Get Nutrients From Food, Not Supplements Ask the doctors | Health, medicine and fitness
Hello again, dear readers, and welcome to the rest of this month’s letter column. Our mail volume continues to grow, so we will add additional letter columns as needed.
– A reader asked about food supplements. “My doctor recently told me to stop taking probiotics and fish oil,” he wrote. “But my wife and I have been taking them for many years. What do you think ? Among the most popular supplements are probiotics and fish oil. Our own preference is that these nutrients are obtained from food sources. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, and miso all contain strains of beneficial bacteria. They are also less expensive than supplements. The same goes for fish oil. It’s better – and more delicious – to get your omega-3s by eating oily fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, and black cod. If you are purchasing a probiotic, please choose the ones that contain as many diverse strains as possible. But our firm belief is that a pill cannot replace a healthy, balanced diet.
– Along the same lines, a reader asked about vitamin D. “I take 1,000 international units of vitamin D3 per day in two forms – one tablet and one capsule,” he wrote. “Is there a benefit of one form or the other?” Vitamin D3 is better absorbed than D2. As for tablets versus capsules, there is no difference. It is important to note that the upper limit is 5,000 IU per day. We recommend that you get vitamin D through food sources, including fortified dairy products, mushrooms, and fish. And, if there is no risk of skin cancer, get some sun every day.
– We have received an important question about the coronavirus vaccine from a number of readers who are undergoing cancer treatment or who are struggling with a weakened or compromised immune system. A reader from Naples, Florida said that shortly after her husband was fully vaccinated, a cancer diagnosis meant he began immunotherapy and chemotherapy, which suppress the immune system. “Do you have any information on the level of protection for cancer patients? ” she asked. “Interestingly, the CDC didn’t mention this group in their last published advice. I think this would be a significant issue to deal with for your chronicle, as there are unfortunately a lot of cancer patients.” Due to the need to first confirm that vaccines work in people with healthy immune systems, the initial studies of COVID-19 vaccines did not include people who are immunocompromised. And because we’re still in the early stages of vaccine deployment, it’s not yet clear how effective vaccines might be in these groups of people. While vaccines may not be as effective, it is still strongly recommended that most cancer patients, who are at increased risk of COVID-19, get vaccinated. Even a minimum of protection is better than nothing at all. Unvaccinated cancer patients should be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of the vaccine with their oncologist.
Thank you as always for taking the time to write to us. Please continue to take appropriate coronavirus precautions and, if you are eligible but have not yet done so, please get vaccinated.