Why do we need them?
Do you currently take nutritional-supplements? Maybe you don't think there's a need to take supplements - or maybe you've just never thought about it.
Our ancestors didn't need nutritional-supplements - the food they mostly consumed was fresh, unprocessed, and therefore rich in vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients.
These days the majority of our foods are processed, and even when we do consume fresh fruits and vegetables, they are mosstly missing the nutrient content that was evident just 50 years ago. Over the many years of constant farming, soils have become depleted, toxic fertilisers and insecticides are used frequently and in many cases fruit is harvested before it’s reached its full nutritional value. That is - it is picked before it has fully ripened, it is sometimes gassed to ripen and held in cold storage for many months.
As it is only as fruit and vegetables ripen that the nutrients become fully available, it stands to reason that if they are picked before ripening, we are not getting the goodness out of them that we require. It would seem then, that it would be prudent, taking all the above factors into account to add nutritional-supplements to our diets.
One study shows that to get the same level of nutrients that was in a peach in the 1950's, we would need to eat 53 peaches today!
Try doing that!
New data suggests that fruits and veggies aren't what they used to be.
Of the 13 major nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, six have declined substantially, according to a study by Donald Davis, a biochemist at the University of Texas at Austin.
Using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Davis concludes that recently grown crops have shown decreases of up to 38 percent in protein, calcium, vitamin C, phosphorus, iron and riboflavin when compared with produce from past decades.
Read more of this article by Megan Carpenter by clicking here.
Diseases associated with dietary deficiency and imbalance, are among the leading causes of illness and death in the Western world today. We are becoming more aware of the critical role that nutrition plays in the prevention of many common diseases - coronary heart disease, cancer, hypertension, obesity, dental caries, gingivitis and periodontal diseases, and non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, to name a few.
A study carried out recently has shown that individuals who consume a number of nutritional-supplements have better biomarkers of health than those individuals who consume only a multivitamin/multimineral supplement or, worse still, no supplements at all.
Heart disease, for instance, is the leading cause of death in the United States, with coronary heart disease accounting for 1.5 million myocardial infarctions and nearly 500,000 deaths each year. Cancer of the colon, breast and prostate, closely associated with nutritional risk factors, cause more than 140,000 deaths every year. Other examples of diseases associated with nutritional factors are osteoporosis, dental caries, obesity, and iron deficiency anaemia.
Clearly, we need to add nutritional-supplements to provide the nutrients we are not getting in our diets. In fact, even the AMA (American Medical Association) reversed their long-standing position and stated in an article in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association - June 2002) that everyone should be using nutritional supplements.
Here is a list showing what we need to enable us to maintain optimal health; - something I am sure we are all aiming for.
vitamins and minerals
to create healthy cells
- Glyconutrients for cell-to-cell communication and immune support
- Phytonutrients to detoxify the system (plant nutrients)
- Phytohormones for glandular function (plant hormones)
Essential fatty acids,
(EFAs) for cell regulation, hormonal function and metabolism
- Essential amino acids which serve as the building blocks for all proteins
to protect our cells from oxidative damage
How to choose the best nutritional supplements
Studies determining the benefits of supplementing with a single vitamin have usually produced disappointing results. Albert Szent-Giorgi - the scientist who isolated vitamin C - noticed it was more effective when another phytonutrient in his food source of vitamin C - a flavonoid - was present.
Recent food nutrient analyses reveal that all vitamin C-rich plant foods contain flavonoids, suggesting that these two classes of nutrients are functionally important for plants. Subsequent research has emphasized that phytonutrients don’t function as "soloists" in plants - or people. Rather, they function as members of a nutrient "orchestra", each depending on the presence of many fellow nutrients for optimal performance.
If you look at the nutritional analysis of any food, such as an apple, you'll find there are literally hundreds of different nutrients. Nature had a purpose there!
Thus, the best nutritional supplements will be composed of whole foods, not isolated vitamins.
Unfortunately, today, not only do most supplements NOT contain whole foods, they often use synthetic vitamins developed in a chemical laboratory, to keep the cost low. This is why many producers of vitamin products will tell you to take them with food - the body has trouble recognizing these isolated artificial vitamins AS food!
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Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is intended for your consideration only and should not be regarded as a substitute for professional medical advice. My intention is to give you 'food for thought' and any recommendations I make are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure of prevent any illness. You should not use any information contained on this website to self-diagnose or treat any medical condition or disease and you should always speak with your own health care provider before taking any dietary, nutritional or herbal supplements.