Why Seniors Need Nutrient Supplementation

By Don Webber

February 2012

Length of Days and Long Life
From time immemorial Homo sapiens has always yearned for the proverbial “length of days and long life”  perhaps because it’s hard-wired in the human psyche by virtue of our God-given, genetic imprint known in Western culture as the Imago Dei—Image of God.  Yes, our traditional birthday prayer and fervent hope for those we love has always been Ad Multos Annos—For Many Years.

Some scientific studies in the burgeoning field of epigenetics (nutrient control and modulation of genetic expression), however, suggest that the secret to length of days and long life may not be exclusively attributable to one’s genes after all.  Longevity, it has been reasoned, is more the result of our cultural modus vivendi generally referred to as a “healthy lifestyle,” ideally characterized by such distinctives as a Mediterranean-like diet, caloric restriction, adequate hydration, sound sleep, sunshine exposure, periodic physical activity (e.g., walking, if nothing else), drug avoidance, sound mind, emotional balance, meditation, and dietary supplementation.

Well, so much for genetics alone as an excuse for mainstream medicine’s anti-aging antagonism and unreasonable rejection of “preventive medicine” in favor of “early detection,” rejuvenation research and nutritional/herbal  therapies for longevity and life extension.

Seniors and Senility at Sixty
In January 2006 an estimated 77 million American “baby boomers” (1946 – 1964) turned sixty.  This generational milestone begs the question whether these senescent seniors will succumb to early senility.  Speculation has it that these well-heeled, sixty-something seniors will seek to delay “the way of all the earth” by taking their healthcare into their own hands.  Many healthcare “experts” so-called, however, predict the proliferation of a “longevity for sale” mentality and marketplace in today’s internet-savvy, consumer-driven healthcare era.

Also expected is a veritable explosion of increasingly popular “nutraceuticals” so-called including natural (organic and raw) foods, food-sourced vitamin/mineral multiples, and a seemingly infinite number of discrete dietary supplements from astaxanthin to zinc.  In brief, the proverbial “Fountain of Youth” has never been sought after so seriously as by today’s 21st century boomer generation.  Will it prove to be a boom or bust?

Nutrient Depleted Diets
Ten years ago a popular book, provocatively titled Death by Diet, and many others since that time have made the case for diet-induced, boomer deterioration as evidenced by their bad eyes, bad ears, bad teeth, bad hair, bad breath, bad hearts, bad bones, bad nails, bad backs, “bad” cholesterol, low to no libido, and ultimately untimely death.  Yes, common sense informs us that we most certainly are what we eat and metabolize.  To think and act otherwise does not make for a happy and long life as evidenced by our increasingly deplorable healthcare statistics.

Make no mistake about it, nutrient insufficiency or even worse frank deficiency will eventually trigger physiological dysfunction, disease and death in the end.  The Standard American Diet, aptly tagged with the acronym SAD, and its resultant obesity epidemic especially with the youngest among us is in fact America’s saddest running “healthcare” story.

That diets loaded with junk or ersatz food, processed and promoted by Big Ag for the past 60 years plus, are altogether nutrient-negative is simply a no-brainer.  But even healthy diets devoted to otherwise nourishing fruits, vegetables and grass-raised meats—sorry PETA and vegans—are no longer what they used to be given their source, viz., mineral and trace element depleted soil and their chemicalized fertilizer and pesticide environment.

Contrary to contemporary evolutionary theory, the biblical narrative presents the human being as having emerged from the humus, that vital organic component of the soil, which is also required to sustain human life by the vital and plentiful plant life it provides.  Another no-brainer?

Nutrient Depleting Drugs
An equally, if not an even more insidious detriment to a senior’s health and well-being, is allopathic medicine’s FDA approved and physician assisted, “standard of care” practice of polypharmacy—pharmaceutical drugs for every diagnosis and disease.  While some drugs—think man-made, alien molecular entities—may admittedly sometimes deliver some in extremis seniors from death’s door, there should be no place for an ever increasing and life-threatening drugging of our seniors, especially those in “assisted living” facilities, which for all intents and purposes are sadly tantamount to what could be called “assisted dying” homes.

