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Where to get your nutrients; food or supplements

Supplements are required to fill up the dietary gaps, but cannot replace our food. In this article, I will discuss if our daily food is enough, who are those specially need food supplements, and what you should do; take food supplements or just depend on your food. 

Is our daily food enough to provide what we need of nutrients?

Many of us are not able to get their daily requirements of nutrients from modern served foods. As a big part of our food comes as processed or non fresh , many required nutrients would be missing like vitamin D and Calcium. Also Trace essential elements that are very important for our bodies, are not provided optimally in ordinary meals.

The fresh food is loaded with nutrients, such as magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A and C. But many adults aren’t getting enough fresh food. The American diet is mostly made of processed foods. And such foods are poor in nutrients.  So you need to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet every day which is not the case for most of the people. Even though, shortage of needed  nutrients cannot be avoided.

People with special high need for nutrients

Special needs categories of people may require additional nutrients more than can be provided by ordinary daily foods. Older age , person with digestive malabsorption are not able to utilize all nutrients in the food. Children, pregnant women, and athletes also may require more nutrients than can be in our daily food.

Evidence about supplements

Nutritional supplements would seem to be the obvious way to plug gaps in your diet. But taking too much can actually harm you. For example, you can get too much of a particular nutrient without realizing it. “Extra (vitamin A) supplements can lead to dangerous, toxic levels if taken too frequently,” notes Dr. Clifford Lo, an associate professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

The evidence about the benefits of multivitamins is mixed. Dr. Sesso was a lead researcher in one of the largest studies to date on multivitamins, the Physicians’ Health Study II, which found that multivitamins were associated with a small reduction in the risk of cancer and cataracts in men, but did not reduce deaths from heart disease. A study published March 1, 2015, in TheJournal of Nutrition found that a multivitamin with minerals lowered the risk of death from heart disease in women, but not in men. However, a review of a number of studies, published in Annals of Internal Medicine in 2013, found that multivitamins showed no benefit in preventing early death. Because the findings from these and many other studies conflict, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force doesn’t support vitamin and mineral supplements to ward off disease.

What should you do?

Both Dr. Sesso and Dr. Lo advise that you try to improve your diet before you use supplements. That’s because nutrients are most potent when they come from food. “They are accompanied by many nonessential but beneficial nutrients, such as hundreds of carotenoids, flavonoids, minerals, and antioxidants that aren’t in most supplements,” says Dr. Lo.

Plus, “food tastes better” says Dr. Sesso. “Work with a dietitian, and try to get a sense of what’s missing from your diet and what changes might be considered.”

If you are unable to make proper dietary changes, or if you have a genuine deficiency in a particular nutrient, such as vitamin D,  a supplement will be helpful and must be considered. Just be careful; the manufacture of supplements isn’t monitored by the government in the way that the manufacture of pharmaceuticals is. So, with many supplements you can’t be sure exactly what you’re getting. You must select a supplement made by a reputable compnay and has many positive reviews for doctors and users.

Bottom line: “Look for a multivitamin with D and B vitamins (especially folate), iron, magnesium, and calcium” as recommended by many doctors, “and go for a well-known brand that’s been around for a long time and is likely well-tested.” You will notice a significant positive change in your health, when you use a potent good food supplement.


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