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Your Guide to Anti-Aging, Nutrition and Wellness
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Interviews from Suzanne Somers->Interview from Breakthrough
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Interview from Suzanne Somer's Breakthough

The following interview is an excerpt from Suzanne Somers' latest Bestseller: Breakthrough: Eight Steps to Wellness. (Reprinted with permission)

… Another company I greatly admire is Designs for Health. The interview that follows is with nutritionist Cristiana Paul, an independent nutritional counselor, who introduced me to the concept of blood and stool testing to determine your exact supplemental needs.

These companies are dedicated to bringing quality, life-restoring good health to all of us.  It is vibrantly clear after interviewing all the doctors of this book that supplementation is definitely a backbone to today’s breakthrough life and necessary step to wellness.

When I stopped taking my supplements for a few weeks a couple of years ago (just to see what would happen), I experienced a severe depletion of my energy, my skin did not glow in the way it usually does, and my system did not work as well. It was an experiment that convinced me that the good food I was eating was still not enough.

You will enjoy hearing from Cristiana Paul about the essentials of supplementation. After reading what she has to say, you will be more convinced than ever to remain healthy today we need to augment what our bodies require for optimal health…


RECENTLY, I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY to meet Cristiana Paul, M.S. a nutritionist and an independent consultant who provides education to health care practitioners and their patients.  She is also involved in research support for Designs for Health, one of the companies that makes high-quality vitamins and supplements.

In other words, she is the one who teaches the doctors and their clients about nutrition.  I sat down with her and asked her how we can optimize our health through supplementation, and how we can know we are getting the right supplementation for ourselves. I think what she has to say will help considerably in choosing for yourself the regimen that would best support your health.

SS:    Tell me why and when we need nutritional supplements.
CP:   Think about your body as if it were a car.  We know a car needs good maintenance: checkups, tune-ups, high-quality gasoline, oil, and water in order to function with high performance.  The difference between our cars and our bodies is that we can trade in our cars when they get run-down, but not our bodies (not yet anyway).  The good news is that your body, unlike your car, tries to renew and repair itself all day and all night long, but you need to give it the right materials in the right amounts and at the right times.

SS:    But how do we know what materials (or supplements) we need in terms of nutritional supplementation?
CP:   For example, we now have tests that can measure the levels of nutrients in the blood or nutrient metabolites in the urine, which indicate if we have enough of any particular nutrient for our individual metabolism’s needs.  If a person is really committed to maximizing his or her body’s function, health, and longevity, then he or she needs to be very smart about how to get the absolute best combination of nutrients from food or supplements.  The only way to know for sure is to take these tests; unfortunately, these are not tests that your regular doctor will order for your physical.  Most doctors just aren’t aware these great tests exist. We need to analyze blood, urine, saliva, and stool samples.  My Web site is www.CristianaPaul.com, and I can give your readers a list of the practitioners who perform particular nutritional tests.

SS:    How long have these tests been available?
CP:   Ten years ago, when I received my master’s in nutrition, they were not mentioned in my academic training, and very few of them were available.  But in recent years more and more of them are being offered, and the technology is getting better. It’s so important to evaluate your nutritional deficiencies; I see nutritional deficiencies even among people who consider themselves healthy eaters and who already take basic multivitamins, minerals, fish oils, and some antioxidants.
These tests can tell me if a person has trans fats in his or her system, and this is important because trans fats can create cardiovascular problems or may get into various tissues - like the brain, for example - and interfere with optimal function. If I had my way, I would perform these tests on every patient who walked through my door.  Nutritional support can create optimal health and healing.

SS:    Well, this is exciting.  It’s great to know that by simple blood, urine, and stool tests you can pinpoint exactly what you need nutritionally.  This is a designer regimen of vitamins, customized to the individual.  I know, having taken these tests myself, that I feel secure knowing I am supplementing with exactly what I need.  There’s no guessing.
CP:   Tests tell me one thing, and then there is the interaction with the individual.  For example, if I have a patient who is depressed, and I look at her diet and see that she is not eating fish but only chicken and turkey, I know that she probably has a major deficiency in fish oils.  My recommendation would be to put her on six soft gels of fish oil daily, and I can prove it to her by taking her blood work and showing her the low levels of DHA (the fatty acid in fish that is essential for her brain to work).  This way she sees the connection and will hopefully be more likely to be motivated to take the fish oil supplements and/or eat fish, so there is a good chance her brain function will improve.
I do not mean to imply that depression has a simple fix with fish oils, but it is very well established by numerous published studies that DHA deficiency may play a role in certain types of depression. If we could at least correct any DHA deficiency in depressed people, there is a good chance that all the other treatments that are employed will be more effective. Fish oils are just one piece of a very complicated puzzle, but a very important one.