Consult the Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook (and Dr. Ray Strand’s Death by Prescription) for a comprehensive “Beta-Carotene to Zinc” listing of nature’s nutrients known to be nuked by man’s medicines.  Those vital substances include: bifidobacteria, biotin, carnitine, chromium, coenzyme Q10, iodine, lactobacillus acidophilus, magnesium, molybdenum, potassium, silicon, vanadium, and all the fat-soluble (A,D,E,K) as well as the water-soluble B (1,2,3,5,6,12) vitamins, not to mention good old vitamin C.  Good God!  No wonder our seniors are dying before their time.  And we dare call it “healthcare” instead of what it really is—drug care?  Whatever happened to the popular mantra “Just say no to [pharmaceutical] drugs”?

Nutrient Defining Diseases
Despite the many scientific and technological advances in conventional allopathic medicine in recent years, there is today perhaps no other factor as demoralizing and utterly devastating to baby boomers than autoimmunity more commonly referred to as “autoimmune disease”—the number one enemy of longevity and anti-aging healthcare.  As its name suggests, this malicious malady for which there is no conventional “cure” causes the body’s immune system to betray the boomer by launching and sustaining a self-destructing assault upon the body chemistry with usually crippling results.

For many seniors any autoimmunity disease such as Alzheimer’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Celiac Disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Crohn’s Disease and Lupus Erythematosis to name only a few can become a merciless killer.  Dietary and clinical nutrition alone offer hope for the prevention and “cure” of these nutrient defining or related conditions.  Thankfully, both the ancients and today’s naturopathic-minded physicians and clinicians subscribe to the timeless principle of Vis Medicatrix Naturae—The Healing Power of Nature, and prescribe accordingly.

On-going research and clinical trials have repeatedly proven the therapeutic efficacy of sunshine and its supplemental substitute, Vitamin D, in the prevention and treatment of innumerable diseases including those of an autoimmune nature such as MS, the debilitating neuromuscular disease on the rise in the Western world.  Other substances shown to be effective in preventing and/or ameliorating this condition and others include: proteolytic (protein digesting) enzymes such as bromelain and papain, essential fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, minerals such as magnesium and iodine, polyphenols such as curcumin and resveratrol, and the B vitamins especially B12 in its active,  methylcobalamin form.

Herbal therapy for MS often includes such notable medicinal botanicals as ginkgo, green tea extract (ECGC), olive leaf, and milk thistle, while dietary therapy often includes such well-known Omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acid oils as fish, flax, and evening primrose.

Antioxidants for Anti-Aging
According to current scientific research, boosting the body’s levels of natural antioxidants such as enzymes could be the anti-aging key to “length of days.”  The proven and potent life-extension properties of the antioxidant enzyme catalase, for example, functioning in concert with another important endogenous enzyme called superoxide dismutase (SOD for short), work together to scavenge and neutralize so-called free radicals—highly destructive “rusting” agents (technically known as “reactive oxygen species” or ROS for short), responsible for accelerated aging especially within the graying boomer community.  Don’t old folk often look like they’re rusted?

Innumerable foods and herbs function as amazing antioxidants including ashwaganda, astragalus, bee propolis, colorful, carotenoid-rich berries, garlic, ginsengs, oregano, spirulina, and turmeric not to mention—believe it or not—dark beer and red wine (as well as black coffee and green tea) for stress reduction and a longer and happier life. As a matter of fact, the feisty and beloved internet doc, William Campbell Douglass II (MD), recently praised beer as a “health food” because of its bona fide health benefits.

This author’s youngest son, himself a new MDeity (thank you Charlie Brown) in Preventive Medicine with the USAF, commenting on the Douglass report, confirmed: “He’s right.  Study after study shows that moderate alcohol consumption decreases all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.  And it doesn’t matter which type of alcohol.  It’s probably the anti-coagulant and cholesterol modification effects of the alcohol itself that helps. If you want more proof, check out the . . . graph from a meta-analysis of 34 articles published in Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006.”  Some doctors get it.

The take home message for seniors (and juniors too): take anti-aging antioxidants for promoting the proverbial “length of days and long life.”

