Articles The Truth About Nutrition Read More Why Dietary supplements have become so crucial to our health? What is a dietary supplement? Dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbs/botanicals, enzymes, amino acids, proteins and other dietary ingredients. These products are taken by mouth in pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid form. Why do our bodies need Vitamins and Minerals? Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients because they perform hundreds of roles in the body on a daily basis. Our bodies constantly construct skin, muscle and bone and manufacture red blood cells which carry nutrients and oxygen to remote areas in the body and send nerve signals skipping along thousands of miles of brain and body pathways. They also formulate chemical messengers that shuttle from one organ to another, issuing the instructions that help sustain our lives. To do all this, our bodies require vitamins, minerals, micro minerals and some very essential trace minerals, components of which, by its self, our bodies cannot manufacture in sufficient amounts. Vitamins and minerals are often called micronutrients because our bodies need only tiny amounts of them. Yet failing to get even those small quantities virtually guarantees disease. Many micronutrients interact. For example, vitamin D is the cofactor of over 3000 processes in the body, for example to enable our bodies to obtain calcium from food sources passing through our digestive tract rather than harvesting it from our bones. One of many roles played by vitamin C is to help make collagen, which knits together wounds, supports blood vessel walls, and forms a base for teeth and bones and yet bone formation would also be impossible without vitamins A, D, and K. Magnesium and zinc, just by themselves, each help with 300 catalysts, within the body. (Between them a total of six hundred). Several B vitamins are key components of certain coenzymes (molecules that aid enzymes) that help release energy from food. The body needs, and stores, fairly large amounts of the major minerals which are no more important to our health than the trace minerals, they’re just present in our bodies in greater amounts. Major minerals travel through the body in various ways. Potassium, for example, is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, where it circulates freely and is excreted by the kidneys, much like a water-soluble vitamin. Calcium is more like a fat-soluble vitamin because it requires a carrier for absorption and transport. We need a variety of nutrients each day to stay healthy, not only calcium and vitamin D to protect our bones but also folic acid to produce and maintain new cells, and vitamin A to preserve a healthy immune system and vision to name just a few. In all we need 90 essential vitamins and minerals to run this great machine we call our body and keep it reproducing new healthy cells. Why can’t we just get all we need from our food? If we want to achieve optimum health and a maximum life span, the nutritional bare bones just won’t cut it. We need to eat nutritious foods to take supplements that pick up where our nutritious foods have not. Our modern environment also has a profound effect on our health and well being, making our nutritional needs much greater. Examples of other contributing factors include: A decline in soil quality and a consequent decline in the nutrient density of the foods we grow in it. A decrease in diversity of plant species consumed. An increase in exposure to food and environmental toxins and sprays. Overuse of antibiotics, birth control and other medications (damaging the gut and liver and so making it harder to absorb the nutrients we consume). An increase in chronic stress. A decrease in sleep quality and duration. A reduced connection with nature and less time spent outdoors. A move away from the tight-knit social groups that were the norm for humans until very recently and the resulting effect on our nervous system. Having better health and vitality should be at the heart of everything we do. The power of nature can boost our body’s natural immunity and support systems, enhancing our health and vitality. The right kind of supplementation can enhance the power of nature – treating and resisting the effects of lifestyle and the lack of real nutrition in our diet. Many of us take supplements not just to make up for what we’re missing but also because we hope to give ourselves an extra health boost—a preventive buffer to ward off disease. We need a vast diversity of nutrients each day to stay healthy and we just don’t get it from our food alone any more. All of us can take a giant leap toward longevity just by taking supplements. Supplementation not only protects against deficiency but also bridges the gap between average nutrition, which culminates in premature death, and optimum nutrition, and extends the life span by decades. The extra nutrients that supplements provide prevents marauding free radicals from harming healthy cells, speeds the repair and regeneration of damaged cells, and facilitates healing. The result of all this is a longer, healthier, more vital life. What is the standard diet made up of? The standard diet gets 45 percent of its calories from fat and another 35 percent from sugar. In other words, 80 percent of the calories we consume provide none of the nutrients that our bodies need. Incredibly, despite our dietary excesses and an epidemic of obesity, as a nation we are suffering from malnutrition! Dairy, gluten and sugar are the top three nutrient destroyers aside from the obvious alcohol tobacco and toxins in our food. The average diet leaves a lot to be desired. Research finds our plates lacking in a number of essential nutrients, not just calcium but also including potassium, magnesium, zinc