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Supplementation Is No Longer An Option
By Alex Gomez
Supplementation is no longer an option if your objective is a healthier life. Many health advisors try to tell their clients that they only need a "well balanced diet to meet these recommendations. However if you do some careful thinking you will find the task very difficult. Taking care of ourselves has become even more important especially if you consider what we have done to the health of the planet and out bodies. We continuously intake less and less healthy foods with more and more chemicals that can only do damage to an already overwhelmed system. Our bodies can only take so much before something gives and unfortunately we are only getting worst. Taking supplements are not the answer in and of itself but it is an important step forward.
1. In the early 1900's, all produce (100%) was organic. Rutgers University has published several papers comparing the nutrient density of organic produce and commercially grown produce. Organic always wins.
2. According to a US Department of Agriculture paper the average Calories intake in the early 1900's was 3800 Calories but today the average intake is only 1800 Calories. Less than half - and most is not organic. So we tend to eat less than half the nutrients each and every day.
3. Risk of "free radical damage is much higher today as the industrial world contaminates our food, water and air. We also produce free radicals during physical and psychological stress. Free radicals are biochemical units that, in excess, will destroy healthy cells unless we protect ourselves with adequate nutrition.
4. With average fat intake falling to 32% of Calories (compared to 48% in 1900), it becomes more difficult to get the essential fatty acids (EFA's) from our diet. EFA's are responsible for encouraging fat metabolism and the creation of some "super hormones that lead to the production of anti-inflammatory hormones. Processed food tends to alter or eliminate the EFA's.
5. Wide use of antibiotics has lead to the destruction of "friendly bacteria in the intestine. Friendly bacteria, like acidophilus and bifidus play a big role in digestion and in maintaining the health of the colon.
6. A low Calorie intake is associated with a reduced fiber intake. The American Cancer Society recommends a daily fiber intake of 30 grams but average North American eats only 12 - 15 grams per day. Such a low intake increases the risk of colon cancer and other toxic side effects.
7. Most people do not consume enough complete, high quality protein, particularly at breakfast and lunch. (There is a tendency to eat more protein than can be absorbed during the evening meal). Therefore I have become a big fan of Soy Protein Isolate supplementation at breakfast, lunch, during snacks and just before exercise. A modern solution to a modern problem.
WHAT TO USE:
In my nutritional coaching practice, I divide supplementation into the following categories:
a) Nutritional Supplements - basic nutrients found in the RNI tables
b) Herbal Supplements - which are really nature's medicine, designed to prevent and/or solve certain health problems. Few are designed for long-term consumption.
c) Fiber Supplements - fiber is indigestible but necessary for detoxification and regularity. It is not really a nutrient.
d) Protein Supplements - self-explanatory.
e) Friendly Bacteria - some now refer to these tiny organisms as "pro-biotics".
Considering the Why Supplement list and the above categories, the following is a responsible supplement program that would benefit the heath of all people. This is basic, minimal and designed primarily for prevention of ailments and maintenance of good health.
1. High Quality Multiple Vitamin/Mineral. Should include all 8 recognized B vitamins including biotin. Balanced in proportion to the RNI. This multi should also contain high levels of Calcium and Magnesium.
2. Anti-Oxidants - Vitamin in the form of mixed carotenoids like alpha, beta and gamma carotene; Vitamin C, at least 1,000 mg in a sustained release format; Vitamin E in the mixed tocopherol format supported with selenium and grape seed extract.
3. Fiber Supplement containing a mixture of soluble and insoluble fibers.
4. Protein Supplement - preferably a Soy Protein isolate - not only to obtain extra protein but to also take advantage of the phytonutrients known as isoflavones.
5. Friendly bacteria - acidophilus and bifidus.
Proper rest and exercise shouldn't be forgotten in all this supplement talk. Other factors such as drugs, stress, smoking and alcohol can lead to a more unhealthy lifestyle. Please see your doctor and begin the rest of your life with a healthier more positive outlook on life.
Good supplements do not guarantee perfect health but they can make a difference.