Rejuvenation and Renewal

Our culture’s seemingly relentless progression from discomfort, distress, dysfunction, disease and decay to an ultimately untimely demise is simply the result of an unhealthy lifestyle and its devastating effect on both body and soul—bigness of body and smallness of soul.  Indeed, physical and metaphysical malnutrition is most certainly an increasingly deadly combination especially for seniors.

To reverse direction, to recover from this death-dealing syndrome, to rejuvenate our dead-tired bodies, and to renew our lives we must get back to the basics of diet and dietary supplements as needed.  In short, a broad-spectrum, applied clinical nutrition solution is required to maximize our immune response to the wide variety of acute and chronic challenges that plague our 21st century boomer community.

As an old wholistic doctor friend and mentor has long emphasized, “The road to [healthcare] success is always under construction—and always a toll road.  Nutritional modulators are required to fix, patch, repair and mend the road more traveled.”  And for seniors the most cost effective preventative for keeping on the road and out of the ditch is by nutritional supplementation with a broad-spectrum, food-based, vitamin/mineral multiple—daily.

Science and Supplements
Research out of UC Berkley in late 2007 validated what nutritionally-minded healthcare professionals have been clinically proving and demonstrating to be true around the country and abroad for much of the 20th century, namely, that nutrition works, just as the research paper’s title assures us and all those with healthcare ears to hear and minds to believe—the “Use of Multiple Nutritional Supplements Found to Be Beneficial to Health.” Duh!

Just before the turn of the millennium, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition echoed the Hippocratic dictum delivered some 2,500 years earlier: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food” by stating unequivocally that “vegetables and fruit and their constituents are potent effectors of biological systems in humans.”  Yes, sometimes science does make some sense, believe it or not, and confirms what has been known for millennia.

Seniors and Supplements
To begin with, it must be emphasized that dietary supplements are intended to supplement the diet—another no-brainer for sure.  As famously mandated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), they are not in and of themselves intended “to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”  Amazingly to its credit, the government’s Department of Health and Human Services supports dietary supplementation by asking this simple question: “Even if you eat a wide variety of foods, how can you be sure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients you need as you get older?  Supplements and fortified foods may also help you get appropriate amounts of nutrients [emphasis added].”  Imagine that!

In the interest of full disclosure on the other hand, the conventional medical establishment is also well-known for its traditional and relentless trashing of dietary supplements “. . . widely used by older adults, even though the effectiveness of these supplements in preventing illness is questionable” according to a recent “Best Evidence Review” of the subject in terms of “Mortality Rates in Older Women” reported by Medscape just last month.

Senior Multi-Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation
As noted earlier, in addition to a healthy balanced diet, a daily, food-based, broad-spectrum, vitamin/mineral multiple will serve seniors well in their pursuit of a disease-free, active life well beyond their sixties and seventies.

Conventional multi-vitamin/mineral products, however, comprised in the main if not entirely of synthetic isolates, are not food-based, and therefore cannot deliver the health benefits of a whole food supplement—naturally.  The whole is greater than the sum of its parts in terms of the synergy and potency of whole foods and food-based supplements such as those manufactured by highly respected companies such as Garden of Life, MegaFood, and New Chapter, to mention only three among many.

Whole food-based supplements can be described as “phytonutrient complexes” typically comprised of probiotic-cultured vegetables, fruits, whole herbs, and herbal extracts of organic origin to the extent possible.  Only such natural products provide genuine dietary supplementation, not to say, however, that vitamin and mineral isolates have no place in applied clinical nutrition for targeting specific nutrient deficiencies associated with any number of common physiological dysfunctions and diseases.  Foods are complex organic entities comprised of both known and unknown factors; food supplements should be too.  One of the early 20th century nutritional pioneers, Dr. Royal Lee, employed this accommodated use of Scripture to explain the infinitely complex nature of food: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”  It’s another no-brainer!

Seniors who take care of themselves by “living out” all or most of the basic lifestyle principles can truly benefit from whole-food supplementation for general as well as for specific healthcare objectives.  Such plant-based formulations provide not only the major minerals and vitamins, but also the many trace elements and other substances of innumerable categories in their proper bioactive forms for optimum absorption and metabolic utilization including but not limited to: an array of amino acids, co-enzyme B vitamins, cholecalciferol D3, methylcobalamin B12, methylfolate, bioflavonoid complexed vitamin C, vitamin E tocopherols and tocotrienols, chelated minerals and little known trace elements.