and vitamins A, C, and D. It’s no wonder that more than half of us open a supplement bottle to get the nutrition we need. Eating a healthy diet should be the best way to get sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals for our bodies and a healthy, balanced diet should always be our starting base for any health challenge. However to succeed in this, it would require us to start with the right nutrients in the soil before even planting our food crops and doing away with toxic sprays and pesticides. Something that the food obtained from our green grocer or super market has not had the advantage of and therefore is depleted of the required essentials. Vitamins are organic and can be broken down through heat in the cooking process or leached out in the water. They can also be broken down by air or acid. Then, too, some foods that we eat because we think they’re healthful have actually been stripped of their nutrients before they get to us. It is a commonly held belief that we can obtain the required daily amount (RDA) of calcium from drinking milk and yet it is in fact true that milk tends to deplete our bodies calcium levels. Consider the following points in regard to milk: It has been homogenised (Heat treated and so the nutrients and crucial enzymes have been damaged or are missing and an enzyme added that emulsifies the fat making it unabsorbable in the gut). The milk we receive is not a whole food (Holistic – it has been stripped of its nutrients) it does not contain the cofactors of magnesium, boron and vitamin D to get it to our bones rather than our arteries. The molecules in milk are too large for the human gut to absorb. Designed for feeding calves which have an enzyme released from their obomasum (stomach) to enable them to digest the milk which our stomachs do not have. Whole wheat loses 75 % of its B vitamins, minerals, and fibre when it is milled into flour. Likewise, rice loses most of its vitamins, minerals, and fibre when it’s polished to turn it from brown to white rice. Even the soil that these and other plant-derived foods grow in is often nutrient-depleted. How do I know I may need supplements? Nutrient deficiencies have become the norm in most countries in the world. Most of us are having a hard time fulfilling our bodies’ most basic nutritional needs. Initially, the body hints of a nutrient shortfall with any of a number of minor symptoms: fatigue, weakness, insomnia, irritability, nervousness, depression, poor concentration, memory loss, aches and pains, recurrent infections, allergies, circulatory problems, and just not feeling good. These are the many vague symptoms that are our bodies cry for lack of basic nutrition and which drive patients to doctors. Unfortunately most Doctors are ill equipped to make a correct diagnosis because most conventionally trained Medics have little education or experience in nutrition, they’re unable to make the connection between a patient’s complaints and a nutrient deficiency. Then when the blood and urine test results come back normal (as they usually do in such cases), the symptoms tend to be dismissed as “all in your head” — or, even worse, as “a natural part of aging.” How often have we heard Doctors say that our children are suffering from growing pains? If doctors do prescribe treatment, they usually bypass nutritional supplements in favour of drugs such as anti-inflammatories, antidepressants, tranquilisers, and the like. These not only mask symptoms but also deplete nutrient stores even further. This accelerates the degenerative process, which is the forerunner of disease and aging. Often, Losec and Zantac are prescribed for indigestion and acid reflux. This will not only succeed in shutting the gut down and hiding the symptoms but will also inhibit its ability to break down nutrients from foods and accelerate the harmful cycle. Yet the cause has still not been addressed which in most cases is food allergies and intolerances or sensitivity. Chronic nutrient deficiencies invariably lead to serious health problems. Data collected from large populations show that as the availability of nutrients decline, the frequency of illness increases. Unfortunately, when heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, or some other serious deficiency-driven condition develops, neither the doctor nor the patient is likely to realize that the process had begun years before with simple symptoms showing our bodies many cries for dietary nutrients/supplements. Is poor diet the only reason making supplements necessary? Diet is not the sole force behind the national plague of nutrient deficiencies. Other factors include the following: Alcohol consumption (depletes B vitamins, vitamin C, most minerals, and antioxidants) Allergies and infections (deplete vitamins A and C and zinc, among other nutrients) Exposure to air pollutants and other toxins (depletes antioxidants) Smoking (depletes antioxidants) Stress (depletes all nutrients, especially B vitamins and vitamin C) Humans are adapted to getting nutrients from food, and foods should contain many co-factors and enzymes required to absorb those nutrients. However, certain nutrients are difficult to obtain even in the context of a healthy diet (such as vitamin D and magnesium), and supplementing with them indefinitely may be necessary. Other nutrients that may fall into this category, depending on our diet and health needs, include vitamin A, vitamin K2, selenium, iodine and vitamin C. Vitamin A is only available in significant amounts in organ meats and fish liver oils. While it’s certainly possible (and desirable) to eat organ meats, many people have a strong aversion to them. What makes one supplement better than another? We should be looking for a supplement that is both holistic, plant derived and also