According to the FDAís guidelines, supplements of vitamins, minerals, or fiber are mandatory to meet special nutritional needs, for example in older people, women of childbearing age, young children, people with various illnesses and medical conditions Ė in fact everyone except young male and female adults who are in excellent health, and who eat a varied and adequate diet that includes all the food groups in the right proportions.
Eating a variety of foods in all of the food groups is essential to your overall health.
For many reasons, though, itís nearly impossible for most of us to derive (consume and absorb) all the nutrients needed for optimal health from diet alone.
According to Dr Ray D. Strand, countless studies prove that a triad of healthy diet, good exercise program and a high quality nutrition supplement is the best way to protect health. It is also the best way to try to regain health from a disease state.
As part of preventive care, one should take a good quality nutritional supplement (containing antioxidants and micronutrients in amounts which are bound to promote good physical and mental health and protection from disease).
There are multiple reasons for nutritional poverty of the modern diet. These include:
1. Biochemical individuality
As each one of us is metabolically and biochemically unique, the micronutrient requirements for every person are quite different from those of another.
Deficiencies could easily set in due to improper nutrient absorption.
Aging brings with it an increase in the oxidative stress and reduced nutrient absorption, so the requirement for antioxidants and certain B vitamins like B12 automatically increase.
Excessive physical activity, prescription drugs, smoking, alcohol, unhealthy food intake, contaminated soil, consuming too much processed foods, cooking, storage and sedentary habits impact micronutrient demands. Vegetarians are more probable to fall short of vitamin B12 Ė a heart protective vitamin. Most of the population around the world is deficient in vitamin D, magnesium and calcium due to inadequate dietary intake and exposure to sun. People are highly deficient in antioxidant although we need it more because of increasing stress and bodily demands. Such micronutrient, antioxidant deficiencies do not show major symptoms and largely go undetected. But over a period of time these deficiencies could lead to mental impairment and degenerative conditions.
5. Quality of food
In an ideal world we wouldnít need any supplements. But the world is far from ideal now. One of the major causes of bad food quality is the contaminated and highly nutrient-depleted soil.
► Five major minerals (calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphorous and potassium) and at least sixteen trace minerals are essential for optimal health. Plants cannot create minerals and have to absorb them from the soil. And today, soils have almost exhausted their mineral stores and so the plants donít have them either.
► Organic fertilizers which contain these minerals are expensive and difficult to procure. So the farmers have no choice but to use fertilizers that are usually deficient in necessary minerals.
► The nutrient content of hybrid produce is lesser compared with naturally grown crops.
► Storage and transportation, early picking of fruits and vegetables, cold storage, preservation methods, processing, overcooking, freezing, refrigeration of food are all collective reasons for the loss in nutrients.
► Fish is contaminated heavily with methyl mercury and many a times it is unsafe for consumption.
► The groundwater is contaminated with heavy metals and poisonous chemicals from which the plants draw sustenance.
► The air is full of pollutants that seep into the water, then to the earth and absorbed by the plants that ultimately reach us and cause disease.