The importance of supplements

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Supplements are a joke right? I mean, are they really necessary? I eat well so why should I bother wasting my money???

Is this how you think?

Well I have a different opinion and the purpose of this article is to provide some information you may not be aware of,  and why even a good diet can be deficient in all kinds of things.

I see this in clinic all the time. ‘I eat well, so I am not interested in supplements’.

Really?

Then why are you tired? Why are you getting muscle aches and pains, why the poor sleep and the period pains, why the headaches ect…?

Here is something I bet you did not know. Plants cannot make minerals. They make some vitamins (as do humans) but they cannot make minerals. So how do they get them? They absorb them from the ground…

You can have the world’s best diet and you will still be deficient in all kinds of things if you eat food grown in nutritionally poor soil.

In industry commercial crops are grown in nutritionally deficient soil and fed only 3 minerals. NPK. Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) as these 3 minerals give the appearance of plants being green and lush.

Contrast that to a nutritional mineral rich food like unrefined sea salt which contains 84 minerals. So where are the other 81 minerals??? They are missing…

And you taste it. Test it for yourself. Go and buy a tomato from a large supermarket like Coles or Woolworths. Is it nice and ripe, deep red colour, juicy and delicious?

No, I did not think so. It is disgusting and hardly even tastes like food. That is what happens when you substitute quality for quantity, you produce an inferior product with a poor nutritional status.

Now compare the crappy supermarket tomato with an organic tomato grown at the Farmers market and picked yesterday. It’s like a completely different food. That is what happens when you care for the ground, nurture the crops and eat food picked yesterday, not last week or last year.

People who live on supermarket fruit and veg can expect to be deficient for this reason. I digress, but you get my point I hope?

Key Nutrients

 

  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

  • Mg (Magnesium)

  • Zn (Zinc)

Vitamin C

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) the active form of vitamin C. This is a highly underrated nutrient and is often deficient in peoples diet, especially in the colder months of the year.

In winter, you will notice that citrus fruits are in season, like oranges and mandarins. This is nature telling us to eat more of these foods at this time of the year.

Vitamin C is essential for a normal healthy immune system, as well as the formation of collagen (the body’s main type of connective tissue) and the normal function of healthy veins and arteries.

Vitamin C is burned up quickly in times as stress as it is needed for the synthesis of stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline.

Vitamin C is also crucial for elastin, to keep the skin healthy and allow proper elasticity.

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, along with all the B vitamins which means the body cannot store much of it, so you need to get it in the diet daily. Like Magnesium, you will get diarrhoea if you take too much which is what happens when the body tissue becomes saturated and cells cannot absorb any more, so excess is passed in the bowel. Reduce the dose if this happens.

I recommend taking 500mg to 1 g daily to begin with, and increasing it as your body becomes used to the dose.

Food sources of Vitamin C include;

  • Green leafy veg like kale, chard

    ect

    … as well as herbs like parsley

  • All berries

  • All citrus

  • Capsicum

  • Tomatoes

  • Pineapple and pawpaw

Magnesium

Clinically, the most obvious mineral that people become deficient in is Magnesium (Mg)

Magnesium is an alkaline mineral, meaning the complete opposite to acid. This is an excellent mineral to take because you burn up your magnesium during periods of stress. This occurs because magnesium is needed for the synthesis (to make) the adrenal hormones. The more you stress, the more adrenal hormones you make, and one of these hormones is particularly problematic. I am sure you have heard of it. It is called cortisol.

Cortisol has anti-inflammatory effects by reducing white blood cells, which unfortunately also slows wound healing. B vitamins (think energy) and zinc (think immune system, skin, and reproduction) are all needed to make these hormones along with magnesium.

But if you suffer from muscle cramps/spasm, problems sleeping, period pain or general muscle soreness it is likely you are deficient in magnesium.

I much prefer a powdered magnesium over tablets, as it is much faster and easier to absorb and metabolize in to cells. I usually take 200-300mg once or twice a day depending on how stressed I am. It easily dilutes into water or smoothies ect…

A word of caution however, like vitamin C if you take too much magnesium for your body you will get loose stools. Halve your dosage if this happens.

Magnesium is found in the following foods;

  • Avocado

  • Cacao (raw chocolate)

  • Nuts (except peanuts)

  • Seeds

 

Zinc

Think zinc!

Zinc (Zn) is one of my most favourite minerals, and is needed in more than 300 metabolic actions in the body. In clinic zinc is often prescribed for the following reasons;

  • Increases fertility in both males and females

  • Important for connective tissue and skin health and repair

  • Stimulates the immune system and is crucial proper white blood cell function

  • An important building block for healthy skin, hair

    and

    nails

Zinc is especially important for males as we store much of our zinc in the prostate gland and men lose about 5mg of zinc during ejaculation.

Taking zinc as a supplement can cause digestive issues if the dose is too large, as zinc is toxic at excessive levels in the body.

This is very rare however, and I have never seen a case of zinc toxicity in clinic. While zinc can affect the stomach it is also very important for making hydrochloric acid (stomach acid).

Zinc is needed in different amounts in different people, I usually prescribe 40-60mg daily, and the body will need at least this amount or more when fighting off an acute infection be it viral or bacterial.

Zinc is found in the following foods;

  • Animal meats

  • Ginger

  • Black pepper

  • Seeds (especially pumpkin seeds)

  • Nuts (not peanuts)

Zinc tends to hang out in protein foods and is needed for the absorption on amino acids (the building blocks of protein).

All food sources is not a complete list, just somewhere to get you started. Come see me in clinic if you are interested in learning more about any more of these.

Wishing you health and happiness!

Warm regards, Ben

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