Today I wanted to explore the world of supplements. Is there any benefit to choosing natural over synthetic supplements? Do we really need them to supplement our diet with vitamin and mineral pills at all?
Do we Need to Supplement?
Should we supplement our regular diet with pills to receive the nutrients we require? This is a controversial issue that health professionals across the world are in disagreement about. The usual argument against supplementation is that we should get all of the vitamins and minerals that we require from a healthy balanced diet.
We must ask ourselves then, why are foods ‘fortified’ in many Western areas. For example, we add folic acid to bread to prevent spina bifida in unborn babies. Thiamine, iodine and other vitamins and minerals are also added to many foods in the standard western diet. This contradicts the logic that the food that we regularly eat contains everything that our bodies require in terms of nutrients.
The Importance of Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential organic molecules that promote the smooth running of functions within our bodies. They help with mental clarity, immunity, weight loss and digestion amongst many other things. They can help to prevent cancer and disease, alleviate depression and keep energy levels balanced. We are unable to manufacture these ourselves and therefore rely on external sources to provide these.
Modern agriculture has destroyed many of the nutrients that naturally occur in our soil. Pesticides and fertilisers also destroy many essential microbe activities that assist mineral absorption by the plants. It has been found that around 90% of the vitamins and minerals that should be available in farming soil are missing. Plants need more than 50 different vitamins and minerals to thrive, but typically receive only phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium.
These plants that are grown in our overworked and abused earth are deficient, and therefore far less nutrient rich. In addition to this, food is processed and refined, stripping even more of the vital elements that we need.
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