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It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing… Supplements for Your Own Roaring 20’s

Our 20s are often a time for self-exploration, growth, career and social development. Often considered our physiologic peak, our 20s are often overlooked as a time to actively engage in self-care and develop healthy practices, not only to help us thrive during this time but also in the future. In fact, major predictors of health in your 60s and 70s are initiated decades earlier. These decades-long observational studies can help guide young adults by establishing the clear correlations between health behaviours and future outcomes. Some of these common correlations include low calcium intake and risk of osteoporosis, toxin exposure and cancer risk, traumatic brain injury and dementia, and many more. Meaning our decisions during this precious period can have the most profound impact on our physical and mental future. Unfortunately, some data suggests that young adults are less likely to engage in health promoting behaviours.

A commonly explored construct in health psychology is the health belief model (HBM) which is designed to explain the likelihood of an individual performing health practices.
With the main pillars being perceptions of susceptibility, severity, benefits, barriers, self-efficacy (how strongly an individual believes they will be able to successfully complete the task) and cues to action. Meaning that before we engage in health promoting behaviours, we need a clear understanding of how vulnerable we are to negative impacts, how helpful these behaviors are, and what may stop us. If our concern for risk, our susceptibility, self-efficacy and cues for action outweigh the barriers, then we will likely engage in the health behaviour. For example, wearing sunblock (health behaviour) was not common until the link between skin cancer (severity) and excessive sun exposure (susceptibility) was defined. Many individuals still avoid sun protection based on beliefs that they may not need it, commonly seen in high melanin populations due to lower susceptibility, or simply due to the hassle of applying sunscreen, dislike of common ingredients, etc.

So, what are some steps you can take right away based on the HBM model to optimize your health in your 20s and beyond?

Understand Your Genetic Frameworks

Risk for illness can be calculated in several ways and one of the most important is family health history (FHH). Family history can help us understand the presence of inherited traits. A study from 2019 found that 93% of participants were aware of their FHH and recognised the importance of this information when doctors asked for it. With advances in personalised genetic testing we are able to understand how family history can impact the individual. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (or SNPs) are differences in a single letter (or nucleotide) of your DNA sequence. The type of SNPs in your genes is completely unique and determines the framework in which your body and mind can operate. That’s why some people can tolerate gluten while others may be sensitive. While genetic propensities tell us the framework, our environment tells us if those genes get expressed or not and it becomes a complex web of interaction and influence. Where genetic analysis can be a helpful tool is in identifying the risk or susceptibility based on multiple determinants of health.

Check out: MyBlueprint™

Be Mindful of Cognitive Health and TBI

Our cognitive and perceptual abilities peak in our 20s and begin to decline with age. After 40 years old the rate of brain shrinkage naturally increases however we can slow or accelerate this rate of loss. In fact, Alzheimer’s researchers have discussed that at the onset of symptoms we may already be too late in the disease progression.

We accelerate loss with trauma or injury (think of the impact of blows to the head in contact sports or from accidents), processed diets, a sedentary lifestyle, nutrient deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, elevated homocysteine levels, and metabolic dysfunction including impaired glucose tolerance. Further lifestyle factors that impair acute cognitive processing include stress, dehydration, hypoglycemia and low-fat diets. Omega 3 fatty acids were also shown to improve cognitive function in young adults.

You may consider: Omega 3SuperFocus™

Bone Health

We know that to prevent hip fractures in seniors we should be increasing bone density by doing resistance exercises and getting sufficient nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, strontium, boron and more. This must be done consistently IN OUR 20s! Furthermore, sedentary activity is one of the greatest predictors of bone degeneration in post-menopausal women.

A great option is Bone Basics

Cardiovascular Disease

Speaking of risks with sedentary lifestyles, cardiovascular risk increases exponentially with lack of movement in your 20s. With more and more virtual experiences- working and studying from home, virtual entertainment, restrictions on group activities, etc. We may face more barriers than ever to getting out and moving.

Check out NOx Boost

Hormonal Health

Many young adults have been exposed to hormone disruptors such as those found in plastics, in foods, fragrances, makeup and hygiene products. Further the use of hormonal birth control has also gone up. While our bodies are well adapted to processing and managing some hormones, they can become imbalanced if exposure is excessive or we have blocked excretion. This can influence sexual function, libido, mood, energy, sleep, weight distribution and mineral absorption. For example, magnesium and B vitamins are often depleted with long term hormone supplementation.

Get personalized supplement suggestions by taking this short quiz

Select References:

VON AH D., EBERT S., NGAMVITROJ A., PARK N. & KANG D.-H. (2004) Predictors of health behaviours in college students. Journal of Advanced Nursing 48(5), 463–474

Madhavan S, Bullis E, Myers R, Zhou CJ, Cai EM, Sharma A, Bhatia S, Orlando LA, Haga SB. Awareness of family health history in a predominantly young adult population. PLoS One. 2019 Oct 25;14(10):e0224283. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224283. PMID: 31652289; PMCID: PMC6814221.
van den Berk Clark C. The role of impulsivity on health behavior related to cardiovascular disease among young adults. Psychol Trauma. 2021 Mar;13(3):271-276. doi: 10.1037/tra0000910. Epub 2020 Aug 27. PMID: 32853010.

Koedijk JB, van Rijswijk J, Oranje WA, van den Bergh JP, Bours SP, Savelberg HH, Schaper NC. Sedentary behaviour and bone health in children, adolescents and young adults: a systematic review-supplementary presentation. Osteoporos Int. 2017 Oct;28(10):3075-3076. doi: 10.1007/s00198-017-4195-9. Epub 2017 Sep 6. PMID: 28879434; PMCID: PMC5624979.

Straub DA. Calcium supplementation in clinical practice: a review of forms, doses, and indications. Nutr Clin Pract. 2007 Jun;22(3):286-96. doi: 10.1177/0115426507022003286. PMID: 17507729.

Jones CL, Jensen JD, Scherr CL, Brown NR, Christy K, Weaver J. The Health Belief Model as an explanatory framework in communication research: exploring parallel, serial, and moderated mediation. Health Commun. 2015;30(6):566-576. doi:10.1080/10410236.2013.873363

About The Author

Dr. NavNirat Nibber, ND is a graduate of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and a registered Naturopathic Doctor. She is a Co-Owner at Crescent Health Clinic, as well as a Senior Medical Advisor at Advanced Orthomolecular Research.

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