Supplements have traditionally been used as general “insurance” against certain dietary deficiencies in many people’s diets, such as the use of vitamin C which helps to avoid scurvy. However, in the recent decade, research has uncovered the important and comprehensive benefits associated with using the right dietary supplements.
Do You Really Need Supplements?
In fact, some studies have indicated that the optimal dosage of certain vitamin supplements may actually be higher than most nutritional and health care professionals used to think.
Today, there are plenty of good reasons to use supplements, and one of the most important is to fill in nutritional gaps caused by eating an incomplete or unhealthy diet.
Lots of people of all ages commonly take a multivitamin to provide general total body support since most people really do not receive proper nutrition through their daily diets. While it’s not wise to take vitamins and minerals as a replacement for whole foods, vitamin and mineral supplements can provide a way to fill in nutritional gaps in most people’s diets.
Is the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) Enough?
Even if a person accepts the government’s standards (RDA – Recommended Daily Allowance) and other recommendations that indicate consumption of proper nutrients, studies have shown that most people don’t or can’t even meet those nutritional standards each day.
Research has shown that less than 10% of all Americans actually consume 5 daily servings of vegetables and fresh fruit per day.
This is the basic amount recommended in order to receive the proper nutrients thought necessary to prevent disease and other health problems.
For example, the typical amount of calcium consumed in the U.S. and Canada is thought to be only slightly more than 50% of the recommended level of 1,000 mg for adults 19 to 50 years of age. And the calcium level for those over age 50 is well below 1,200 mg, which is the RDA for both senior women and men.
Many people’s diets consist of only half the RDA of vitamins A,C, and B6, as well as folic acid and magnesium. Zinc and iron are also minerals that studies reveal are commonly low or missing in the American diet.
Good Dietary Planning May Not Be Enough for Good Health
It can be very difficult to receive the right vitamins and minerals for the body even for those who take the time and effort to attempt to properly plan a diet each day that meets the RDA’s guidelines for healthy nutrition. Vegetarians, for example, tend to be healthier than their meat-eater counterparts because they avoid foods that are low in vitamins and minerals such as junk and fast foods.
However, they still can be lacking in certain nutrients such as vitamin B12, calcium and iron that is usually found in meats. People who want to eat a low-fat diet for heath reasons also have problems consuming the recommended amount of vitamin E from foods only, since vitamin E is often found in high fat content foods.
Another problem that eating natural foods may not resolve is that many food sources today often do not contain important nutrients like alpha-lipoic acid, fish oil, and soy isoflavones that many researchers believe can promote a healthier body. People who are basically healthy but can’t eat a proper diet every day, can benefit from adding vitamin supplements to their diets. The right supplement can fill in the gaps in the daily diet to provide optimum nutritional support.
Supplements Can Provide Protection Against Common Toxic Exposures in the Environment
Other reasons that vitamins, minerals, herbs and other substances may be needed, even when a person may generally eat a healthy diet, includes common exposures to environmental toxins such as pollution from cars, poor indoor air quality, manufacturing materials, pesticides and more. Every day, people are exposed to free radicals which can cause cell damage, sap the body of nutrients and damage body tissue.
Specific supplements such as antioxidants have been shown to help protect the body at the cellular level from as much damage from free radicals. Smoking, drinking alcohol, undergoing excessive stress and using certain medication can also contribute to a lack of proper absorption of important vitamins and minerals found in food sources.
It’s almost impossible to provide the optimum level of nutrients for the body, even with a very healthy diet. That’s why it’s important to use the right supplements to fill the nutritional gaps left in most people’s diet in order to enjoy the best health possible.