Build Your Own Peak Health Pyramid

To recap, the five leading chronic health conditions — heart disease, cancer, lung disease, stroke and diabetes — all can be strongly linked to nutritional deficiencies. These deficiencies create oxidative stress, which creates inflammation, and that, in turn, can cause the body’s cellular functions to go awry and place our immune systems under duress.

The best ways known to counter or prevent chronic health conditions from developing are to maintain a regular program of physical activity and consume a diet containing multiple servings of whole grains, monounsaturated fats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and, yes, even red wine — the cornerstones of the Mediterranean-style diet — in addition to avoiding cigarette smoke and excessive alcohol consumption.

To put a fine point on the previous statement, a recent study showed that adults who exhibited just one of four examined risky health behaviors (poor diet, physical inactivity, current smoker, or current excessive alcohol consumption) had an 85 percent higher all-cause mortality risk than non-smokers who followed a healthy diet, regularly exercised and drank alcohol in moderation. More startling, study participants who exhibited all four risky health behaviors had a 250 percent higher all-cause mortality risk than those with no risky health behaviors.[1]

The cold, hard reality is that most of us don’t religiously follow healthy lifestyle behaviors with enough consistency to reap the protections such a lifestyle offers. (In the study mentioned above, only 8 percent of the study population reported no risky health behaviors.) This is also evident in the significant nutritional deficiencies that exist in people with chronic health conditions. Therefore, while you work toward increasing your commitment to a regular exercise program and incorporating healthier foods into your diet, we think it is to your advantage to complement these actions by adding targeted dietary supplements.

The targeted supplements we recommend:

Core Dietary Supplement Recommendations and Goals

None of these dietary ingredients will prevent or cure disease in and of themselves, but as research has shown, they can provide your body with greater ammunition to defend itself against a primary cause of chronic disease development and progression — oxidative stress and inflammation.

As a reminder: As you consider our recommendations, please keep in mind that it is always a prudent measure to discuss dietary supplements you’d like to try with your physician prior to taking them. Yes, you may find your doctor scoffs at the specific supplements you discuss, but it’s important to make sure there are no counter-indications with other medications you are taking and/or with specific aspects of your particular medical status.

Next: Appendix

[1] Kvaavik E, et al. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2010 April 26; 170(8): 711-718.

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Disclaimer: Statements on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information found on regarding dietary supplements is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Further, the information found on is not intended to replace professional medical advice or treatment. Please consult your physician before ingesting any dietary supplement to ensure there are no counter-indications with your particular medical status.