Nutritional supplementation is a growing trend in consumers and health practitioners, and is vital to the maintenance of good health. With the options spanning over hundreds of thousands of products, how do we know if a nutritional supplement is right for us? Which products should we be taking, and why does our body need them? With 55% of the North American population consuming these products, it was only a matter of time before the popularity of supplements spreads across the globe – let’s see what they’re all about, and why we need them!
A nutritional or dietary supplement is intended to offer nutrients that you may not otherwise consume, in sufficient quantities, through everyday meals. By and large they are minerals, amino acids, fibers, herbs and vitamins among many other substances, all safe and regulated for consumer consumption. There are several statutes that govern this process, but basically, we are looking at products with assorted nutritional value and health benefits. If many nutrients are found in food, then why do we need to take supplements?
WE CAN’T GET ENOUGH FROM OUR FOOD
Advancements in modern technology and methods used to process foods have made it incredibly difficult for consumers to intake all of the nutrients, which are otherwise found in these foods when in their raw or pure form. The commercialization of agriculture and the techniques therein leave our plants and vegetables gripping to the little minerals left found in most soils. In the end, the food that is manufactured and processed have limited nutrients. Moreover, these agricultural products are then shipped to distributors over a long period of time, displayed for a consumer bid, leaving us with a shelf-life that is less than ideal. This lengthy process results in the depletion of important minerals, like C vitamins and the all-important B complex vitamins, for absorption once that product reaches our lips. Furthermore, the methods in which food is processed, preserved and cooked, nowadays, may also lead to gross loss of essential vitamins and minerals. This loss, in turn, makes it increasingly difficult for us to get sufficient nutrients from our food. This is where nutritional supplements become the number one solution in filling the health void in our diets.
MODERN ADVANCEMENTS DEMAND A CHANGE IN LIFESTYLE
Look at it this way, modern advancement has caused involuntary changes in human lifestyle that cause, in effect, a lack of available natural nutrients to be absorbed into our bodies. Formerly, we were an agrarian society with heaps of fresh food. Today we are an urban society, and food is required to travel a long way to different regions, reducing its nutrient content in the process. Food no longer comes straight out of the ground and onto our plate. It is exported, travels and sits, for lengthy periods, losing its beneficial properties every moment it is away from its roots. Although changes in society allows for the import and export of agricultural goods from one region to another, the food in which we are consuming is lacking in nutritional value – another reason why the need for supplements today is so strong.
Coincidentally, it is considered socially unacceptable for us to prance around in our birthday suits in today’s society; however, this implication effects the manner in which the body processes Vitamin D, as we are not in taking sufficient sunlight. Vitamin D has the ability to moderate the immune response, rather than simply strengthen it, and plays a fundamental role in bone health, promoting our absorption of both calcium and phosphorus. As a result of our lack in sun exposure, most will develop a deficiency in this important vitamin, and are in need of supplementation to maintain good health.
A conscious lifestyle change that we see trending is proper diet. However, statistically, the North American population find themselves exercising extremely poor diet regiments, which can later cause severe health problems. We are now in a world of fast food franchises, and over processed food, which make it easy for anyone to acquire diabetes, heart disease, hernias, kidney disease, gallbladder disease, and more. With diabetes, the amount of carbohydrates taken in overworks the pancreas, to a point where it will not be able to produce enough insulin. As a result, there is an excess of sugar in the blood that cannot be metabolized, in turn effecting other processes in the body. Nutritional supplements such as the Milk Thistle, Konjac Root (glucommanan), and Chromium Picolinate have been shown to combat this disease and regulate glucose levels in the body. When used in combination with healthy diet and an active lifestyle, these supplements are recognized as an aid in the management of diabetes.
STRESS IS NO LONGER TRANSITORY. WE ARE UNDER CONSTANT PROLONGED STRESS.
