Are food supplements worth taking?

Every survey of eating habits over the past 30 years shows that even those who say they eat a healthy, balanced diet fail to eat the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) of vitamins and minerals. Moreover, the RDA and the Optimal Daily Allowance (ODA) are two very different standards. The RDA is the minimum amount necessary to prevent diseases such as scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) and rickets (vitamin D deficiency). For instance, 5mcg of vitamin D a day is enough to prevent rickets while 30mcg of vitamin D a day gives the optimal protection against a number of cancers and diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis.

But who wants to function with just the bare necessities when you can have increased energy levels and a much improved feeling of wellbeing?  It is possible to have better health and energy if you use supplements to top up the shortfall of vitamins and minerals in your diet.

PROTECT YOURSELF FROM HARMFUL OXIDANTS
Every minute of the day we are bombarded by biological oxidation from sunlight, smoke, comupter screens, environmental pollution as well as natural processes like metabolism.  In excess, it can damage cell DNA, especially in your skin. Antioxidants are the solution, the main ones being vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, anthocyanidins, selenium and zinc. They all work in synergy, so they all need to be taken in your daily supplement to provide maximum benefit.   

BOOST YOUR B VITAMINS
We all want to feel energetic, able to cope with stress and maintain mental balance. B vitamins are an absolute necessity. B1, B2, B3 and B5 are essential for turning glucose from food into fuel and for supporting healthy levels of brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters. Your body functions through chemical reactions, a billion every second. This is all dependent on B6, folic acid and B12 so an optimal intake keeps your body chemistry in balance.

IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT
With more bacteria inside your body than living cells, your immune system is constantly challenged and depends on a ruck of nutrients to keep it healthy, including vitamin C, zinc and Omega 3 and 6 fats. Vitamin C has more than 10 known functions in immune health and we recommend you take an optimal dose. Omega 3 and 6 fats are also essential for every cell in your body, including your skin and brain. Omega fats can only be obtained from food and The Food Standards Agency (FSA) suggest that fish should be eaten every week (for women, 2 portions of fish a week and up to 4 for men). Many people either do not like fish or worry about chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in fish. Always check your fish oil supplements have been screened for maximum purity. 

DON’T FORGET YOUR MINERALS
We are often more deficient in minerals than vitamins with many people not even consuming the basic RDA for iron, zinc and magnesium in their diets. Iron is essential for haemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen.  Zinc is involved in 200 enzymes in the body, as is magnesium, an essential component of bones, muscles and nerves. Not all minerals have RDAs but that doesn’t mean they’re not essential. Chromium and selenium are good examples. Achieving an optimum intake of these minerals is a key objective for wellbeing. 

NOT ALL SUPPLEMENTS ARE CREATED EQUAL
It is one thing to take a supplement. It is quite another for that supplement to be absorbed into your body. Take zinc as an example. Zinc citrate is twice as well absorbed as zinc sulphate. Of course the latter is cheaper which is why many companies use it. By eating the right food and taking the right supplements, you can achieve optimum nutrition.

At Leaf Lifestyle we stock the Advanced Nutrition Programme, a science led range of supplements, free from artificial preservatives, colours, flavourings, PCBs and fillers with no added sugar, salt, soya, wheat, gluten, yeast, lactose or dairy products

 

 

 

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