Nutritional Supplements – Your Way to Better Health

The ads and health professionals all say you should be taking a daily multivitamin. But where do you even start? What and who can you trust? How do you make informed choices from the millions of shiny and attractively packaged health supplements that beckon you from their shop shelves? Why should we take multivitamins? Are they really that important? Well personally I would say absolutely yes, but it does depend on the quality of the multivitamins you purchase and your specific nutrition supplementation needs. Do you even know?

Well, the truth is that getting your vitamins and minerals from food rather than supplements is the best method to ensure your body receives all the nutrients it needs. However, this is next to impossible these days as many modern lifestyle factors affect our ability to get adequate nutrition from the food we eat despite the fact that there is so much food all around us. Many of us just don’t eat right and even when we do eat right, the nutritional levels in the foods we buy may not be as dense or nutritionally concentrated as they ought to be or as they used to be. This is due to increased soil depletion caused by the types of modern farming and transport methods used in ensuring that our processed and natural foods arrive at or grocery stores in good time and in the best looking condition. But as we know, all that glitters isn’t necessarily gold and that also applies to foods we eat. So multivitamins provide an easy way to get the nutrients you may be missing from your diet.

But just grabbing a multivitamin off the shelf may not be the best advice. Several years ago when I suffered from serious and chronic ill-health problems, I had little awareness of the value of multivitamins beyond the fact they were supposed to be good for me in some way. I also assumed most multivitamins were created equal and that the difference in price was due more to the fact that some were packaged more prettily than others. Well, I was not that ignorant but near enough so regarding the whole issue of multivitamins.

Back then, I would have been satisfied with simply choosing a reasonably priced and attractive looking multivitamin brand off the shelf of my regular grocery store or local. Now, I am a lot more responsible in the way I select my nutritional supplements and also a lot more informed than I was back then. I am also a lot more passionate about health related matters. That’s because my health circumstances at the time prompted an interest in getting back my health using every means available to me. I had to take responsibility for regaining my health as I could not bear the thought of continuing to live on the cocktail of prescription drugs that I had been put on and which caused me so many worrying side effects. So, in my bid to take my health back into my own hands I did a lot of reading and research, subscribed to reputable health forums and directly sought the opinions of reputable and certified holistic health practitioners.

Over the course of time, my awareness of the important distinctions between various supplement brands improved. I became better able to distinguish between quality multivitamin / multi-mineral brands in terms of recognizing synthetic and more natural based brands and the criteria for determining which brands offered superior quality supplements that the body was better able to absorb compared with lesser grade supplements that were more difficult for the body to absorb. More on this in future articles but it is worth investing some time to understand a bit more about supplements and the best ones to take as well as what distinguishes a good supplement brand from its lesser competitor brand. If you do decide to go down the route of taking multivitamins on a regular basis, it is worth taking supplements that will genuinely benefit you health wise rather than wasting money on next to worthless supplements that provide your body little or no benefit.

Best Nutrients to Have in Your Multivitamin /Multimineral Supplement

Try and ensure that your preferred multivitamin/multimineral supplement at least contains the following:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D3 (absorbed best when taken with Vitamin K)
  • B Vitamins
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C

Other important minerals that should be included in a good multi supplement are:

  • B12
  • Folate
  • Niacin
  • Pyridoxine
  • Riboflavin
  • Thiamine

Unless you are clearly deficient in the following minerals, it is not advisable to take a multi supplement which contains the following three combinations:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Copper

Woman-African-American-shopping-for-supplementsThis is because these three mineral supplements combined, increase the levels of oxidative stress in the body and are best taken separately to resolve issues when there is a clear deficiency. It is not advisable to take large or continuous doses of iron or calcium as they can cause serious or adverse effects in the body. I take iron regularly but on an off/on basis because I tend to be slightly anaemic. So, I take an iron supplement for about six weeks and then stop for a period and then resume for another six weeks and so on.

Your multi vitamins and multi minerals form the basic ‘building blocks’ for good health and proper nutrition. Be sure to check the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for each vitamin and mineral required. Read the label and make sure you are getting what you need. Spend a little bit of your time to research the daily recommended amounts and use that as a basis for determining your choice of supplement. If in any doubt seek advice from a qualified health practitioner though I personally would not rely on my regular doctor for advice on multivitamin supplementation just because in my opinion they are not necessarily up to date on preventative health concepts or health care. But, don’t take my word for it. Do your own research and make up your own mind. I often tend to seek the opinions of practitioners who as well as being formally trained and qualified to practice medicine are also trained in alternative or complementary health concepts. When you have the right balance of vitamins and minerals in a multivitamin, you will help give your body the ability to function properly. Here are just a few areas where the correct nutrients can help fend off illness and promote good health:

Preventing Deficiencies

When your body is deficient in vitamins and minerals, you can experience an array of health problems. Taking a good quality daily multivitamin can help reduce the risk of health issues due to these deficiencies.

For example, vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that protects the body’s cells from damage; both externally and internally caused damage. For instance, in patients with cataracts, this vitamin has shown the ability to help stop the progression of cataracts, and in some cases even reduce the formation of cataracts.

Reducing Stress

Daily stress is something everyone lives with. Life is filled with stressors, both bad and good. When you feel the adrenalin pumping, you know your body is using up your resources of vitamins and minerals just to handle the anxiety and stress. If you don’t have the proper nutrients your body needs to replenish and handle the drain on your body, you will suffer a deficiency. That’s when you get sick.

For example, our bodies quickly use up vitamin C during stressful situations. If not regularly replaced, this leads to a deficiency. And, in this instance, a deficiency can cause more than an illness. A deficiency of vitamin C can actually perpetuate the stress cycle as it causes irritability and anxiety, causing more stress, causing a drain of more vitamin C, and so on and so forth. Taking a supplement with vitamin C can help end this cycle.

Boosting Energy and Brain Power

Lack of proper nutrition can make you feel sluggish and tired. By taking a multivitamin every day, you know you’re providing your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs. Having that bit of nutrition ‘insurance’ helps your body stay healthy and awake, and doing what you ask it to do.

In much the same way, having the proper balance of vitamins and minerals provides your brain with the nutrition it needs to stay focused and alert. If achieving mental clarity is a priority in your life, then by all means add a multivitamin to your daily regimen.

Most of us want to eat right. After all, we need to keep our bodies fed with the proper amount of vitamins and minerals to operate at maximum capacity. Getting the nutrition we need from our food is ideal. But, the fact is, life keeps us busy. We don’t always take time to eat properly. Including a multivitamin in your day can help fill the gaps in nutrition. That one little step may just give you peace of mind as you strive to achieve a healthy lifestyle. More from me later.

From my heart to yours always,

Kobi Emmanuella-King

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