Although we have been using food supplements for more than 6,000 years now, the modern supplement world is divided. Are nutritional supplements a necessity or are you only throwing your money through the window with them? As always the answer is not easy and instead of just answering with yes or no, I will rather give you some arguments to better understand the situation. Briefly:
- Nutritional supplements are misunderstood.
- Not every supplement is equally effective for everyone.
- The quality of the nutritional supplements plays an important role.
- Food is becoming increasingly depleted in nutrients and nutrient requirements are rising.
- The current state of health of the population definitely supports the theory of nutrient deficiency.
Despite their traditional use, food supplements are still a controversial topic. Some won’t even look at them and others are swallowing them like candy.
So it is appropriate to ask the question whether nutritional supplements are necessary or they only produce “very expensive” urine?
As with all controversial topics, the answer is “it depends”.
Traditional use of dietary supplements
Most think that food supplements are an invention of the modern age, that they started with bodybuilding and protein powders. Some even mistaken them for steroids, although they do not have anything in common with them.
Initially, dietary supplements actually go back to the beginning of the civilized men. The earliest records of herbal preparations and animal glands are written on more than 6,000 years old clay tablets of Sumerians. They have been using poppy, thyme and sweet root. Then the use of healing preparations has expanded widely in China 3,000 years ago.
Modern age of dietary supplements
Of course, the modern era is something completely different. At the moment, there are over 50,000 food supplements on the market, and some 1,000 new ones are added each year. In such a mass, surely chaos must reign, and then it is no wonder that the opinions are so divided.
It all depends …
The effect of the nutritional supplement depends on the quality and the individual’s need for it.
If you have a car full of fuel, any extra will just spill over and you will not have any benefit from it. In this case, this is a complete waste of money. But if your tank is empty and you want to take a ride, you will need to refill it so you will not get stuck. If you pour in low-quality fuel you will make fewer kilometers and if you accidentally get some water in the fuel it can even damage the engine.
Let’s take magnesium for an example, because it is very simple. It is a mineral that affects over 400 metabolic reactions in the body and people with a deficiency have, among other things, problems with cramping and sleep. The addition of high-quality magnesium for such a person is nothing less than a “miracle”. On the other hand, if this person takes a low quality form of magnesium, say magnesium oxide, it can cause diarrhea. Diarrhea will flush even more minerals that out of the body and symptoms will even worsen.
Of course, someone who has cramps due to lack of potassium can drink all the magnesium in the world and it will do nothing from him.
This way, you get two totally different opinions about one supplement and they are both right. You have to have the context to understand it. Such stories are spreading rapidly and the topic becomes completely controversial with the ardent advocates for and against.
Are food supplements today necessary?
The health status of the population and the quality of food production are far from ideal. Medicine is working on drugs to alleviate the health problems, but “lack of aspirin is not the cause of headaches”. It is more likely that poor wellbeing, low level of energy and chronic illness are the result of a lifestyle, rather than a lack of medication.
In foods there is less and less essential nutrients
We consume highly processed foods, robbed of nutrients due to production processes. Even those who choose unprocessed foods the possibility of a shortage is high. The soil is increasingly lacking nutrients, and consequently the plants that grow on it contain less vitamins and minerals, which is then transmitted over the whole food chain. And we didn’t even mention farming without land, collecting unripe fruits and transport across the continents.
Our bodies need more nutrients than ever
Every metabolic reaction in the body needs energy-giving micro-nutrients and vitamin and mineral cofactors. While we have more macro nutrients than ever before, it is just the opposite of micro-nutrients. We need more of them, but there are less in our food. The need is upped due to daily detoxification of toxic substances from the environment, stress, lack of sleep and lack of rest.
How food supplements can help
Evaluate your diet and evaluate your nutritional needs. If you are in excellent health, at the peak of your strength, motivated and happy, it may not really make sense to take dietary supplements. Of course, you can try to keep this as long as possible.
However, if you are confronted with health and well-being challenges, it may be time to weigh your diet and lifestyle, and consider what you might be lacking and simply try. If you don’t know what to get, ask for an expert advice. In this way, you will most likely avoid “expensive urine”.
Are they urgent or not? Decide yourself …
Next time I’ll give you a list of 5 nutrients most often lacking in food and how to eliminate them.