PubMed Central of the National Library of Medicine offers a treasure trove of scientific research including randomized blinded studies and human clinical trials which validate the therapeutic efficacy of dietary supplementation for senior men and women.  Aging seniors need not worry about the health of their bones, breasts, eyes, hearts, memories, prostates—or cholesterol.  Why?  Medicus Curat, Natura Sanat—The Doctor Cares, but Nature Heals.

Prenatal Musings & Dietary Supplementation

By Don Webber

March 2012

Our objective this month is to muse over some of the more common, but more often than not underemphasized or even neglected, pregnancy issues including those associated with appropriate prenatal and postnatal dietary supplementation together with selected product suggestions for you and your baby. So here goes.


Preconception Healthcare Considerations

Before we get into the specifics of dietary supplementation before and after birth, we would be remiss in not addressing the subject prior to conception. After all, that which is conceived is the result of the union of hopefully, healthy ova and spermatozoa. Your objective is to reduce your risk for potential problems like diabetes or high blood pressure, and especially birth defects like spinal cord or neural tube damage caused by an all too common deficiency of the B vitamin fraction called folic acid (also known as folate).


The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that women of childbearing age take in at least 400 micrograms of folate or its synthetic analog folic acid daily through diet (including fortified breads and cereals) and/or dietary supplementation. Many healthcare clinicians recommend supplementing the diet with 600-800 micrograms for a minimum of three months before getting pregnant and at least as long after conception.


Women wishing to become pregnant would be wise to seek out the counsel of a baby-wise, healthcare provider to be prepared for dealing with the important issues of pregnancy such as dietary and supplemental nutrition, hydration, physical exercise, healthy weight, rest and sleep, sunshine exposure, and the avoidance of such things as artificial sweeteners, alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical medications. And, of course, the birthing process itself and subsequent infant care are equally important subjects for proper preparation for mommies in the making—hopefully.


What about vaccination and immunization? Whatever your position on the subject—whether pro or con—peripregnancy vaccination or flu shots are in this author’s view a definite no-no, since they may very well be the unintended undoing of your uterus and its developing fetus—a healthy and beautiful baby boy or girl.


Supportive preconception dietary supplements for your consideration:


Also, planning ahead for the blessed event, you might want to purchase the Labor Ease Kit by Earth Mama Angel Baby® for a natural labor companion CD, natural stretch oil, mint herbal lip balm, monthly comfort tea bags, and a hot spot labor sock (?) for your labor needs.


Prenatal Dietary Basics

Agencies, both private and public, such as the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and MedlinePlus of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) generally list the following dietary nutrients (in addition to folate or folic acid) as fundamental to a balanced diet for the pregnant mom and her baby:

  • Iron found in chicken, fish, red meat and green leafy veggies to prevent “iron-deficiency anemia”
  • Calcium found in dairy foods, fortified juices for proper bone, teeth, nerve, muscle and heart development
  • Innumerable nutrients (think baby-boosting “phytonutrients” so-called) found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and low-fat dairy foods
  • Dietary oils such as those from fish, cod liver, and flax seed
  • Seafood for contributing to your offspring’s future intelligence, social behavior and developmental skills
  • Chlorella (an algae) to reduce the risk of pregnancy associated anemia, edema, and proteinuria (excess protein in the urine)


Pregnant women would be wise to completely avoid consuming many culturally common substances, a representative sampling of which would include recreational (alcohol, marijuana, tobacco), pharmaceutical (aspirin), and smart (dilantin, vinpocetine) drugs, and supplemental melatonin, a very popular hormone for insomnia.


In addition to supplemental melatonin, many common herbs should not be consumed including: andrographis, angelica, blue cohosh, goldenseal, juniper, passion flower, St. John’s wort, schizandra, and yohimbe to name only a few. Excessive vitamin A (above 150k IU daily) and Omega-6 dietary oils (safflower and sunflower seed oils) should be avoided to preclude fetal growth impairment and possible malformation.


