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Dietary Supplements

What are Dietary Supplements?

According to the American organization DSHEA, dietary supplements complement our diet; omegacapsulesthey contain one or more nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs or other natural ingredients (like royal jelly); they are consumed orally in the form of a capsule, tablet, powder, liquid etc.;

their ingredients must be listed on their labels and it should be clearly stated that they are dietary supplements. They are not a substitute for proper nutrition. 

If you are taking any dietary supplements carefully read the label and instructions. It is best to consult with your doctor, or a nutritional specialist for any questions you may have, especially concerning the dosage, any interactions with medications you might be taking and any side effects. Consult with them also if you are having surgery, are pregnant, in confinement or if you are thinking of giving supplements to a child.

Why do we need them?

Let’s start at the beginning. Over the millions of years of evolution, the quality and quantity of our food has changed dramatically because of the great changes which have happened in our lifestyles. Once, man needed several thousands of calories in order not to freeze, in order to walk for hours hunting for food and to cultivate the land by hand. We, modern people, have secured a way to do all this with the least possible effort, so we do not need all these calories!

Do not hurry to rejoice in the reduction of calories because, as you know, obesity is a sign of our times. On the other hand, while we do not need the calories since we are not as physically tired as our ancestors, we lack energy. That’s because we do not receive from food the nutrients our bodies needs, such as the essential Omega 3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Are you wondering why? I think you already know that modern food is not known for its wholesomeness anymore. See some of the causes below.

Metals and minerals in the soil pass through to plants and animals and humans, so essentially we are nourished through the natural process of recycling. Unfortunately, because human and often animal excreta are not recycled, they do not go back in the ground, many valuable elements are lost in the sea or in landfills. So the ground gets poorer, the cycle is broken; we can no longer receive various nutrients because they are not available and deficiencies present themselves in our bodies.Here is another availability problem: Plant roots are covered by mycorrhiza, which helps with smooth absorption of minerals and trace elements found in the water. Guess what happens when chemical fertilizers and herbicides are used. Mycorrhiza is destroyed and the plants can not receive the necessary nutrients; consequently neither can animals or humans. Plants cannot produce the vitamins they need if they can’t get nutrients in the first place. So where are we going to get our vitamins from?

In our times, we tend to eat chemically processed foods, like white flour foods. Sadly, by processing we lose valuable nutrients and as if that was not enough we gladly consume their “persecutors”, like caffeine, alcohol, soft drinks, sugar etc.

Daily exposure to toxins, such as chemical environmental pollutants, heavy metals, chemicals, food additives, pesticides, hormones in animal husbandry, human drugs, requires constant use of our bodies’ nutritious stock. Our bodies try to detoxify from toxins they incessantly receive, so they consume vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients. Many toxins we should be aware of are very close to us... Mercury fillings, cadmium in cigarettes, aluminum in the water, solvents in paints, cosmetics, detergents, you get the picture… they are endless and they are everywhere. I must add caffeinated beverages which -because of their composition- literally trap several trace elements as well as ferum, depriving our bodies of them.

The frantic anxiety of our times greatly increases our bodies’ needs in nutrients. Moreover, scientific studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of dietary supplements in various cases, such as the ability of folic acid to prevent fetal development problems; the value of calcium and vitamin D in prevention and treatment of osteoporosis; and the use of omega 3 fatty acids in coronary heart disease among others. The field of dietary supplements certainly needs more research.

How do they best work?

Preferably take them 10-20’ after meals. Pro-biotics should be taken at least two hours before of after meals.

It is best to have taken them by early evening.

Don’t take vitamin B late at night if you have trouble sleeping.

If you are taking trace elements like calcium or magnesium, observe proper ratios between them as recommended by a nutritional specialist or your doctor.

Spread them in smaller doses within the day for better absorption.

Opt for a vitamin B complex supplement instead of singular supplements.

If you are taking trace elements, it is best to combine them with a multi-vitamin supplement.

Research has shown that Omega 3 are beneficial when they are about 10 times the amount of Omega 6.

It is advisable to consult with a specialist on the proportions of minerals and trace elements such as copper and zinc or calcium relative to ferum and magnesium, because they act competitively in their absorption by the body.

Amino acids should be preferably taken on an empty stomach or with fruit if you like.

If the time you take them is not fixed, they are not effective.

Prefer supplements that are as natural as possible, coming from natural sources and containing no chemical additives or yeast.

Block G., et al 2007. Usage patterns, health, and nutritional status of long term multiple dietary supplement users: A crow sectional study.

Murray M., 1999. The Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements.




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