originates from a natural source such as is found in Youngevity products especially the Beyond Tangy Tangerine which is one of the most advanced energy boosting, multi-vitamin mineral complexes on the market. This is because it contains not only the vital nutrients but also the cofactors necessary for the body to recognise the nutrients consumed and so transport them to the correct place in the body and to facilitate their absorption i.e. calcium to the bones rather than the arteries. How important is gut health? It has been found that the interaction of the bowel micro flora with the intestinal immune system plays a more significant roll than has been previously estimated. Not only inflammatory gut diseases but also disorders such as diabetes, obesity and potentially many others have their origins in the gut. The gut holds trillions of bacteria that help process our food, produce nutrients, and fight disease. In fact, there are ten times more friendly bacteria in our gut than cells in our entire body. Quite literally, our gut is the epicentre of our physical health. Yet it’s all too common to experience lots of digestive issues that make a huge impact on our strength and vitality. It doesn’t matter how nutrient-dense our diet is, if we have low stomach acid or impaired enzyme production, our gut won’t be able to absorb those nutrients efficiently. By supporting this amazing system, we will see chronic health issues (like fatigue, fogginess, colds, aches and pains) diminish, and we will feel abundant energy return, because our gut will now be able to efficiently absorb our nutrient intake. If we want better immunity, efficient digestion, improved clarity and balance, we need to focus on rebuilding our gut health. When looking at getting our body’s nutrient intake back on track we need to first kill the gut pathogens and then reduce inflammation, restore gut barrier integrity, re-establish healthy gut macrobiotica and address any other lingering issues on the way back to health. Everyone has pathogens in the gut but our healthy bacteria are what keeps them in check. It’s all about balance. When our gut is in tip-top shape, about 80-85 percent of bacteria are good guys and 15-20 percent are bad guys. We feel great and life is good. But when the harmful bacteria stage a revolt, all hell breaks loose. So which nutrients do I need, and in what amounts? Opinions vary. The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA’s) have been the accepted standard since the early 1940s. But now nutrition researchers generally agree that the RDAs fall far short when it comes to preventing chronic degenerative diseases, promoting optimum health, and extending life. The RDAs were first established for the purpose of protecting people against severe nutrient deficiency diseases such as beriberi (thiamine deficiency), pellagra (niacin deficiency), and scurvy (vitamin C deficiency). Even though they’ve been updated several times over the years, the RDAs still do not acknowledge the link between chronic marginal nutrient deficiencies and chronic degenerative diseases. Yet thousands of studies have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that long-term low-grade malnutrition causes or aggravates virtually all of our deadliest illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and autoimmune disorders (in which the immune system turns against the body). It also contributes to a host of less-serious health problems that nevertheless erode one’s quality of life, including cataracts, hearing loss, insomnia, and rheumatism (pain and inflammation in muscles and joints). Achieving the dual goals of optimum health and maximum life span requires nutrient intakes beyond what the RDAs advocate and what diet alone can supply. It is recommended to replace the outmoded RDAs with the Optimum Daily Allowances, or ODAs. The ODAs are the ranges of nutrient dosages prescribed by nutrition-oriented doctors or licensed medical practitioners. Each range represents a consensus of experts and is based on thousands of published peer-reviewed studies that determined the nutrient levels necessary to prevent and treat chronic degenerative diseases. While the RDAs provide only short-term protection against serious acute nutrient deficiencies, the ODAs are necessary to sustain optimum health and support healing. Take vitamin E as an example. The human body can get along just fine on the RDA of 30 international units (IU). But it needs at least 13 times that amount to have a fighting chance at staying disease-free and lasting 120 years. Sunflower seeds have more vitamin E than any other food. And yet to get 400 IU of the nutrient, which is the amount provided by a typical multivitamin or a vitamin E capsule, you’d have to eat 1½ pounds of seeds every day. So you can imagine the challenge of meeting the ODA of 400 to 1,600 IU without the aid of supplements. Reinforcement with Supplements Just as poor nutrition can precipitate disease, peak nutrition can prevent it. Here again, the RDAs are woefully inadequate. They advocate nutrient intakes well below the levels that overwhelming scientific evidence supports as necessary to protect against heart disease, cancer, and all the other common nutrient deficient conditions mentioned above. Supplements are intended to enhance a healthy diet by increasing the ratio of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients) to macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat). This combination creates an environment conducive to peak cellular performance. When your cells thrive, your body thrives — and that translates into extra decades of optimum health. That is why supplementation has become so crucial to our ability to heal our bodies from nutrient deficient diseases and continue living long and healthy lives.