Coffee consumption, if unable to be avoided altogether, should be limited to no more than two cups per day to preclude the possibility of birth defects.


Finally, for your information and/or caution, it has been reported that eating a lot of sweet potatoes during your pregnancy may increase your likelihood of bearing twins—believe it or not—because of their propensity for “triggering the release of follicle stimulating hormone.”


Bottom line: eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (organic if possible), some whole grains, lean meats, skinless poultry, mercury-free fish, and nuts and seeds. At the same time forego the traditional three square meals a day and go for six smaller meals throughout the day to maintain a nourished body and baby, and to avoid blood sugar swings.


Epigenetics and Your Baby

What in the world is epigenetics all about? Well, while the dictionary defines it as “the study of heritable changes that occur without a change in the DNA sequence” (Collins English Dictionary), it can be more simply understood by its Greek etymology: epi=over or above and genetics=genes of an organism. So epigenetics is simply all about how your genes or those of your baby can otherwise express themselves by external tweaking, if you will, with specific substances, foods and herbs.


In light of recent research in this emerging field of epigenetics, which can also be defined as thestudy of phytochemical (phyto=plant) modificationof an organism’s specific genes and their subsequent genetic expression, it is increasingly becoming recognized that both mom’s external environment (characterized by an abundance of nutrients and avoidance of toxins like alcohol, drugs, and tobacco) and baby’s in utero placental environment play vital roles in optimal “fetal programming” so-called for expression after birth and beyond. For example, mom’s weight before and during pregnancy can and does influence her baby’s present and future weight.


In addition to folic acid and vitamin D, other nutrients known to be especially beneficial to your baby later in life include hormones, essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins respectively as follows: natural progesterone, doco-sahexaenoic acid (DHA), choline, iodine, zinc, and vitamins B6, B12 and E.


Moms Need Magnesium

Pregnancy often increases the need for supplemental minerals (calcium, magnesium, selenium), and vitamins (A, biotin, folate, C, D, K). Not so emphasized by clinicians generally, however, is calcium’s much neglected cousin, viz., magnesium. Since most prenatal formulas deliver a minuscule amount of magnesium, it is vital for you to get all the magnesium you need from what you eat and supplementally, as required, especially with muscle or leg cramping, the most common indications of tissue insufficiency or frank deficiency.


The following foods and herbs provide the most magnesium: raw nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts), raw seeds (mustard, sesame, sunflower), wheat bran and germ, and wild marjoram better known as oregano. Topping the list, however, at a whopping 760 mg per 100 grams is brown seaweed otherwise known as kelp or bladderwrack. And of course a wide variety of greens offers lots of this major mineral.


Some supplement suggestions for your consideration:

Vitamin D Deficiency

Unlike the magnesium story, however, it has been increasingly well-documented even in the popular literature that a world-wide vitamin D deficiency delivers babies with soft bones (remember rickets?), some even fractured when passing through the birth canal. Sadly this catastrophic consequence (often resulting in a tragic and unfounded medical diagnosis of “shaken baby syndrome”) calls for the simple solution of increased sun exposure for mom before and during her pregnancy. Simple sunshine or in its absence something equivalent like safe tanning beds (UVB only) and/or vitamin D3 pills is the sine qua non of a healthy baby before and after birth.


Maternal vitamin D deficiency also increases the risk your baby could suffer numerous other serious ailments including premature birth, low birth weight, eczema, impaired bone and teeth development, diabetes (Type I), multiple sclerosis (MS), and manic depression.


While many ocean creatures such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, shrimp and oysters deliver vitamin D, only cod and halibut liver oil yield any dietary source of any significance. Supplementation, therefore, is absolutely essential. It is generally agreed by both researchers and clinicians that a daily maintenance dose of 5,000-8,000 IUs is required, but only after mother’s blood plasma levels have reached their optimum range (50-70 ng/ml). Higher dosing may be required initially to achieve the targeted blood level.