SS:    What are the other important supplements that are a must for everyone?
CP:   Well, besides omega-3 fish oils, there is the fatty acid GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), which is an essential fat important for reducing inflammation, optimal immune function, and skin health, to name a few.  Essential fatty acids are found in the outer layer of every cell in our bodies, and it’s important to understand that they have a very profound effect on how our bodies work.  This influences how well cells communicate, how well they respond to hormones, the levels of inflammation, blood clotting, blood thinning, blood vessel dilation/constriction, immune activation against infectious agents, cardiovascular plaque buildup, and the risk of plaque rupture. Next would be a multivitamin/multimineral, but not a one-a-day.  There is a test called the Comprehensive Metabolic Profile (CMP by DFH & Metametrix), which can uncover a person’s needs for B vitamins, Co-Q10, Lipoic acid, and magnesium.  If people knew they could benefit so greatly from burning energy more efficiently and having less energy stored, I believe they would take supplements more often.  This test will also show if you have rancid fats in your body from fried or unstable fats and if you have bacterial overgrowth in the intestinal tract (this can give you “brain fog”).

SS:    Well, yes, if a need can be shown, as in a deficiency, I am sure people would be more that willing to supplement.  How do we know which vitamins really work? Which ones are true to their label, which are bioavailable and which are not?
CP:   Most over-the-counter vitamins are tablets, because it is an inexpensive way to produce them, and you can press a lot of material into one pill, which makes the formula look good on the label.  “One-a-day” is not optional.  It is similar to drinking all your daily requirements for water in one sitting rather than distributing them throughout the day.  Same for vitamins: You want to spread them out as evenly as it’s practical to do. What we want are chelated forms of minerals (like glycinates, for example), which have two to three times better absorption than all other available forms and do not interact with food components in the stomach.  Oxides, citrates, carbonates, gluconates, aspartates, hydroxyapatite: these are forms of minerals that are poorly absorbed. Minerals are not affected when pressed into tablets, but some vitamins are fragile and may be destroyed during this manufacturing process.

SS:    But why-if we are eating well, as in good organic food, and really thinking about nutritional support from the food we choose-why do we need to supplement?
CP:   There are many reasons:

  • Seemingly nutritious food may be coming from insufficient soils or from long, improper storage or be cooked too long or cooked in temperatures that are too high.
  • If we do not chew our food well, it doesn’t digest.  Or it could be that we don’t have enough stomach acid or digestive enzymes or we do not absorb nutrients well due to an irritated intestinal tract.  This could be due to aging, stress, yeast, or parasites present in the colon, or allergies, celiac, or inflammatory conditions of the intestinal tract.  That is why a periodic stool test is helpful. (Metametrix offers one called GI Effects).
  • We do not eat at regular and even intervals throughout the day.  We skip breakfast or lunch and then eat a huge dinner that we cannot possibly digest adequately.  And you have to remember that what is left undigested, the bacteria, yeast, and parasites in our colon will use for food to grow and multiply (yummy leftovers for them).  So that is how we support their overgrowth which then irritates the colon, causes gas, and suppresses the local immune system of the gut.
  • As we age, our cells do not operate as efficiently as when we were born.  Imagine our cells making Xerox copies of themselves, and then the copies get less and less accurate as we age.  These tiny imperfections may be due to mitochondrial deletions, and may require that the energy pathways in our cells increase their need for B vitamins, Co-Q10, lipoic acid, and magnesium.  So, as we age, our requirement for these nutrients may increase over that of a younger person.

It is essential to eat as healthy as possible, but as we age, we need to add every trick in the book to compensate for age-related changes in our systems.  If we give our bodies the right amount of nutrients, they can help it to function almost as good as new.

