Following on from the article I wrote a few weeks back on 'The role of anti-oxidents and minerals in the body' I have written this article on nutritional supplementation. There is always going to be an argument for the case of whether or not to take a nutritional supplement. Here is my case on this issue.
The intake of nutritional supplements has risen in order to:
• Maintain health
• Prevent certain disease
• Improve health overall
What we mean by nutritional supplementation is not products like protein powders and creatine, but a product that provides all of the micronutrients to the human cell at optimal or advanced levels that have been shown to provide a health benefit. Dr Ray Strand calls this ‘Cellular Nutrition’ (8).
Oxygen is necessary for life, it is also very dangerous to our bodies (7, 8). While the body utilizes oxygen within it’s cells to create energy, the body also produces a by-product referred to as free radicals (7, 8). Free radicals are charged oxygen molecules, which are missing at least one electron. These free radicals try and obtain an electron from the surrounding area. Antioxidents can neutralize the free radical by giving it the electron it needs (7). If the free radical does not get neutralized with an antioxident, it can create more free radicals that can cause damage to cell walls, proteins, fats and even the DNA nucleus of the cell (2, 6, 7, 9, 11). For example, the same process that causes a banana to go from green to brown and rust appearing on metal, causes us to rust too.
Medical literature has shown that over 80 degenerative diseases, such as heart disease, cancers, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer Dementia, arthritis, osteoporosis and many others, are the result of oxidative stress that results over a period of time (7, 8).
A major review of 38 years of evidence was conducted by Harvard researchers, Dr Robert Fletcher and Dr Kathleen Fairfield. They found that while diet was sufficient enough to prevent the vitamin deficiency diseases, such as scurvy, rickets and berry berry, it is not enough to support the need for optimal health (4, 5). The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Why go with nutritional supplementation? Surely we can get everything we need from the food we eat. Although many antioxidents can be obtained from our food, the major sources of vitamins and minerals come from fruits and vegetables, the increase of toxic chemicals in our society e.g. pollution, chemicals in the water supply, our over medicated society and stressful lifestyles all cause excessive free radicals (8). With poor food choices so readily available now, this too can cause excessive free radicals.
People are also finding it hard to find to consume the government recommended intake of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, with males consuming an average of 2 portions and females an average of 2.5 portions a day (8).
Studies have shown though, that the quality of our food is deteriorating. Through gas ripening, excessive chemical fertilization, prolonged storage and picking fruit and vegetable too soon, nutrient and mineral levels have severely depleted over the last 60 years (3, 7, 10). Even people who are fortunate enough to grow their own fruit and vegetables and those who eat organic, still, cannot guarantee they are receiving all the essential nutrients they need to help stave off these chronic degenerative diseases (7). In light of this information, we should really be consuming between 9 to 13 portions of fruit and vegetables a day (1).
We should not neglect the importance of well balanced diets, high in fruit and vegetables, eating as close to the earth as possible. In today’s fast-food world, people find it hard to avoid high calorie, low nutrient quality, over processed foods and get the essential levels of antioxidents and minerals into their diets.
Action dictates that we take necessary steps to optimize our nutritional needs and to do so, we need to increase the nutritive value of our diets with high quality, pharmaceutical grade nutritional supplements that replenish the body with the same vitamins, minerals antioxidents that should be provided by our food (7, 9).
Dr Ray Strand, states:
“After spending over two years reviewing the medical literature, I concluded that the only way you have a chance of preventing oxidative stress is by taking high quality, complete and balanced nutritional supplements” (9)
Both Josh and I eat a well balanced diet, consuming 9 to 13 portions of fruit and vegetables a day and yet we still supplement with high quality, pharmaceutical grade antioxidents and minerals.
USANA Health Sciences is our company of choice when it comes to choosing nutritional supplements. USANA Health Sciences’ products have been given the 5 Star Gold Standard rating in the Nutrisearch Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements, have been given the Gold Standard by the Human Fitness Laboratory in Newmarket, England, met the highest standards at Consumerlab.com and have successfully met all listing criteria in NSF/ANSI 173 Dietary Supplements Standard.
Click here to find out more about USANA Health Sciences.
1. ANH Consultancy. (2006) Can Supplements Help You Live Longer? (online) Available at: http://www.ultralifeshop.co.uk/pdfs/Ultralife%20Antioxidant%20analysis%20for%20competitive%20supplements.pdf(Accessed 27th February 2009).
2. Balch, P.A., and Balch, J.F. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. 3rd ed, New York, NY: Avery. 2000
3. Colgan, M. We Have Fouled our Land. The New Nutrition: Medicine for the Millennium. Vancouver, BC: Apple. 1995
4. Fairfield, K.M., and Fletcher, R.H. Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: scientific review. JAMA. 287(23): 3116-3126. 2002
5. Fairfield, K.M., and Fletcher, R.H. Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: scientific review. JAMA. 287(23): 3127-3129. 2002
6. Fox, B.A., and Cameron, A.G., Food Science, Nutrition and Health. 5th ed. London, UK: Arnold. 1995
7. MacWilliam, L. Nutrisearch Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements. 4th ed. Northern Dimensions. 2007
8. National Statistics - Social Trends - 2001 Edition - United Kingdom fruit and vegetable consumption at home. National Statistics Consumer Trends - Q1.2001
9. Strand, R.D. A New Concept in Nutritional Medicine, Healthy for Life Newsletter. 4(2), 2007.
10. Thomas, D. A study on the mineral depletion of foods available to us as a nation over the period 1940 to 1991 Sussex, UK: Trace Minerals UK Ltd, 1999
11. Whitney, E.N., and Rolfes, S.R. Understanding Nutrition. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. 1999