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Nutritionist explains vitamins and supplements
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Sybille Rischmeier explains about the benefits of eating healthy along with quality vitamins and supplements.
SEMINOLE – Even though she sells vitamins and supplements for a living, pushing products is not her priority. Her customers’ overall health is.

“I personally think that the public should know that the best vitamins sit in whole food,” said Sybille Rischmeier, certified nutrition counselor and owner of Sunshine Health Foods in Seminole. “Everything I have on the shelf, when it comes to normal vitamins, is second-best. And when they choose a vitamin, then they should go with a whole food-based vitamin. One that’s not made in the laboratory. That’s very important.”

Rischmeier said the body in essence knows the difference between vitamins and minerals that occur naturally in food and those that were produced in a lab setting.

One problem with the vitamin and supplement industry, Rischmeier said, is that it is not regulated by the FDA, so consumers must be careful about what they buy and use. Some use fillers and subpar products, and some are misleading about what they actually contain, she said. One example she uses is fish oil.

“You can buy a fish, a big old fish, and squeeze the heck out of it,” Rischmeier said. “You will get some fish oil. But how much omega do you get? This is what you’re after. You’re after the omega 3s, not the fish oil. And there are a lot of companies out there that don’t even give you the amount of omega 3.”

Since these things are not regulated, it’s crucial that people educate themselves so they know what is in the pills they take and what quality the substances are, she said, because the general label alone often is misleading.

When one does get quality products, there are so many ways that vitamins and supplements can help the body, Rischmeier said. In the case of fish oil and omega 3s, this is used to help with one’s mood, in the immune system, and to help one’s brain and heart function better, she said.

Additionally, a good vitamin is an excellent energy source, she said. For instance, one way a multivitamin can help is to ease digestion, which can lead to more energy.

“A good whole food multivitamin, which mostly has things like chorella, spirulina, barley. Those are not only super foods, they also cleanse,” Rischmeier said. “If your liver is running smoothly, you produce enzymes and a quality bile, I would say. Quality bile breaks down your food. The problem with the body is that digestion is always taking so much energy away, so the easier you make it on the body to digest, (the more energy you’ll have.)”

Additionally, chewing properly is extremely important for this same reason, she said. Most people swallow far too quickly before their teeth have really been put to proper use, Rischmeier said. The better one chews, the less work the digestive track will have to work, and more energy will be saved for other things.

“Digestion is an assembly line,” Rischmeier said. “If you don’t chew your food, you give the big load to the belly. That’s what the teeth are for. And a lot of people with bad digestion problems, they have bad teeth or related problems.”

Magnesium is another essential nutrient that can be found in vitamins, Rischmeier said. Magnesium is needed for sleep, digestion, heart rhythm, to ease headaches and to prevent constipation, she said.

Rischmeier said that coenzyme Q-10 is very important for everyone over the age of 35, and that everyone should also get enough of vitamin D3. Additionally, she said, lutein vitamin can help delay muscular degeneration, msm vitamins can help as a painkiller and to rebuild cartilage, and turmeric and bosweilla can work as anti-inflammatory agents. Hawthorn is good for the heart, while pumpkin seed oil is good for the bladder, she said.

“There are so many herbs and spices that all have had a place for hundreds of years,” Rischmeier said. “I’m from Europe, and there that’s what people do first. Everybody has a natural health bible at home, and that’s how we grow up and that’s what we first do.”

Rischmeier notes that it is important not to rely on a vitamin as a way to receive all of one’s essential nutrients. They are meant to be supplemental, in addition to eating well.

There is so much information about vitamins that it can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to start. The following is a top 10 list that Rischmeier views as some of the most important things people should do and know about vitamins and supplements:

Make sure the vitamin is whole food based. Also look for a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) stamp on the label to help ensure there are no fillers, preservative and other “garbage” added in.

Make sure that vitamin A is 100% beta-carotene.

Vitamin E should always say d-alpha, not dl-alpha.

Vitamin D should be D3.

Vitamin K should be from natto. Rischmeier said this vitamin can go into the arteries and wash down calcifications, but it has to be from natto.

Look for a specific amount of omega 3 content, not just labeled as “fish oil.” Example: 1 tsp – 1,600 mg of omega 3.

A probiotic should show the units in billions, not in milligrams. What you want to know is how much is there in the population, versus just the size or weight. The amount is up to each individual, but Rischmeier would recommend 5 billion a day, though if someone were to have an issue they needed to take care of, she would suggest up to 30 billion.

Talk to someone with a relevant diploma about your specific situation and any issues you may want to address. When doing so, make sure to list all medications and supplements you are already taking, as some things can have bad interactions.

If your car has no air in the tires, you wouldn’t first buy a new motor and expect it to run better – you’d fill the tires up with air first. Rischmeier said the same is true about one’s health. Start by eating more vegetables and fruits, going for a walk, and then one can work on fine-tuning things like adding specific supplements to address individual nutritional needs.

Keep in mind that the body changes as it gets older, and sometimes things that you could always eat with no problems will become less compatible with your body. One such common thing is lactose. Pay attention to your body and its reactions.

Sunshine Health Foods is located at 6989 Seminole Blvd., Seminole.

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