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Ten Reasons to Supplement

Health news posted on 8th Aug 2012. There have been 0 comments

I eat a balanced diet. I get all my nutrients from my food. I don’t need to take a multivitamin and mineral supplement. True or false? Well that depends. If you can answer no to the following questions, perhaps you are getting all your nutritional needs met already.

• Do you consume mass produced (i.e. non home grown) fruit and vegetables?
• Do you take any pharmaceutical medications?
• Do you consume tea, coffee or alcohol?
• Do you smoke?
• Do you avoid sunshine?
• Do you ever suffer stress?
• Do you ever cook, store or reheat your food?
• Are you getting older?
• Do you want to lose weight?
• Do you always consume a “balanced diet”?

Let’s investigate a little more closely why we may need the extra nutrient boost that a supplement provides.

1. If it’s not in the soil then it’s not in the food
Soils in many parts of the world are deficient in various minerals. Furthermore, if produce is picked before it is fully ripe and stored, then it won’t have the optimum levels of nutrients in it.

“The alarming fact is that foods – fruits, vegetables and grains – now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contains enough of certain needed nutrients, are starving us – no matter how much we eat of them.” US Senate Document 264 1936

2. Medications
Many medications affect nutrient levels. Common medications such as antibiotics affect the gut flora giving us poor digestive health and can result in conditions such as thrush. These bacteria also assist our B group vitamin levels. The Oral Contraceptive Pill has been associated with lower levels of folic acid, magnesium vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B12, vitamin C and zinc .

3. Coffee, tea and alcohol
Alcohol interferes with the nutritional process by affecting digestion, storage, utilisation and excretion of nutrients Some studies have shown that caffeine consumption (two to three cups of coffee per day) in postmenopausal women has been associated with bone loss or decreased bone density .

4. Smoking
Smokers metabolic requirements of Vitamin C are at least an extra 30% compared to non-smokers .

5. Lack of Sunshine
A deficiency in Vitamin D appears to be becoming more common as people are encouraged to avoid the sun. However Vitamin D deficiency is now being linked to numerous health conditions, such as higher blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, kidney disease and even some cancers.

6. Stress
Chemical, physical and emotional stresses can increase the body’s needs for vitamins B2, B5, B6 and C. Air pollution increases the need for vitamin E.

7. Food Preparation
Food preparation may decrease the activity for some vitamins; for example, keeping food hot longer than 2 hours results in a more than 10% loss of vitamin C, folate, and vitamin B6.10 Vitamins are also lost during chilling, storage, and reheating, including more than 30% of vitamin C and folate.

8. Fountain of Youth
Aging is associated with the decreased absorption of some vitamins such as Vitamin B12. This may be due in part to the decrease in stomach acid production that occurs as we age. Furthermore, research has shown that Multivitamin consumers have less biological signs of aging than non-users.

9. Weight Management
Increased intakes of Vitamin D were related to improved weight loss in overweight people following a kilojoule restricted diet in a study in the US. A recent study of 87 women found that multivitamin and mineral usage were associated with significantly lower body weight, body mass index and fat mass.

10. Can you be sure that you are eating a “balanced diet”?
The typical Western diet often supplies less than adequate amounts of a few essential vitamins and minerals. Recent nutrition surveys have found that large numbers of people consume too little calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and possibly copper and manganese.

Finally, the balance of the research is in the favour or topping up with a nutritional supplement to be on the safe side. Harvard researchers published an article recommending that everyone should dose up. “Pending strong evidence of effectiveness from randomized trials, it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements.”

References available on request

 


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