Take 5 to Thrive for Optimal Health
How dietary supplements and probiotics compensate for dietary inadequacies
By: Don L. Summerfield, Vice President Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy
Long life often involves challenges to health. As we age, we become more vulnerable to degenerative conditions that can affect almost any part of the body. In some cases we can reduce the risk of getting the condition in the first place; in other cases if the condition is promptly and properly treated, we can enjoy many more years of health. Scientific studies have shown that a majority of Americans, are deficient in many essential nutrients. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 80% of women and 70% of men consume less than two-thirds of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for one or more nutrients (essential vitamins and minerals). The RDI merely represents the amount of a nutrient that is required daily to avoid deficiency disease, such as scurvy. It is not a recommendation to achieve optimal health and well being. Even people who feel they eat well, or that small percentage of people who actually meet the RDI’s, may not realize their true potential for vibrant health without nutritional supplements.
The following factors can cause nutrient depletion: alcohol, antacids, caffeine, nicotine, junk food, prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, stress, illness, injury and intestinal problems.
Low nutrient intake + enhanced nutrient needs + reduced nutrient absorption + accelerated nutrient loss = suboptimal health
Nutritional supplementation serves not only to maintain adequate nutrient levels, but also to help you achieve your personal health goals for optimal well being. A good nutritional foundation is accomplished by providing your body with certain nutritional components that science has identified as essential for optimal health, but may be lacking in your diet. Using dietary supplements to compensate for dietary inadequacies will help your mind and body function at their best, whether that entails tackling a big gardening project, competing in recreational sports, staying independent as you age, or simply enjoying vibrant, optimal health for a lifetime.
Why dietary supplements and probiotics? The 5 keys to optimal health
1. Full Spectrum multivitamin and mineral formula
Why take vitamin and mineral supplements? Vitamins and minerals play essential roles in all body processes including proper growth, digestion, energy production, hormone synthesis and regulation, immune system function, detoxification, muscle and nerve function, and reproduction. They can help prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies when the diet is not adequate to provide all necessary nutrients. They can also provide amounts of nutrients larger than the diet can provide. Larger amounts of some nutrients may help to protect against future disease. In addition to all essential nutrients, some features to look for in your multiple vitamin formula include higher amounts of highly absorbable mineral forms, and a full range of B vitamins. All these nutrients should be provided in natural forms, which are readily utilized by your body.
2. Antioxidant Formula
Why take antioxidants? Antioxidants are molecules that work to prevent damage that occurs in cells and body tissues due to both normal bodily processes and exposure to some chemicals. The potential medical benefit of antioxidants may reside in their ability to prevent or slow the oxidation of molecules in the microscopic parts of the body, such as DNA or proteins. Antioxidants are essential for slowing the aging process. Antioxidants provide nutritional support for: brain, heart, liver, pancreas, eye, and skin tissue.
Why take probiotics? Probiotic bacteria (friendly bacteria) favorably alter the intestinal microflora balance, inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, promote good digestion, boost immune function, and increase resistance to infection. People with flourishing intestinal colonies of beneficial bacteria are better equipped to fight the growth of disease-causing bacteria. Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria maintain a healthy balance of intestinal flora by producing organic compounds that increase the acidity of the intestine and inhibit the reproduction of many harmful bacteria and yeast infections. Probiotic bacteria also produce substances called bacteriocins, which act as natural antibiotics to kill undesirable microorganisms.
4. Omega-3 fatty acids
Why take Omega-3 fatty acids? Omega-3 fatty acids are needed for the structure and function of every cell in your body. Flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil and cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies are sources of EPA and DHA, important omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory activity; help to maintain healthy supple skin; improve cardiovascular health; support brain and nervous system health; and needed for proper vision. Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances produced within the body that regulate dilation of blood vessels, inflammatory response, and other critical processes. Omega-3 fatty acids are needed for prostaglandin formation. Supplements containing high levels of EPA and DHA are needed by many to compensate for low dietary intake.
Why take a fiber? The average diet is woefully low in fiber. American diets generally provide approximately 10 grams of fiber per day. So-called “primitive societies” consume 40–60 grams per day. Increasing fiber intake to the amounts found in primitive diets may be desirable. Fiber has broad reaching health benefits such as:
-Health of intestinal tract
-Bowel function and regularity
-Healthy cholesterol levels
Dietary supplements, antioxidants, probiotics, Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber help build a good nutritional foundation essential for optimal health.
Using dietary supplements to compensate for what may be lacking in your diet will help your mind and body function at their best so you can enjoy vibrant, optimal health for a lifetime.