SS: So, it’s the same as we do with bioidentical hormones: identify the deficiencies, then replace what is missing.
CP:   Absolutely, Bioidentical supplements go with bioidentical hormones and, of course, a bioidentical lifestyle and diet.  This is how we harvest the maximum potential from our bodies.

SS:    Bioidentical supplements?
CP:   Yes.  I would call bioidentical those supplements that contain substances that have an essential physiological role in the human body’s physiology: vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and others such as Co-Q10, R-lipoic acid, fish oils, creatine, carnitine, phospholipids, and GPC (glycerol-phospho-choline).
These nutrients should be provided in their naturally occurring from-or at least a form that is easily usable by the body-and in amounts similar to what we get in natural foods or is made inside our bodies.  Sometimes we need to use higher therapeutic doses of these nutrients, but only under a health care practitioner’s supervision.
Then there are additional substances found in nature from which we can greatly benefit from such as fiber, grape seed, resveratrol, curcumin, and green tea. We should never forget where we came from and what our bodies have adapted to for millions of years: lots of fruits and vegetables, roots, nuts, seeds (raw, not fried, roasted, or salted), and animal fats from animals that are grazing on natural pastures or fish that eating algae and other fish as opposed to what they feed them in the fish farms.

 When animals eat grass, their fat is high in omega-3 oils, and when they eat corn, their fat is high in omega-6 oils.  Farm-fed fish are low in EPA/DHA, which is what wild fish have and why they are preferred.

SS:  And it has been said over and over in this book to avoid omega-6 oils like, for instance, corn oil.  Besides, corn is fattening.  I guess that’s why they feed it to the cattle-fatten them up.  Do you eat perfectly all the time? I mean, do you ever go crazy with cake or desserts?
CP:  I would recommend a multivitamin and multimineral of high quality.  Do the best you can for about three months with your diet, then take the nutritional tests to see if you need extra minerals, B vitamins, antioxidants, and whatever is relevant for your goals and health problems.

SS: What about the gut? Everyone is bloating; everyone has food allergies and intolerances.  Are there any supplements that can alleviate this discomfort?
CP: Fiber is important in reducing the risk of constipation and helping the body get rid of the toxins that the liver pulls out of the blood.  Fiber is also great for reducing appetite because it sends a “full signal” to the brain.  When you get enough fiber in your diet, your intestinal muscles actually get a good workout. Gas may be an unwanted consequence of having too much fiber, so you have to find the right amount for you gradually.  But fiber does not make the gas on its own; the excess bacteria and yeast (your personal brewery) in your gastrointestinal tract make the gas when they use fibers as food, especially the soluble fiber.  Excess bacteria and yeast are a result of eating too much sugar and carbohydrates.  There are herbal compounds (for example, grapefruit seed extract, bearberry, caprylic acid, and black walnut-Designs for Health offers these in the GI-Microb-X formula) that can kill and reduce the numbers of problematic microbes in the colon.  Also, a lack of stomach acid and use of antacid medications can create bloating and allow for too many of these gas-producing creatures to take residence in our guts.

SS:  I think if my readers walk away with anything from this book, it would be the misconception of antacids.  Bloating and discomfort in the gut is almost always a result of not enough hydrochloric acid, yet doctors and people treat this discomfort with exactly what they don’t need:  They take an antacid to take away acid, when what they need is more acid called HCI.
CP: Yes, and you also need probiotics if there are not enough probiotics in your diet, like yogurt or fermented cabbage.

SS:   I would say most of us are probably not pigging out on fermented cabbage.
CP:  Probably not.  But it’s important to understand the importance of probiotics, which are like your personal army of soldiers that defend the intestinal borders.  Those are entry points for approved citizens (like food), and are constantly under the attack of terrorists (like unfriendly bacteria, yeast, parasites, and toxins).  One problem is that nonorganic animal foods and dairy contain antibiotics.  So when you eat these foods, it’s like you are taking antibiotics.  These antibiotics kill probiotics in your gut, they wipe out your gut defense system, leaving a void where the terrorists (the bad bacteria, yeasts, and parasites) can take over.  That’s why we constantly need to take in probiotics-unless what you are eating is strictly organic, in which case you need to take them less often.

