The supplement pyramid

Build your personalized nutritional diet 

The endless variety and choices of supplements may easily seem daunting to those pursuing a healthy lifestyle. 

Author of The Supplement Pyramid and Life Extension US’s medical expert, Dr. Michael Smith is the designer of this three-tiered supplement pyramid, discussed in detail on this page, tailored to meet specific and personalized nutritional needs. 

Questions regarding supplements

The most asked questions by a mile, are associated with what nutritional supplements are the best to take – and not to take. 

There are a shocking number of choices out there. Anyone who has walked into the supplement section of a natural foods store or conducted a quick online search on a vitamin supersite can second that. 

Complicating things even more, there are new products coming to the market daily. 

With so many options to consider, it is not difficult to get lost: 

  • When do you know you are taking the right supplements? 
  • Should you add the latest trending Amazonian herb you just read about to your supplement regimen? 
  • If you want to cut back a little to save funds, which supplements should you keep, and which ones should you forget about? 

These are precisely the types of questions your supplement pyramid can answer for you

What is a supplement pyramid?

The supplement pyramid is like the food pyramid in that it is an educational graphic tool.  

The food pyramid is the most well-known pyramid, it is an educational graphic tool that helps you design and follows a healthy diet by telling you how many servings you should eat from different food groups. 

The supplement pyramid is like the food pyramid in that it is an educational graphic tool, although that is where the similarities end. 

Unlike its food counterpart, the supplement pyramid is personalized to meet your specific nutritional needs. After all, except for a few foundational nutrients, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all supplement regimen. Everyone’s needs are specific to the individual. 

First, the pyramid structure is symbolic of stability. And second, as you ascend the levels of the pyramid, they shrink in size, representing their order of importance to your health. 

That means you are going to build your supplement pyramid from the bottom up, like a real pyramid. 

The three levels

Your supplement pyramid has three levels. 

  1. The bottom tier is the foundation level. It has nutrients essential to life. Because of their vital importance to human biology, we all need to take the same foundational supplements. 
  2. The middle tier is the personalization level. This is the level that is all yours. It is comprised of nutrients specific to your personal medical history and health needs. 
  3. The top tier is the optimization level. This is where all the “extra” supplements come in that really take your health to the next or optimal level.

1. The foundation level

You all need the same foundational supplements. 

The one solid reason the Egyptian pyramids have lasted for so long is because of their sturdy foundation. 

They have lasted for 4,000 years and although the foundation level on the supplement pyramid may not particularly lead you to live as long, it sure will help nourish and sustain you to live long and healthy. 

Your supplement pyramid, too, needs a solid base. The supplements comprising this level support basic life processes, such as cellular energy production, growth, repair, and regeneration. 

Regardless of who you are or what you are going through, you need the same foundational supplements as everybody else. 

Think of them as the human essential nutrients for living well. They include five building blocks: 

Life Extension The Supplement Pyramid

2. The personalization level 

This is the level that is all about you. 

The personalization level, the middle part of the supplement pyramid is built for finding the right supplements to help you prevent the diseases most likely to affect you personally. If you are itching to find out which supplements will help you train for a marathon or reverse your cells’ biological clocks to prevent aging, here is where we get to that. 

Those types of personal health and wellness goals belong in the optimization level. Though this level is really designed to prevent disease. You will complete three basic procedures to identify the supplements in your personalization level: 

Personal and family inventories

Health challenges are something inevitably encountered and faced throughout our lives. Some you will have dealt with directly. You may have a history of heart disease, for example, or just some of the warning signs, like high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, or insulin resistance. 

Other health challenges may not have touched you yet, but have affected members of your family, putting you at greater risk. A father, an aunt, or a grandparent may have had cancer or Alzheimer’s disease, for example. 

Creating a personal and family medical inventory will help you identify past, ongoing, and potential problem spots for you to protect against. And that is the beauty of the personalization level. This is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It is tailored to your own specific medical needs. Accounting for your personal and family health history is the first step in developing it. 

Your detailed medical inventory is comprised of several questions pertaining to major organ systems, including: 

The following areas are also important: 

  • Diabetes/metabolism 
  • Eyes/ears/nose/throat 
  • Mental health/mood 

You will note the obvious diseases, as well as the strange symptoms that have not been diagnosed yet. For example, let us say your older sister suffers from chronic tremors in her hands, but her doctors do not know why. 

And your mum remembers a great-aunt that had similar problems. This information would be included in your inventory as a potential nerve disorder and you could supplement your nerve health. 

