Most of the people are still afraid of the word ‘supplements’, they recognize it as a ‘medicine’. But easily defined, the supplements is ‘ a thing added to something else in order to complete or enhance it’.
Being dietitian, i always emphasis food as a medicine ,but now a days , keeping in mind the food quality and imbalanced diet intake, we need to take food supplements. In fact, taking supplements is not choice but somehow compulsory for most of us, in present era.
The reality is that even when we are very conscious about eating of well balanced diet, we can often fell short of mark nutritionally.
Yes, technically, a whole foods diet should provide us with the goodies that we need for optimum health. But, unfortunately, there is a whole host of modern day environmental and lifestyle issues that make it much harder than it was for our ancestors.
Over the time, our farming and fishing methods have changed drastically. In the past, harvests fully embodied the vital nutrients of the soil and sea and those nutrients nourished people enough.
Taking supplements can provide additional nutrients when your diet is lacking or when certain health conditions cause you to develop an insufficiency or deficiency. In most cases, multiple-vitamin supplements provide all the basic micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) your body needs. Supplements such as vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, phytochemicals, and more enrich the body’s internal environment to fortify cellular protection, repair, and regeneration and support the renewal process.
Concluding this, commonly seen nutrient deficiencies have worsen many diseases conditions, on the other hand, adding required quality food supplements are proven effective in controlling and preventing many of those conditions, like high cholesterol, arthritis, birth defects and cancer.
Lets take a look of what specifically has changed and how this influence our need to take supplements.
Nutritional deficiencies can be due to 2 basic reason
A. Soil depletion
modern farming techniques utilizing fertilizers have actually depleted the soil of essential nutrients. Agriculture relies on the elements in the soil for absorption of proper amounts of minerals, and when this process is interrupted, the plant does not contain essential minerals and cannot form essential vitamins. And if the plant doesn’t have enough nutrients, how can you get it also ,by eating them!!
B. Water depletion
Water is also depleted of minerals due to modern production methods. There is a huge variation in the mineral content of bottled and tap water, with tap water generally having more .up until recently, clean, unfiltered fresh water was the main source of magnesium for humans. Not anymore. Our water is filtered of essential minerals like magnesium, contaminated with chlorine, and fortified with potentially harmful chemicals like fluoride. Still, we have to use filters to prevent ourselves from water borne diseases.
C. Physical depletion
Many conditions like below mentioned, justify need of supplements.
Your joints get weakened and needs additional care as you get older
As you age, the amount of glucosamine created by your body decreases. As a result, your joint cartilage becomes thinner, the lubricating synovial fluid in your joint spaces becomes thin and watery and your joints may become damaged . Glucosamine supplement may help you.
During prolonged periods of stress your body uses vitamins and minerals at a higher rate, which may lead to deficiencies unless nutrients are supplemented.
Cooking some foods in the microwave may deplete their nutrient levels. Boiling keeps most nutrients at good levels.
You don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables
consider taking a multivitamin supplement and perhaps some additional vitamin c.
You’re trying for a baby
Women who are planning to conceive are strongly advised to take folic acid supplements (at least 400 mcg a day) for at least three months prior to conception in order to help reduce the likelihood their baby will develop spinal abnormalities such as neural tube defects. Fathers-to-be may benefit by taking a multivitamin supplement too, as male fertility may be adversely affected by free radical damage. Key nutrients for men to consider include vitamins c, vitamin e, zinc and selenium.
You’re pregnant or breastfeeding
Nutritional demands during pregnancy and breastfeeding are high. Your diet alone may not be able to supply all the nutrients you need during this special time, and taking additional vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial, though , consult your doctor before taking any of them.
You’re vegetarian or vegan – you have limited choices
Vegetarians and vegans are more prone to deficiencies in vitamin b12, iron, calcium and zinc than meat eaters, as their diets can be low in these nutrients. Supplementation may be necessary to meet the recommended daily intake for these nutrients.
You want to maintain your bone health as you get older
Requirements for calcium increase with age, and many people find it difficult to obtain the recommended 1000-1300 mg of calcium that adults require every day. Healthy bones need a strong nutritional base to help prevent bone loss and stabilise bone density, so when choosing a calcium supplement, look for one that also includes the supportive nutrients magnesium, boron, zinc, manganese, copper, vitamins c and vitamin d. Bear in mind, too, that because our recommended daily intake of calcium is so high, just taking a multivitamin won’t provide all the calcium that your bones need.
