Why do we need nutritional supplements?
In the article "Make Sure You're Using Unleaded" we discussed the kind of fuel our bodies need. Specifically we talked about the fact that our bodies need vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and essential fatty acids, and that if a food does not contain these things, even if it is edible, it is not really a food. We learned that only fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, eggs, meat and unpasteurized dairy products contain the nutrients we need.
However, according to a 1988 Department of Agriculture report, our food supply is dangerously low in nutrients. Because of farming practices which concentrate on growing the same food item on the same land year after year, the soil has become depleted of nutrients, and therefore the food grown on that land is also nutrient-deficient. This situation was of some concern to the Department of Agriculture, and it should be of some concern to consumers as well. Why? Because even if we do consume the healthiest possible diet, we will still not be able to meet our bodies' nutritional needs with food alone, because that food does not contain the vitamins and minerals it was originally designed to contain.
That's why food is not enough to keep us healthy. If our food supply was at it's optimum level, and if we didn't spend our time eating a lot of non-food items, then perhaps we could hope for optimum health. The only thing we can do is supply our bodies with the nutrients which are missing from our food supply. Also, some people think that if we follow the Recommended Daily Allowance that we will have optimum health. The RDA was constructed after World War II, and based on the minimal requirements for prevention of severe deficiency disease, rather than on the requirements for optimum health or deficiency correction. The RDA will not correct your vitamin deficiencies because it only contains enough nutrients for you to barely survive. It's like making the minimum payment on your credit card. It just barely moves you along toward getting out of debt....but if you have an emergency and have to use the card again, you're back where you started quickly. If you are only getting the RDA, and you have a lot of stress or get sick, you are back in the hole again. You need much larger amounts of nutrients for optimum health. If you were to try and get all these nutrients from food alone, you would be eating all day. We must also consider that we live in very stressful times. Our jobs, our relationships, the time pressures we are under, the fact that we often don't get enough sleep, all conspire to make our nutritional needs more significant.
Don't just go to Wal-mart or to your local pharmacy and buy a vitamin. Stores like this only carry the cheapest, low quality supplements that are not beneficial at all. And your pharmacy only carries synthetically manufactured supplements. These are NOT what you need to correct your nutritional deficiencies. See How to Choose a Good Nutritional Supplement.
Vitamin A: You Could Be Deficient
B-Complex Vitamins: What You Should Know For Optimum Health
Vitamin B1: Thiamine - The Morale Vitamin
Vitamin B2: Riboflavin
Vitamin B3: Niacin - Mental Clarity and Tranquility
Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine: Supporting All Basic Body Functions
Vitamin B9 Folic Acid: Cell Reproduction Supervisor
Vitamin B12: Preventor of Mental Illness & Coronary Artery Disease
Vitamin B15 Panagamic Acid: Cell Respiration and Oxidation
Biotin: For Great Hair and Nails
Choline: For Healthy Liver and Brain Function
Inositol: A Calming Sedative
PABA: The Vitamin Enabler
Vitamin P Bioflavonoids: From Cancer to the Common Cold
Vitamin C: The Universal Helper
Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin E: Oxygenation, not Oxidation
Vitamin K1: Not Just For Blood Clotting
Vitamin K2: Bone Density and Hardening of the Arteries
5HTP's role as a Nutritional Supplement