Once you have identified past problems that you do not want to come back to, current problems to address, and potential problems in the future, you can take appropriate steps to support areas of your health.

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Laboratory testing 

The last step in developing your personalization level is to learn about the array of laboratory tests that can further help you personalize your supplement pyramid. 

This could be the most interesting part of the personalization level because lab testing can tell you all kinds of things about what is going on inside your body that would be hard to figure out otherwise. 

You will be recommended tests that will help you identify: 

  • Which nutrients you might be lacking.
  • Whether you are part of the 70% of the world who are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. 
  • The level of toxic heavy metals in your system. 
  • How much oxidative stress your body is under. 
  • If your levels of various hormones and neurotransmitters are normal.
  • Whether food allergies are making you ill. 

There is then a cognitive test you can take right at home as well to determine if you are showing any signs of age-related cognitive decline. 

3. The optimization level 

The optimization level does exactly what it says on the tin. 

This is the smallest and highest part of your supplement pyramid. It is not necessarily about your medical needs, which should be met on the personalization level. 

These supplements simply “optimize” your system. This level has the appropriate supplements that can help you live a longer, healthier life. You could also think of them as anti-aging supplements

These might include nutrients that have been shown to induce beneficial effects on gene expression, which might be the solution to eradicating age-related disease. 

Supplements at this level may not be essential to your overall health. Nevertheless, that is not to say that they are not important. They could help extend your life span or make your later years healthier. However, when it is all said and done, you could do without them. 

That is why the supplement pyramid is structured the way it is, you always meet your foundational and survival needs first, your disease prevention needs second, and your anti-aging goals last.  

An important thing to consider here is your budget. We are not all loaded with cash. So, if you do need to cut back on your spending, then the supplements on the optimization level should be the first to say let go. That way, your body still benefits with the core, foundational nutrients for your survival but also your custom-tailored supplements that will help you prevent disease. 

Specific disease pyramids

If you or someone you love already has a disease

Most of The Supplement Pyramid book is angled towards making sure you are meeting your nutritional needs, helping you prevent disease, and assisting you in aging as well as possible. 

But what if you or someone you love already has a disease? 

Some of the most common chronic diseases have suitable supplements that can help slow their progression and even improve their symptoms and outcome. 

In the disease supplement pyramids, you include the following disease types: 

  • Bowel and digestive disorders
  • Brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
  • Cancers including prostate, breast, and colon 
  • Chronic fatigue and chronic pain syndromes
  • Diabetes and metabolic disorders
  • Lung disorders like COPD and asthma
  • Heart diseases including atherosclerosis and heart failure 
  • Insomnia and mood disorders
  • Bone and joint disorders 
  • Overweight and obesity 

Choosing high-quality products

Having a personalized supplement pyramid grants an advantage to your everyday health. 

However, you will need high-quality products to correctly implement it. When it comes to the quality of supplements, it is important to identify the fact that they can range hugely within the industry. 

Therefore, it is a promising idea to consider the following before going for a supplement purchase: 

  • That the ingredients inside my supplements match what is advertised on the label
  • I can be sure that my supplements contain the full amount they say they do 
  • I know that my supplements are not contaminated with pesticides, heavy metals, or microbes
  • I can tell if my supplements are providing helpful therapeutic dosages of key ingredients versus just a sprinkling 
  • How can I keep myself from being cheated by those phony supplement con artists out there who only care about lining their pockets at my expense? 
  • Yes, it is a predicament, however, the solution is simple: Stick with a company that has an established record of accomplishment in selling high-quality products, such as Life Extension Europe. Established companies use only pure, potent raw materials.

Building your health from the ground up 

A tailored pyramid to your specific health needs & goals

After reading this, you might be better informed and ready to implement your own supplement pyramid, made uniquely tailored to your specific health needs and goals. As a primary starting point, build upon the foundational supplements, starting with a high-quality, ideally dosed multivitamin.

Working upwards on your pyramid, add omega-3 fish oilsubiquinol CoQ10curcumin, and probioticsThese five supplements are foundational to your health as they help every cell and tissue throughout your body. 

  1. Once the foundation is in place, you can continue to work up the pyramid by completing the inventories. 
  2. As you see fit, add the suggested products (from the health adviser) to your pyramid in order of importance, moving from the bottom up.
  3. Lastly, consider the suggested products at the optimization level for counteracting the leading theories of aging. 

Original source from Life Extension®

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