Thursday, June 19, 2008

Do You Need a Nutritional Supplement

There are nutritionists that claim vitamins and supplements do less than promised and that we should simply eat healthier whole foods to provide for our dietary needs. These claims are not without merit. Many of the supplements on the market today do not deliver the nutrition that they claim because they are not bioavailable.

Ideally, all of us would derive our complete nutrition from a balanced and wholesome diet. But the reality is that our modern lifestyles make it hard or impossible to find time to prepare the foods that our bodies truly need. It is also inconvenient and very expensive to do. Here are some things to tell you whether you need additional supplementation or more real live whole food nutrition in your diet.

• If you’re not getting multiple servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits every day, it’s unlikely that you’ll be taking in the necessary amounts of minerals and vitamins that you body needs for optimal health.

• If you’re on a restricted-calorie diet, you may not be fulfilling your daily requirements. This is primarily due to not eating a wide variety of foods, which makes it very difficult to get all of the essential nutrition your body needs.

• If you are considering becoming pregnant, or are already pregnant, your body’s needs are different. You’ll need more calcium, iron and folate. The extra iron is needed for red blood cell health, in order to stave off fatigue. Folate is generally recommended to protect against fetal spinal defects, like spina bifida.

• If you are postmenopausal, you need additional nutritional support. This period of life is marked by drops in estrogen production which can lead to bone loss. It’s imperative that you receive additional calcium and vitamin D, which is necessary for your body to process calcium to strengthen bones.

• If you drink alcohol heavily or smoke tobacco, your body’s ability to absorb nutrients can be impaired. Taking supplements won’t reverse the effects of these unhealthy habits, but they may help to offset some of the damage done to your body.

It certainly seems that the majority of us could use additional whole nutrition provided by fruits and vegetables that are recognized by the body instead of synthetic pills that your body has a hard time recognizing because they are manufactured nutrients.