SS:  What other supplements do you recommend?
CP:  For aging joints and back pain, you need glucosamine two to three times a day, spread evenly.  Joints can wear out due to overuse and/or excessive inflammation, so if you do not take your fish oils and watch your arachidonic acid intake (from corn-fed animals and dairy), your glucosamine supplements cannot repair the damage done by the inflammatory compounds derived from arachidonic acid fast enough. Until you’ve accumulated enough fish oils in your cell membranes to keep inflammation under control, you may need a hefty dose of antiflammatories like green tea, curcumin, and resveratrol.

SS:   Now… let’s talk about resveratrol.  This is the new wonder supplement.
CP:  Red wine contains resveratrol; white wine has hardly any.  Resveratrol has shown that it may reduce the risk of many diseases and extend the health and survival rate (in animal studies), even when someone is not on the perfect diet and/or is overweight.

SS: That sounds like you can have your cake and eat it, too.
CP: No. You can’t go ahead and commit nutritional sins thinking the resveratrol will wipe out all the consequences.  Resveratrol may help people who do not have perfect diets, but for people who do have relatively good diets, then the effects are dynamite. Supplementing with resveratrol essentially fools the body into thinking it needs to do everything available to preserve function, rev up defenses, and keep us in top shape.

SS:   There is something powerful in this resveratrol molecule.  It turns on a gene called SIR-I that makes our bodies rev up our defenses to protect us from disease.  I see it as ninja warriors sitting at the entrance saying, no way!
CP:  Yes. It signals the body to inhibit cancer development and improve sugar metabolism and cardiovascular function; it protects the brain and arteries from plaque by stabilizing it in a way so that it is less likely to rupture, reduces the risk of excessive blood clotting, reduces excessive inflammation and cholesterol, and improves energy production.  It also has antiviral and antifungal and antibacterial (H. pylori) effects.  I never imagined one substance could do all this, yet there are thousands of studies supporting it.

SS: What red wine is the best source of resveratrol?
CP: Pinot Noir and wines that are made with the muscadine grape.  Plants (grapevines in this case) make more resveratrol when they experience tough conditions…excessive cold or drought or when attacked by mold. One study this year on Medline (which I check all the time) shows that it may help the body destroy breast cancer cells and reduce their invasiveness.  Another study shows that it reduces glucose metabolism in ovarian cancer cells, thus helping the immune system kill them.  Keep in mind that sugar fuels cancer cells like gasoline on a fire, but our friend resvertrol helps inhibit that fire.

SS:  This is amazing new discovery.  I take resveratrol every morning and evening.  I have been doing so for the past year.  Many companies are making it.  I get mine from Life Extension.
CP: Yes. Resveratrol is available now from many nutritional companies.  Designs for Health offers it in a product called Resveratrol Synergy, with 200 milligrams per capsule with Quercetin.  Other companies offer it in the powder form, if you want to dose it higher and minimize the number of pills you take. Resveratrol is a very powerful molecule.  It thins the blood in a good way, and it is a powerful anti-inflammatory.  If you had cancer, it claims to offer great protection from a recurrence.

SS:  Have you felt the benefits since you’ve been taking resveratrol?
CP:  My brain feels more focused and clear; I feel more brain energy.

SS: Me, too.  Since I have been taking it, my brain is operating topnotch.  What else do you recommend?  What about vitamin D?
CP: Vitamin D is very important.  We now recommend doses ranging from 1,000 IU to 10,000 IU per day, based on sun exposure and blood levels; readers should not dose themselves without a health care practitioner’s supervision, due to the potential toxicity of excess.  People are no longer sitting in the sun, and as a result we are deficient in vitamin D.  This amazing prohormone reduces osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, cancer risk and progression, inflammation, fibrinogen (which influences blood clotting); it normalizes blood pressure, improves insulin sensitivity, supports the health of the arterial wall, and may reduce cardiovascular mortality.  It may also improve mood and help relieve some symptoms of PMS.
Vitamin K is the new superstar on the nutrition horizon.  It has shown reversal of calcification in the arterial plaque of rats, and I feel we will be seeing a reduction of calcium deposits in the arteries in humans who have adequate intake of vitamin K.  I need to mention here that people taking anticoagulants should not take vitamin K.  Vitamin K supports bone building and has amazing potential for reducing the risk of kidney stones, cancer, inflammation, and arthritis; it helps the myelination of nerves and the brain (so it may help with multiple sclerosis), and supports the pancreas in producing adequate levels of insulin.  As if all of this was not enough, vitamin K seems to have other roles involving skin, sperm, salivary glands, and sex hormone receptors.
Co-Q10 is a well-know energy supporter, antioxidant, and immune booster.  I would not go one day without it.  It’s that important.  Co-Q10 was shown to improve life span in rats. Curcumin is anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-Alzheimer’s, antiallergy, anti-cardiovascular plaque buildup and rupture, and a blood thinner.  I take 100 milligrams one to two times a day. For brain support: phosphatidylserine, acetyl-l-carnitine, creatine, and ginkgo biloba.

