In 1926, cancer was the 10th most prevalent cause of death in children. In 2001 it’s the second.

Every other man in America will get cancer, reports the National Cancer Institute. The rate of breast cancer for woman in 1950 was one out of 20; in 1960 it was one out of 15; in 2001 it’s one out of seven.

Degenerative diseases are increasing by leaps and bounds while stress levels in our personal lives continue to rise. Are we an endangered species?

Let’s not sit around and wait for the statistics to catch up to us. Roll out the red carpet, clean out the toxic chemicals in your house and begin to fill your “natural medicine chest” with health-building supplements that prevent the endangered species syndrome.

Many people take supplements. Most do so without a specific purpose or a well thought-out plan, but knowing what you need and how often you need it should be the goal for prevention.

There are necessary supplements that one cannot do without to survive the 21st century. There are situational supplements that should be used with clear intentions. And there are first-aid supplements that are needed for trauma situations.

Here are some supplemental rules for the road for beginners:

  • Get a supplement coach. While most supplements are safe and noninvasive for the vast majority of people who take them, it’s advisable to always talk to a qualified healthcare practitioner who understands your conditions. Asking your physician for input at this level is also advisable.
  • When to take supplements is always a chore. A rule of thumb initially is to take all
    supplements with meals. This will acclimate the digestive system. Metabolism is high during the morning or early afternoon so take supplements with breakfast or lunch.
  • It’s best to separate multiple dosages. Also separate vitamins and minerals—vitamins before meals, minerals after meals. Take minerals two to three hours away from a high fiber meal (fiber binds minerals); fat-soluble supplements are better absorbed before meals; take digestive enzymes with meals.
  • Supplements do not make up for lack of exercise and eating junk foods. A consistent exercise program and regular bodywork are the blood sisters to supplements. It’s not an either/or option.

To build your natural medicine cabinet, start with the necessary supplements. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals—the by-products of oxidation, which will disrupt cellular function. Free radicals from environment pollutants also attack the body. The best defense is a proactive offense. So don’t think twice: Invite antioxidants into your life.

The most common antioxidants are vitamins C, E and beta carotene—an inseparable triad. Also important are the coenzyme CoQ-10; glutothione; grape seed extract, which prevents free radical attacks on arterial walls; coenzyme 1 (NADH), a significant energy booster for body and brain activity; and pycnogeral, which protects the liver from free radical attack.

Antioxidants are found in fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts. There is strong evidence that antioxidants stave off chronic disease and slow down pre-mature aging.

Surprisingly, many antioxidants are becoming a major part of skin care products. Remember what you put on your skin is definitely absorbed into your body, so read labels carefully. On one hand they may add vitamins E or C for an antioxidant effect, but then also add toxic chemical substances. So go as natural as possible.

The B complex is always and forever a friend. Taken daily before breakfast or lunch, B vitamins will balance stress and peak performance. They stabilize the nervous system, maintain the digestive tract, and promote healthy skin, hair and eyes. The B complex also helps in the overall efficiency of metabolism and adds improved muscle tone to the list.

Fatigue, dull hair, digestive or bowel problems, acne and insomnia could mean a deficiency in B vitamins. So unless you are a liver lover, eat plenty of brewer’s yeast or

whole grain, then step up to the plate and wolf down that B complex supplement. Drink plenty of water between meals, which helps with absorption of the B complex.

And, by the way, stress, sugar, coffee, alcohol, sleeping pills and birth control pills inhibit your absorption of any and all B vitamins.

Many signs of vitamin B deficiencies are subtle. These may include mood changes, inability to concentrate, mild depression and changes in behavior. Watch for these signs especially in your children and then quickly add a B complex supplement to their morning rituals.

We have just scratched the surface of the use of supplements. We will continue our peek into the natural medicine cabinet next time.

May the longtime sun shine upon you.