Sunshine Vitamin Supplementation

Vitamin D supplements are available in two forms in doses ranging from 400 IU to 10,000 IU per serving:


  • Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) — Inferior vitamin D analog (look alike) from Big Pharma available only by MD prescription
  • Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) — Superior form by any scientific and clinical perspective from a multitude of OTC sources delivered in many forms (liquid, liquid emulsion, softgel, tablet, gelatin or vegan capsule) from both animal (lanolin) and plant sources (e.g., mushrooms)


You moms can consider using any number of Vitamin D3 5000 IU product options from the following quality national manufacturers:


  • Bluebonnet, Country Life®, Doctors Best®, Douglas Laboratories
  • Jarrow Formulas®, Life Extension®, Natural Factors®, Nature’s Plus®
  • Now®, Pure Essence Labs, Solgar®, Source Naturals®, Superior Source


For your baby, consider using these popular products:


Pregnancy Preeclampsia

As perhaps the number one mineral deficiency in the general population (competing with iodine according to many researchers), magnesium is increasingly recognized for what it truly is—the magic mineral. Its insufficiency or deficiency during pregnancy will be manifested by such common complaints as nausea, loss of appetite, insomnia, irregular heartbeat (cardiac arrhythmias), and as we have seen already, muscle twitching and leg cramping.


Any serious major mineral deficiency may very well result in preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure or hypertension), impaired fetal development, newborn morbidity, and—God forbid—even infant mortality. High blood pressure during pregnancy is acknowledged as the leading cause of both maternal and fetal mortality worldwide. Indeed, the risk of stroke is almost 2.5 times for pregnant women.


Last year the British Medical Journal reported on a Mexico City study which concluded that the likelihood of preeclampsia in pregnant women (and the risk of premature birth as well) was significantly reduced by dietary supplementation with a combination of the amino acid L-Arginine and antioxidant vitamins such as A, C, and E, for example, which work together to promote healthy blood circulation and free-radical scavenging to prevent oxidation or internal “rusting.” Conventional medicine’s aspirin therapy several weeks into a pregnancy is probably not a good idea or practice.


In addition to those nutrients already noted, consider as well the following listed by category:


  • Carotenoids — Lycopene
  • Essential Fatty Acids — EPA/DHA from Fish Oil
  • Quinones — Coenzyme Q10
  • Minerals — Calcium, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc
  • Vitamins — B Complex, D, E Complex


And finally—you’re going to love this—indulge yourself to your heart’s content with dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa content), because its “theobromine” (from the Greek theo=God + broma=food) component used in medical practice as a diuretic, myocardial stimulant, and vasodilator, has been found to help prevent preeclampsia. Could any other food be so aptly named “God Food”? And we have it on the highest authority from Saint Paul in his 1st century letter to the Thessalonians that indeed God “giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (I 6:17 KJV)—even chocolate which goes well, as you know, with red wine “for the joy of our heart” (according to the psalmist of old), but only after pregnancy and lactation, of course.


Morning Sickness?

Morning sickness so-called can actually happen anytime—day or night, morning or evening. For whatever unknown reason(s), most moms-to-be experience some nausea during early pregnancy and many of those (maybe 50%) suffer even worse with vomiting.


Dietary care might include eating foods high in protein and complex carbs, snacking at bedtime, munching on soda crackers or dry toast, and according to some eating cold foods, since hot stuff often triggers queasiness. Vitamin (B6, K) and mineral (magnesium, zinc) supplementation may be helpful in alleviating this dispiriting condition.


Ginger is perhaps the best known herbal therapy, while teas featuring peppermint, spearmint, and even raspberry, are often found to be helpful.


Supportive supplements for your consideration:


Postpartum Depression?

Taking care of your baby after birth should not neglect the taking care of self at the same time. A healthy diet, adequate hydration, plenty of rest and enough sleep (if possible) are fundamental. Challenging issues include such common complaints as legs and feet swelling, constipation, menstrual-like cramping, tender breasts and leaking nipples, climbing stairs, and last but certainly not least is postpartum depression, also known as “baby blues,” if of short duration.


Postpartum depression can make you feel generally “bummed-out”—feeling restless, anxious, tired, and sadly even worthless in the case of some women. Some new moms even worry that they will hurt themselves or their babies as a result. Unlike the “baby blues,” postpartum depression endures for some time, but rarely results in even more serious issues such as not eating, sleeping, or acting normally. Women with this condition may need to be hospitalized for proper care and treatment.


