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Why do we need supplements?

food supplementsThe way our food is grown and processed has changed beyond recognition over the last 50 + years.

If you compare the “Caveman Diet v The Modern Man Diet” humans used to eat freshly picked fruit pips and all, now we peel our fruit taking away the fibre. Also, let’s not forget the pesticides that the fruit has been sprayed with, which did not exist back in the caveman’s time, and the fact that soils are now depleted of important minerals such as selenium and magnesium.

Our demanding lifestyles have created imbalances so that we need additional support from supplements to help us maintain our homeostatic environment.

This demanding lifestyle creates stress which again further depletes our vitamins and minerals. Stress also affects our digestive systems, causing all sorts of health issues such as IBS. One thing has a knock on effect on something else. Although food is always the best means of obtaining all nutritional requirements, if grown on appropriate soil under certain conditions, the second best has to be a FOOD STATE form of nutrient.

Effects of Selenium Deficiency

Mineral deficiency in food starts with the soil, and selenium is probably one of the fundamental minerals in which most people are deficient. About 9 out of 10 people are selenium deficient. This is something I see often as a naturopath.

One of the main minerals for thyroid function, a selenium deficiency can have a detrimental affect regarding cardiovascular disease, loss of oxidative stress (therefore cancer risk) and cardiomyopathy. In addition, selenium and vitamin A help with dandruff.

Food state supplements, such as Native Elements food state, provide an excellent source of minerals including selenium because they are essentially food and they provide a source of minerals that you normally wouldn’t get from food. Even if you tried it would take excessive amounts of certain foods to get the necessary amount of some minerals that have been depleted from the soil, including selenium.

“A lot of people go on about brazil nuts being good for selenium…absolutely true,” according to Professor Llewellyn. “Try to get them fresh, though, as there is a cartel in South America and they sell them about 10 months later (from fresh) when they forget to tell you that a lot of the fats have become rancid and per oxidized. You wouldn’t dare touch them. It’s in there, but it’s like drinking a glass of apple juice with fifteen vodkas or something, you don’t do it.”

Another good source of selenium, the mackerel, would be fine as well except for its position on the food chain. “Perfectly true, lovely oily fish, but mackerel is the one fish on the whole planet you shouldn’t touch because it is unique as a scavenger fish,” Llewellyn said. “The toxic mercury, cadmium and other stuff you find in mackerel you wouldn’t touch with a barge pole.”

Not all selenium food sources are bad, however. Garlic remains a good source for both selenium and sulphur.

Are we getting all the nutrients our body needs?

We rely on our food to get nutrients into our bodies. When we are hungry we eat. What happens if the food we eat is not enough? Hippocrates said “Let food by thy medicine and medicine thy food”. A true statement but somewhat hollow if the food you eat is lacking in nutrients.

People often tell me they “eat very healthily”. While this may appear to be the case, unless you are eating completely organic food replete with minerals like selenium and magnesium, then your nutritional needs are not being met. Our busy lifestyles can have an immense impact on our eating trends, which in turn affects our nutrition intake. But perhaps more seriously, we can no longer rely on our food to supply us with the quality and quantity of the vital nutrients we need for good health. More than ever before, our bodies need extra help.

Our bodies need a balanced diet of vitamin and minerals and trace elements. However, the nutrient quality of our food can only be determined by the quality of the environment in which it is grown – the soil and the sea; the nutrient quality of our fresh food is only as good as the quality of its source.

Fresh fish can be a rich source of proteins, vitamins, calcium and also essential polyunsaturated fats such as Omega-3 and are a valuable source of nutrition to pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Exercise is also essential for our bodies. It is now estimated that almost a quarter of all British adults are obese and if current trends continue this could rise to over 50% by 2050. Add to this hectic lifestyles with missed or rushed meals, convenience foods and a multitude of fast food outlets, the chances of maintaining a balanced nutrient rich diet are for many, ironically, slim!

Stress will also deplete vital nutrients from the body, in particular ones the liver requires. So taking time out to eat is essential. Also, make sure you chew your food well, to the point of it becoming a complete mush. Your digestive system will cope far better than swallowing big pieces of undigested food.

If you are unable to eat organic food through and through to support your system, I would recommend augmenting your nutrition through food-state supplements. Check out our range of Native Elements products as the body recognises them as food, and not as foreign or isolated supplements which are not absorbed as readily in the body. Food state supplements contain the necessary cofactors the body needs for absorption.