Like a lot of people, I've been studying the science of supplements for as long as I've been taking taking them. Which is more than 35 years.
For much of that time, I wasn't always consistent about it.
Because even if prevention is working, it's not always easy to FEEL it! There's an uncertainly about taking supplements for preventive health that can bug anyone!
For sure, the science about supplements continues to get better. It's clearer what really works and what doesn't. There are more and more research breakthroughs. Sometimes they're positively exciting and sometimes they're confusing contradictions. That's the way science grows, in fits and starts and odd spirals, and rarely in an straight obvious arrow.
Nevertheless, staying well-informed about the subject is truly fascinating and always useful.
HOWEVER, the REALLY PERSISTENT, TOUGH ISSUE for me is NOT staying up with the science. It's LIVING up to it's preventive promise, making the necessary BEHAVIOR changes long enough to actually GET the benefits.
The real question for me is: How do I build and maintain healthy habits with supplements long-term? In fact, for life?
That's the conversation I'd like to have with everyone at Wellsphere.com
Maintaining sensible lifelong habits about taking supplements continues to be a nagging challenge, not only for me, but for lots of people who think of themselves as health committed!
The irony, of course, is that the SOONER we commit to consistently taking the right supplements and the LONGER we stick with them, the BIGGER the benefits.
It's a healthy version of the self-multiplying magic of compound interest - accept this time its growing your "wellbeing" savings account.
Sounds great. But who's sure its actually working, especially when your younger? How do we know if we're really getting everything we're hoping and paying for from taking supplements for life?
Yet, a commitment to consistently healthier behavior is what's essential for preventive health to work. Obviously, blind faith isn't the answer.
Consistently making well-researched, wise decisions about precisely which supplements are right for our particular needs and goals during each phase of our lives is certainly the right approach AND, t the same time, an on-going challenge.
It's important to keep our expectations realistic about which benefits are actually MEASURABLE by taking supplements - month after month and year after year? And how much is "just" the placebo effect?
(Nothing against placebo. That's the power of self-healing, the best medicine there is, camoflaged with a medical term)
Obviously, taking supplements is (usually) NOT like taking an aspirin for a headache. With an aspirin, you know in less than an hour if it worked. The headache is gone - or it's not. Not so with most supplements.
I've been a product developer and manufacturer of dietary supplements, as well as a consumer, for over 30 years.
In all that time, I've noticed that the most persistent, I'd even say NAGGING, issues for me about taking supplements are:
1) WHICH set of supplements are the most ESSENTIAL for ME now, during this phase of my life, given the evolving science, and WHEN do I change my "mix" (??), and
2) How can I consistently REMEMBER TO TAKE THEM every day (or as often as necessary) to be sure that I'm actually getting their promised long-term benefits?
MY DAILY PILL RITUAL: This is the most common solution. I'd bet that most people, like me, who take a lot of supplements, have some sort of daily ritual.
DOWN WITH THE DAILY BOTTLE HASSLE! Personally, I don't like the hassle of opening and closing a drawer jammed full of bottles every day. It takes too long and I forget to do it and so I can let it slide.
There's a lot of different ways to solve this problem.
MY SOLUTION: Since I'm a bit scattered and distracted in general, every two weeks (or so) I make (14) little piles of the supplements I'm currently taking and a different (14) piles for my wife. I fill (14) little baggies that are marked with my initials and another (14) with hers.
I keep these seperate in two corners of a drawer by our tea pot. I take mine, with kefir, every mid-morning, usually after breakfast. Usually so does she.
Any baggies will do, as long as they're pocket-sized and easy to reseal. There's a branded packet of (50) at some drug stores called EZY-DOSE that are convenient, cheap, and made for this purpose. I like them. It costs about $2. There are also some other small baggies (ususally for jewelry) that are more durable.
I like the little baggies better than the larger molded plastic pill boxes, with their little chambers labeled with the days of the week, because I can take several with me, if I'm traveling. Or I can pocket one and take it later in the day while I'm on the go. It's really flexible. And if I lose it, it doesn't really matter much.
I find that I'm much more consistent remembering to take my supplements for the long haul with the daily baggy habit.
Also, I've made the bi-weekly ritual into a brief meditiation about how healthy I've been feeling and acting (or not) over the previous two weeks.
It usually takes me 15-20 minutes to do, which is much less than I'd spend opening and closing all those bottles every morning for two weeks. Yet its long enough to get some value out of the time reflecting on my health progress.
I think about any problems, issues, changes, or improvements that have been on my mind over the last two weeks. This motivates me to keep on improving my behavior. This added benefit has reinforced the ritual, again self-multiplying the benefits. That's just what works for me.
WHAT ARE YOUR ISSUES, QUESTIONS, INSIGHTS, COMMENTS, AND TIPS ABOUT MAINTAINING HEALTHY LONG-TERM BEHAVIOR AROUND TAKING SUPPLEMENTS?
I'd really be curious to know. Thanks. Take Care. Well, Larry