While some researchers have argued that the interplay of a mother’s particular set of “genetic markers” with certain socioeconomic advantages or disadvantages affect such depression, most researchers hypothesize that hormonal changes such as a decline in progesterone production during and after pregnancy may be the leading cause of postpartum depression.


Counseling and dietary-specific supplementation, however, may make all the difference. With guidance from your healthcare provider consider taking such nutrients as: natural progesterone cream, Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA, EPA), the mineral selenium, vitamins B2 and B6, and Mexican wild yam.


Prenatal and Postnatal Dietary Supplementation

As noted elsewhere with emphasis by this author just last month (Why Seniors Need Nutrient Supplementation), it is generally accepted as true that food-based multi-vitamin/mineral multiples are superior to conventional formulations comprised of mainly synthetic isolates. Accordingly, the following well-attested, prenatal products from well-known and highly respected manufacturers—to list only three—are suggested for your evaluation and utilization:



Other more conventional formulations for your review, some of which are partly food-based, include the following standouts—again to name only a few out of many:


Vegan moms-to-be are encouraged to check out this product: Vegan Multivitamin and Mineral Prenatal by the Deva® company.


Colicky Crybaby?

While traditionally thought to be gastrointestinal in origin and nature, stressful colicky crying or “colic” common to many newborns (as this writer and his wife know personally from 44 years ago), it is interesting to note that colic has recently been linked to mothers’ migraines, as reported just this month by ScienceDaily. Migraine-plagued mothers were found to be two-and-a-half times more likely to have such crybabies, who may develop future “childhood periodic syndromes” including of course—you guessed it— migraines. It matters not if mom is feeding her baby breast milk or formula.

Many a migraine has been successfully alleviated or eliminated by simple vitamin (riboflavin), mineral (magnesium), and herbal (feverfew) therapies.


Finally, it should be noted that probiotic therapy has been found effective in both preventing and treating infant colic. So if your incessantly crying baby is bugging you, maybe the addition of some good bugs otherwise known as “benign” or “beneficial” bacteria, such as those in an infant/child-specific, probiotic product will yield some needed peace and quiet.


Supportive probiotic supplements for your consideration:


  • FloraBABY™ by Renew Life® — Powder of five strains of baby-loving bacteria (including B. infantis, of course), delivering 4 billion busy bugs (CFUs or “Colony Forming Units” to put it more technically) per gram
  • Baby’s Jarro-Dophilus® + FOS by Jarrow Formulas®


Some Lactation Tips

While just last month it was revealed that CDC researchers in a published study suggested that breast milk inhibited the efficacy of the rotavirus vaccine (and therefore presumably should be discontinued in favor of vaccine efficacy!), traditional thinking still contends that breast milk is and will always be best for baby in light of its absolutely vital immune-supporting substances such as immunoglobulin A (IgA) and lactoferrin.


In addition to calcium, folate or folic acid, and vitamin A, lactation supportive substances include herbs such as aniseed, blessed thistle, chaste berry, nettle, raspberry leaf and shatavari. Best known for supporting mother’s milk production are fenugreek seeds, whether taken as an herbal extract or as a satisfying tea.


Supportive breastfeeding supplements for your consideration:


Lest we forget and you unintentionally think more of self and husband than baby, we need to remind you NOT to diet while breastfeeding with the misguided intent to shed some postpartum weight in order to regain your svelte preconception figure.


Nutrient-Specific Products for Clinical Objectives

Finally, please consider with your clinician the following nutrient-specific formulations to address any specific nutritional needs in known or suspected conditions or deficiencies in you or your baby:




  • Babycenter.com
  • Hyperhealth Pro 10.0, 2010 CD-ROM (In-Tele-Health ©2009)
  • Mercola.com
  • NaturalNews.com
  • NLM.NIH.gov/MedlinePlus
  • ScienceDaily.com
  • VitaminLife.com
  • YOU: Having a Baby, Michael Roizen, MD and Mehmet OZ, MD, Free Press, 2009