We are constantly hearing both sides of the argument about the use of supplements in the diet to promote health. One week we hear we should be supplementing, the next we hear that it doesn’t make a difference. Two weeks later we hear that it can be harmful. With so many mixed messages out there it’s no wonder there is such confusion about what to do. This article is meant to be an informative guide to help you make your own decisions if supplements are right for you, and several common questions about supplements will be addressed.
Can supplements be potentially harmful?
Yes. The poison control authority have estimated as many as 10 deaths in the past 25 years and zero in 17 of 25 reporting years have occurred. To put that into perspective, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have a mortality rate of anywhere from 3,200 to 16,500 per year in the available studies. There are certainly potentially harmful side effects of overdosing with dietary supplements, but it is a relatively very low one.
Why do I need supplements? I think I eat pretty well.
Supplements have been promoted at an all-time high, and for good reason. Most people are nutritionally deficient, and there are multiple very good reasons for this as well.
There has been a depletion in the nutrients found in the soil, therefore the crops produced on these lands are less dense in vitamins and minerals, and modern fertilizers do not supply trace elements needed in a healthy diet.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics indicate that high-yield farming techniques produce crops with a much lower nutrient content.
- Modern chemical pesticides and herbicides limit soil micro-organisms ability to make minerals and nutrients usable to plants. These pesticides also stress the human body because many contain toxic metals that accumulate in the body, and require even more nutrients to remove them from the body.
- Transportation of foods from the field to the market limits nutrient content of many foods. From harvest to table, the meals Americans consume can travel as much as 500 to several thousand miles. They are picked early so as not to spoil in transport, however, many never reach maturity and therefore never reach their appropriate value nutritionally.
- The American life-style is becoming more fast-paced and stressful. A body under stress has limited digestive function. We are constantly in this low grade fight-or-flight state, causing blood to be shunted away from the internal organs including the stomach and intestines, to the large muscles in order to respond to these perceived stresses. These stresses also increase the body’s consumption of nutrients.
How do I know what a good supplement for me would be?
There are several conditions that must be met before choosing a supplement. The first would be the form the supplement is in, whether that be tablet, capsule, suspension, or liquid. The production of tablets require breaking down the pill into a useful form, which is not an easy proposition. There are binders that act like glue to help the tablet maintain its form, as well as flow agents that allow the material move through the equipment that makes the tablet. Several reports indicate the absorption rate in tablets can be as little as 8-12 percent. So if you are taking a supplement that is 1000mg you may only be getting 100mg of it in your diet. Capsules are more easily broken down because the capsules themselves can be broken down within the stomach, but recent studies have shown an absorption rate in capsules of about 13-18 percent. Better still is a suspension which can be absorbed as much as 45 percent when certain conditions are met. Recent claims of the top liquid vitamins tout a 98% absorption rate.
The second condition that must be met is that the supplement is that it is in an ionic form. It should be electrically charged in what is considered an organic or live form. This is what makes it most absorbed, or “bioavailable” for the body.
I have been asked so many times about what is a good brand to take. After lengthy research, I found the Advocare brand to be a solid choice for athletes to weight loss to general wellness products.
To learn more about Advocare, go to www.advocare.com/151129580