“Vitality and beauty are gifts of nature for those who live according to its laws”
Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519)
Nutrients & Supplements
Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients essential to life and and necessary for normal cell function, growth and development. They are therefore essential to good health.
Evidence shows that the nutrient content of foods fluctuates widely depending on soil and growing conditions. It is also true that some of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables begin to diminish once they are picked. When much of our fruits and vegetables have been harvested sometimes weeks or even months before we actually consume them, by the time they reach our plate they have often lost much of their nutritional value.
Processed foods undergo several transformations during their production and they may be subjected to heat, light, chemicals, sterilization, freezing, extended storage, etc. These processes greatly deplete their nutrient content.
Environmental pollution in air, food, water, earth, the environement in general has increased. Our bodies have to work much harder to counteract and detoxify these chemicals from our systems.
Many people today suffer from chronic health conditions and therefore may be using pharmaceutical drugs on a daily basis for several years or even during their whole lives. Some of these drugs interact with nutrients causing depletions.
Aging, while a normal part of life, is sometimes accompanied by reduced efficiency in digesting and absorbing nutrients from foods. Furthermore, some older people may simply be undernourished.
Some people are at a higher risk of developing certain illnesses due to their genetics, family history or their personal conditions.
Vitamins are organic compounds found in plants and animals. They cannot be made by the body and so must be consumed in the diet or through supplementation in order to avoid deficiencies. They are divided into two classes:
- Water-soluble vitamins: they are used up by the body quickly and any excess is excreted in the urine by the kidneys with the exception of vitamin B12 which can be stored in the liver. They are vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folic acid, B12 & C
- Fat-soluble vitamins: not as easily extracted as water-soluble vitamins, they are stored in the body’s fat cells and cannot be excreted by the kidneys. They are vitamins A, E, D & K
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS
Fat is essential to our health and the body can synthesize most of the fat it needs from the diet. However, two essential fatty acids (EFAs) cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained from the diet:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – omega-3 FA
- Linoleic acid (LA) an omega-6 FA
Deficiencies in these EFAs will cause many disorders and abnormalities in the body including decreased immune function, depression, anxiety and dry skin.
Whereas, sufficient intake of these EFAs will have many health benefits such as:
- Reducing inflammation and pain
- Improving appearance of skin and hair
- Developement of healthy cell membranes
- Regulation of adrenal activity, mood, behavior
- Development & function of brain & nervous system
- Improving blood fluidity, preventing clotting & high blood pressure
- Protection against atherosclerosis & incidence of heart disease
- Protection against skin conditions: eczema, psoriasis, dandruff
The body needs many different essential minerals for healthy function of fluid balance, body metabolism, bone health, teeth health, muscle contraction, nervous system function as well as in hundreds of other ways.
- Major Minerals or macro-minerals: they are needed in larger amounts, 100 mg per day or greater. They are: calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium sodium and sulfur. Calcium and phosphorus are the greatest in amounts in the body
- Micro or Trace Minerals: needed in very small amounts: boron, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, fluouride, germanium, iodine, manganese, nickel, molybdenum, selenium, silicon, vanadium, zinc.
Probiotics are friendly microorganisms (live bacteria and yeasts) which provide health benefits. They help keep our digestive system healthy by controlling the amount of ‘the bad’ or pathogenic bacteria in it. Probiotics fulfill their protective role in several ways:
- Restoring and maintaining a healthy balance between ”good” and ”bad” bacteria in the gut
- Boosting the immune system
- Reducing inflammation
- Improving gut barrier function
- Synthesis of vitamins
Since the balance of the gut microbiome can be compromised by various factors including disease, medication, diet or the environment, pobiotics may therefore be useful for the following conditions:
- Gastrointestinal problems: IBS, IBD, diarrhea, …
- Urinary health and vaginal health
- Oral health
- Skin problems such as eczema
- Prevention of infections including colds
- General immunity
The kind of vitamins and minerals you choose makes a big difference:
grade, purity and bioavailability are all very important when choosing your supplement