Your diet is high in sugar
Consuming too much sugar may weaken your immune system. A high sugar intake may also lower your vitamin e levels, impede your absorption of calcium and magnesium, and lead to copper and chromium deficiencies.
You enjoy a tipple
Consuming alcohol depletes the body of vitamins a, c, d, e, k and the b-group vitamins (including folic acid), and the minerals selenium, zinc, magnesium and potassium. It also inhibits the absorption of calcium.
You have food allergies or intolerances
Being on a restricted diet may mean that you are missing out on essential nutrients, so take a daily multivitamin to ensure you’re obtaining all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
You’re a smoker
Smoking robs the body of vitamins a, c and e, beta-carotene, the minerals selenium, zinc, vanadium and reduces calcium absorption.
You’re physically active
People who exercise regularly have higher nutritional requirements than others, and may not be able to get all the nutrients they need from their diets, so should consider taking supplements
You don’t spend much time in the sun
People whose skin isn’t exposed to the sun on a regular basis are at increased risk of vitamin d deficiency and may benefit from taking a supplement.
You eat a lot of processed foods
The processing of refined grain products such as white flour, white rice, breads and pastas strips them of their nutrient-rich outer husks and means they require additional nutrients from the body in order to be metabolised.
Amongst many other consequences of being overweight or obese, it may increase the rates of inflammation and free radical damage and therefore increase the body’s need for antioxidants. Obesity is also associated with vitamin d deficiency.
You experience heavy menstrual blood loss
Women may lose up to 20 mg of iron during menstruation and consequently need to ensure their diets contain adequate amounts of iron. An iron supplement may be necessary in some instances. If you suspect you may be low in iron, make sure you talk to your doctor about a blood test.
Nutrient deficiencies hurt your performance, causing dna damage, making you age faster, and contributing to chronic disease.
Grains, legumes, and most forms of modern dairy are not food. The purpose of consuming food is to nourish the body and mind. These foods do the opposite.
First of all, grains, legumes, and conventional dairy are low in nutrients and difficult for a lot of people to digest. Grains and legumes contain phytic acid and other compounds that can interfere with nutrient absorption and can cause intestinal damage, which makes it even harder for your body to absorb nutrients.
Low-calorie diets are low nutrient diets
I know this is a crazy idea, but starving yourself of key nutrients is bad. Consuming a low-calorie diet means you’re consuming fewer total micronutrients. When you’re consuming low-quality foods, like pasteurized non-fat milk and other frankenfoods, you have to eat even more to obtain the right amounts of nutrition. That’s how you get fat. And just one more example of why food quality matters.
Non-organic foods contain fewer nutrients
Raw, unpasteurized, unprocessed, full-fat dairy can be good for you, but the kind most people buy at the grocery store is not ok . The majority of nutrients in milk are found in the fat (cream). When you remove or reduce the fat, you are removing and reducing the nutrient content. Pasteurization destroys some of the nutrients in both skim and full-fat milk.
Supplementation may help you live longer
Aging is a natural process, but it’s not fun. If there are supplements that can delay this process, why not take them? As long as there isn’t an undue risk of harm, it’s hard to justify avoiding a substance simply because our ancestors didn’t have access to it. There is good reason to believe a higher intake of nutrients may prolong life. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors may have been malnourished at certain times which is not beneficial. If supplements can buy you a few more years of quality life, why not take them?
The idea that you can get all your nutrients from food is fine in theory, but virtually impossible in practice. Soil and water depletion, food and environmental toxins, poor absorption, pesticides, exercise, and lack of calories can all cause nutrient deficiencies. There is evidence that consuming nutrients from food is more beneficial than supplements, which is why you should focus on a nutrient rich diet first . However, it’s rarely enough anymore.
If you want to be bulletproof, supplementation is a great start. Handicapping yourself by “only getting nutrients from food” is not a good idea, even on the bulletproof diet.
So, now you know if you require supplements or not, but, with thousands of multivitamins, minerals, and other unpronounceable supplements lining health food store shelves, it’s no wonder people are confused.
So, always get it from the trusted source and take your dietitian’s advice. We have some of them in our store which Dr. Payal recommends. Check them out. You can also write us if you don’t know which one to take.