The study of Nutrition and the need for supplements has become very complex and often bewildering. I would like to give my take on how to simplify our understanding and yet still be able to delve into the research and be amazed at the complexity if the interest is there.
“Nutrition” is defined in the Oxford dictionary as “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth”.
“Supplements” should be food-based concentrates that assist in preventing deficiencies which would result in problems for “health and growth”.
The objective of good nutrition and supplementation is to have good health and not to try and treat illness. Supplements may well help a disease condition and that is often because a deficiency problem is being provided for. We should instead be aiming to reduce the incidence of disease.
Research has brought the understanding that nutritional metabolism is complex and interdependent. Often a research paper will suggest a benefit of a particular nutrient. The risk is then to concentrate so much on the benefit of that particular nutrient to the exclusion of all others. This results in “fads” that often do more harm than good. We should try and mimic nature and have as diverse a nutritional intake as is found in our normal food sources. The wider the diversity the less likelihood of a deficiency. Nutrients come in families as we see in the B group vitamins, vitamin E family and the Omega-3 marine source essential oils. Balance is far more important than large quantities of an individual of the family group.
With these things in mind I believe we are all deficient in at least one vitamin or mineral and should seriously consider supplementing to cover that deficiency.
Points to consider when choosing a supplement;
- Is it extracted from a food-source raw material? i.e. does it form part of our normal food intake?
- Is there some science behind it? i.e. it is not just someone’s “good idea”
This really comes down to the slogan of “Based in Nature and backed by Science”
Dr Barry Bland
Straight Talk Nutrition In-house Doctor