, support the liver and support mental and immune function.
Science suggests that this root can boost beneficial pro-biotic growth in the intestinal tract.
Pau D'Arco may be able to promote a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria as well as support proper gastrointestinal function.
Most people have heard of the Aloe Vera Plant and its external healing powers related to burns, but many don't know of its internal health value. According to some scientists, Aloe Vera may support healthy liver function by restoring integrity to primary liver cells.
Research has shown that Peppermint Leaf helps to soothe the digestive tract and support gastrointestinal health.
Yellow Dock has been shown to fight free radicals and may protect the gastric system through its anti-oxidant properties.
Suma Root may support the body's immune system.
Scientists have discovered that the Anethole in Fennel Seed oil benefits the cardiovascular system.
The anti-oxidant capacity of Licorice Root may help to protect the Liver.
International scientists have determined that Eleutherococcus senticocus compounds may have a positive affect on cellular defense, physical fitness and Lipid metabolism.
This list is not inclusive of all the ingredients you may find in a health supplement; however, it is a start in educating yourself on what you are looking at the next time you read a label. You may have noticed that the word "may" is mentioned throughout this article. You may be asking, "How can I trust a product that does not offer clear-cut assurances in reference to its ingredients?" As a matter of fact, on most labels identifying health supplement ingredients you will generally find disclaimers that state the product has not been evaluated by the FDA. They will assert that the products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness. Why do health supplement producers work to convince you of their product's ability to offer better health and wellness, and at the same time request you do not assume the products success? The answer is simple. The minute a health product lays claim to any specific medical or health result, one of two things happen.
1. The government demands research backing up the claim. If the company producing the supplement cannot verify its claim the government shuts it down.
2. The company producing the product is sued for making claims that it cannot confirm and is forced to stop making the claim...even if the claim is probably true.
This then begs another question. Why don't the supplement companies simply conduct the research necessary to prove the potential of their product? The answer is what distinguishes supplement companies like GNC, MetRX and Isagenix from pharmaceutical companies like Pharma, Johnson and Johnson, and Abbot Labs. Much of the inherent cost of producing pharmacological drugs comes from the research that is necessary to prove the claims of the company before the product ever hits the shelves. In addition to this cost, the complex research and testing process keeps potentially life-changing products from consumers for years...if not decades. This is the reason why many scientists, such as Dr. William H. Andrews and his research into Telomeres, have turned to natural supplements instead of chemicals to achieve results in the lab. Instead of depending on a report or study to prove their new drug does what they claim, supplement scientists depend on word of mouth between consumers to sell their products. The advantage to you is that you are not paying for all of that research. In the process you may find a product that solves a health or fitness related problem without spending a fortune.
Ultimately, it is important to remember this fact. We have become a nation of one pill for every ill. The drugs we take may create additional problems that require additional drugs. Many Americans eventually find themselves taking 10's of pills every day...many of them with the purpose of counteracting what the other pills do to them. Does it not make sense to find natural products (that are typically found in the body anyway) to achieve our healthy desires?