For more than 40 years, Earl Mindell used his knowledge as a pharmacist, herbalist, and nutritionist to teach people around the world how to live longer, healthier lives. Earlier this year, the latest edition of Earl Mindell's New Vitamin Bible celebrated its 30th anniversary in paperback, having sold more than 10 million copies in 33 languages. It answers virtually any question you could think of about what to eat and which supplements to take, based on your age, health, lifestyle, and symptoms. And it includes plenty of practical tips, such as how to maximize nutrient levels in food, deal with cravings, and achieve goals from weight loss to healthy hair.
Q: Do we all need supplements?
A: The so-called standard American diet, or SAD, is actually pathetic. So the chances that you’re getting all of the necessary nutrients from your diet are almost zero. Eighty percent of Americans are deficient in one or more essential nutrients.
For food, these are some rules of thumb: If it doesn’t have a label on it, eat it. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and fish don’t have labels listing 47 ingredients you can’t pronounce. And if it’s advertised on television, don’t eat, drink, or take it. The junk food on TV is ridiculous. And the portions—one burger is so big, you’d need a tire jack to open your mouth wide enough to eat it.
Q: What should we take?
A: I feel we can all benefit from a complete multivitamin/multimineral supplement derived from natural—not synthetic—sources, without artificial colors or preservatives. It should include carotenoids, the B complex, vitamin C, the E complex, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. We also need 1,000 mg of fish oil per day for omega-3s (or flaxseed oil for vegetarians), as well as vitamin D, probiotics, CoQ10, and fiber.
Americans get about half the necessary fiber from their diets, which is a mistake, because fiber helps food go through your digestive tract faster so that you absorb less fat. It also gives you a feeling of fullness so you don’t eat as much. Plus, it helps with normal regularity.
To boost your fiber intake, eat more whole grains that are naturally rich in fiber and add psyllium to salads or drinks. Take probiotics and enzymes when you increase fiber, and drink plenty of water.
Q:What supplements are essential to your daily regimen?
A: I take a complete all-natural multivitamin, plus omega-3s, CoQ10, and glucosamine and MSM just to make sure I don’t have any problems with my joints. I also take an enzyme combination with nattokinase.
Q: What is the biggest health challenge we face today?
A: Stress is a major problem. We don’t realize that traffic and pollution are major stressors on our bodies. Calcium and magnesium are nature’s tranquilizers, and B-complex vitamins are also very important for handling stress. It’s also a good idea to avoid putting stressors such as caffeine, guarana, and other stimulants into your body, and also to steer clear of drinks that sound healthy, but are basically sugar water. Always look at the ingredients.
Q: What’s your favorite way to unwind?
A: Taking a nice warm bath is wonderful. I do a lot of reading and get a lot of ideas in my bathtub. I also play golf—not too often and not too well.
Q:What are your favorite foods?
A: I love wild salmon and Macintosh apples. I like olive oil for dipping whole grain bread, and real yogurt—not the sugary kind. For dessert, I enjoy good French or Swiss cheeses, usually without crackers.
Q: Do you have a guilty pleasure food?
A: Calamari, lightly breaded and sautéed.
Q: What motivates and inspires you to do what you do?
A: Healthy people. I want people to know what I know so that they don’t become statistics, because it’s unnecessary. Most of the problems we have can be prevented, and we have to teach people how to take care of themselves as diligently as they do their dogs, cats, cars, rose bushes, and front lawns. I really mean that
"I've been taking supplements for 45 years, and I think the real secret is consistency. The longer you take a supplement, the better the results. With drugs, it's the opposite. The longer you take a drug, the more chances you have of side effects, contraindications, and toxicities."