The Benefits of Using Nutritional Supplements

May 28 07:36 2009 Dr. Andrwe Smith Print This Article

Does eating a healthy balanced diet alone provide all of the nutrients that the human body needs to function correctly? There are many different types and brands of nutritional supplements available to the consumer, but what are the benefits of using these products? 

These are just some of the questions people may have regarding nutritional supplementation and the purpose of this article is to answer some of these questions.

There are many different types of nutritional products available today and the health and wellness industry is one of the fastest growing industries at the present time.  This is due to many factors including the rise in obesity and the increasing numbers of individuals being diagnosed with degenerative diseases.

It is sometimes believed (especially amongst older generations) that eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly is sufficient to maintain good health,Guest Posting but there is also the conflicting argument that without supplementation, many people’s intake of vital nutrients falls far short of their body’s requirements.

Before I discuss these issues, I would first like to give a brief overview of some of the nutrients that the human body needs to function correctly:

Firstly there are the macronutrients.  Macronutrients include Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats.  At the most simplified level, carbohydrates provide our bodies with energy, proteins are responsible for building and repairing muscle tissue and fats provide additional energy reserves and allow for the transportation of micronutrients around the body.  Fats are also necessary for the production of certain hormones.

Secondly there are micronutrients.  Micronutrients include vitamins (also known as anti-oxidants) and minerals.  Each vitamin (A, B12, C, D, E, K, etc.) and mineral (Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, etc.) performs a specific role within the body and they are all required for good bodily function.  Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals have been identified as one of the primary factors in the development of degenerative disease, as vitamins in particular are responsible for the removal of free radicals within the body. 

Free radicals are harmful molecules, which are produced by chemical reactions within the human body, as well as by factors in our external environment.  They attack healthy cells causing them to break down (degenerate), potentially leading to the development of degenerative disease in the long term.

As an example, it has been suggested that in order to promote optimum health, 400 IU (International Units) of vitamin E should be consumed on a daily basis.  To put this into context, an individual would have to consume 14.5 kg of spinach each day to achieve this level.  Alternatively, 1kg or almonds would provide the same oxidative defence for the human cells.  This example should highlight that it is very difficult to consume 400 IU of vitamin E without incorporating nutritional supplementation.  This value is significantly higher than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for a number of reasons:

Firstly, RDAs were established in the 1940s and were guidelines to prevent diseases such as scurvy and rickets and are often considered to be somewhat out of date.  In addition, the external environment in which we live today contains higher levels of pollutants, radiation and other harmful toxins, which significantly increases our need for anti-oxidants. 

It is known that the levels of vitamins in fresh fruit and vegetables depletes over time, so in order to get the best anti-oxidative defence from our foods, we would have to consume them immediately after they were harvested.  This is very difficult today due to the nature of supermarket’s distribution processes.

In summary, high quality multi-vitamin and multi-mineral supplements can be beneficial for everyone, to ensure the intake of adequate quantities of vitamins and minerals.  This can support healthy body function, elevate energy levels and may also reduce free radical damage and cellular degeneration within the body.

Macronutrient supplements (i.e. proteins, meal replacements and healthy snacking options), also serve a purpose to many individuals: 

An example would be for a vegetarian who may generally find it difficult to consume sufficient quantities of protein.  In this instance, a Soy Protein supplement could be of use.  Soy protein does not contain animal products and can provide all of the essential amino acids that the body requires for building and repairing bodily tissues.

For individuals looking to manage their weight, meal replacements can provide the correct balance of nutrients in a low calorie supplement.  Meal replacements can be a convenient way for people with busy lives to regulate calorie intake.

Healthy snacking options may also provide an excellent means for receiving a good balance of nutrients with little or no preparation.  It would generally be more beneficial to an individual’s health to consume a high quality healthy snack bar than to purchase a snack from a convenience store.

Therefore, the use of macronutrient snacks usually depends on an individual’s health goals and personal dietary requirements.

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Dr. Andrwe Smith
Dr. Andrwe Smith

Usana manufacture world-leading, pharmaceutical grade nutritional supplements (see http://www.usanainhealth.com/.  Find out more about the award winning Usana vitamins by visiting http://www.usanainhealth.com/products

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