SS: And finally, how important is detoxification for antiaging?
CP: We have to get rid of toxins faster than they come into the body, because this may be one of the most important factors we experience in age acceleration.  This garbage accumulation can mess up every aspect of our bodies’ functions; it can impair the brain, the hormones, the energy production, and the immune system.
Imagine a house where you constantly have more trash coming in and accumulating inside than you are taking out on a daily basis.  How can you function if the garbage piles up?
First, let’s not bring trash into the house to begin with.  By this I mean toxins from food and the environment.  There will always be some trash that accumulates as a result of normal metabolism.  So take plenty of fiber through food and/or supplements all throughout the day, drink water, and sweat with every opportunity.
A liver-support detox formula may be very useful as a supplement on an ongoing basis.  This may contain: NAC, glycine, taurine, and metionine.  Designs for Health offers these in the Amino-D-Tox formula, and for additional protection, you can also take DETOX-ANTIOX, which has additional antioxidants (like green tea, grape seed), anti-inflammatories (like turmeric), and toxic metal chelating agents (like lipoic acid, selenium).
In addition, a periodical detox diet program (like spring cleaning) may be very beneficial.  There are many programs out there, but I trust only the ones based on science, and they must include protein.
Everyone knows they should have annual physicals and regular blood work, but what about having periodical nutritional status checkups? It’s a new concept, and most people have not even heard that nutritionists and some doctors are doing this routinely.  The information found through lab work helps find the best approach to treating disease or just optimizes your health.
I am grateful that there is so much available today in the realm of tests and supplements to give us effective tools and means to support our efforts to optimize health.  Supplementation is essential and necessary in order to survive in today’s environment, which presents toxic challenges with nonoptimal soil and food supplies.  Supplements are a gift-a way of putting back into our bodies what food once was able to do for us-and compensate to a certain extent for some age-related physiological changes we experience.
Instead of allowing nutritional deficiencies to undermine our performance and health, we can be proactive by giving our body what it wants and needs.
SS:   Well said. Thank you for all this wonderful information.


    • For optimum health, multivitamins should not be “one-a-day,” and multiminerals should be taken in chelated forms.
    • After three months of taking quality multivitamins and multiminerals and trying to eat healthy, take nutritional tests to find out what deficiencies you may need to counteract with supplementation.  Continue regular nutritional checkups.
    • Taking omega-3 fish oil supplements helps alleviate depression and inflammation of the joints.  Plus it builds healthy cell memebranes.
    • The fatty acid GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) is essential for reducing inflammation and to ensure optimal immune function and skin health, to name a few.
    • R-lipoic acid, carnosine, and benfotiamine help process sugar in a way that reduces the typical damage that occurs after eating starchy or sugary foods.  Taking fiber before a nonoptimal meal with refined sugar and flour slows down the sugar absorption by mixing it with fiber in the stomach.  Fiber is also important in reducing the risk of constipation and helping the body get rid of the toxins that the liver pulls out of the blood.
    • Herbal compounds such as grapefruit seed extract, bearberry, caprylic acid, and black walnut can kill and reduce the number of problematic microbes in the colon.
    • Supplementing with resveratrol essentially fools the body into thinking it needs to do everything available to preserve function, rev up defenses, and keep us in top shape.
    • Other powerful supplements include vitamin D, vitamin K, Co-Q10, curcumin, phosphatidylserine, acetyl-l-carnitine, creatine, and ginkgo biloba.



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The information presented on this website is in no way intended as medical advice or a substitute for medical counseling. The information should be used in conjunction with the guidance and care of your physician. Consult your physician before beginning any new program or regimen. Your physician should be aware of all medical conditions that you may have, as well as the medications and supplements you are taking.

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