Most changes in life are involuntary and slow, so recognizing the need for a nutritional supplement is not always apparent. A common issue that most will suffer from is stress. Whether it be a stress over finances, illness, work pressures, or personal conflict, unrelenting stress can be detrimental to the body and our overall health. During stressful periods, the body feeds off of specific minerals and vitamins, like magnesium and zinc, through an automatic change in our metabolism. Further, the body loses the very essential B vitamins, or anti-stress vitamins, when overcome with stress. The loss of B vitamins causes the body to lose its capacity to carry out various processes as our nervous system and adrenal gland lack support. Supplementing with a vitamin B complex will replenish what stress has depleted in the body and handle wavering stressors.
Additionally, stress causes a very high demand for vitamin C to be produced by the body. Vitamin C is essential for the suppression of the process that leads to the formation of cortisol, and is depleted during times of extreme stress. Studies show that taking a lot of Vitamin C will in fact help to combat stress in the body. Considering, however, that vegetables and fruits can no longer provide a sufficient quantity of this vitamin, it is imperative that one uses a nutritional supplement Vitamin C to make up for this shortage. A single vitamin C tablet alone will give you the vitamin equivalent of eating 20 oranges! An effective dose-therapeutic dose of Vitamin C (8 tablets per day) can even help those battling depression, ADHD, and insomnia.
POLLUTION HAS CAUSED EXPOSURE TO CHEMICALS WE HAVE NEVER BEEN EXPOSED TO BEFORE
Many changes in our lifetime are out of our control and are thrust upon us by our surrounding environment. The current unwanted disposal of harmful chemicals by industrial companies has led to our own exposure. When these chemicals are absorbed into the body, they instigate a chain reaction involving dangerous molecules known as free radicals, which may lead to oxidative stress, inflammation in the body, injuries to our organs, and in extremely toxic cases, even death. Research has shown that pollution alone is responsible for many cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. Keeping this in mind, it is no wonder that the body must look for supplementary tools to deter the negative effects of its external environment. The most effective way to do so it through regular detoxifications.
Although the body can detoxify itself through the liver, when it is overwhelmed with unremitting pollution, help is necessary. It is at this point that one ought to seriously consider using a nutritional supplement, as they will be efficacious when ridding the body of toxins. Milk Thistle and Probiotics are essential, as they support and cleanse the liver during detoxification. Other supplements such as Krill Oil, Purple Defense, Astaxanthin with ALA and Acai Berry have also proven effective. Yet, these antioxidants ought to be taken in recommended dosages only in order to achieve maximum benefits.
SUPPLEMENTS AS MEDICINE – SUPPLEMENTS CAN BE USED TO PREVENT & TREAT DISEASES
The most important effect of supplements is their ability to treat or even prevent diseases much like traditional medicine. With the effect supplements have, in particular, on neuro transmitters in the brain, they can be used brain enhancers or cognitive enhancers, improving our cognition and memory. Mental focus and energy are also, as a result, positively affected. The amount of chemicals used for communication within the brain (neurons) are enhanced when one takes a nootropic. Additionally, a nutritional supplement will also enhance the synapses within the brain, improving cognition. Using specific sets of supplements, thus, can be used to fight conditions that are related to the decline of cognition, especially when someone is aging, going through Alzheimer’s, or have recently had a stroke.
After experiencing a stroke, memory loss to the brain is almost inevitable. Although it has been said that the nutritional properties in fruits can be used to recover memories, one would have to consume an exorbitant amount in a day to reap these benefits. Alternatively, a recovering stroke patient should consider natural nutritional supplements like Ginkgo biloba – so effective at treating memory loss that even doctors recommend it! As a matter of fact, it is the most effective nutritional supplement in correlation to the treatment of memory loss.
Whether it be a change in your own personal lifestyle, or the ever-changing environment that surrounds us, there is a nutritional supplement right for everyone. With hundreds of thousands of products to choose from, supplementing to achieve overall good health and vitality is easy, and using nutritional supplements to help maintain and treat serious health conditions is superlative. Talk to your health professionals about your lifestyle, health concerns, and possible deficiencies. Together you can make educated decisions towards an appropriate nutritional supplement plan to better your future