MICRO NUTRITION Part 2:
Recently we discussed the importance of good nutrition, with particular respect to the vitally important, under-rated micronutrients. The article also detailed the suggested cause of today’s’ growing prevalence of nutrient-deficient diseases stemming from the mal-nutritious soils from which our fresh produce is grown. This leads us to the discussion of the growing need for supplementation and the substantial difference between poor and high quality supplements.
In continuation of last issues emphasis on micronutrients, namely Vitamins, Minerals, and the vastly numerous Phytochemicals (plant nutrients), we see much deficiency in this area of the modern day diet in even the most “balanced” eaters. This, together with an increase in the number of people becoming health conscious in their fast-paced lives, is seeing our population resorting more and more to natural remedies through dietary supplementation. As a result, western countries are now consuming more natural supplements than ever before.
So why do we still see the excessive prevalence of many diet-related diseases in these times of dietary supplementation? In vindication of this statement are some statistics below from the Australian Heart Foundation.
- More than 2/3 cases of cancers could be prevented by lifestyle changes – ceasing smoking, adopting a good diet and participating in exercise.
- Diets account for about 35% of all cancers.
- Nearly 80 000 new cases of cancer diagnosed each year, which equates to an average risk of 1 in 3 men and 1 in 4 women being directly affected by cancer.
- Osteoporosis affects 1 in 2 women and 1 in 3 men over the age of 60.
- By 2010, 1 in 3 hospital beds will be occupied by elderly women with fractures.
- In Australia, about 50% of women and 30% of men over 60 will have a fracture due to Osteoporosis in their remaining lifetime.
- It has been estimated that increased longevity will cause the prevalence of hip fractures to jump from 1.7 million worldwide in 1990 to 6.3 million by 2050.
- In 1995, 2.6 million or 14.6% of the total Australian population had Arthritis.
- By 2001, this figure had risen to 2.97 million or 15.4%
- With our rapidly ageing population, by 2021 the number of people in Australia with some type of Arthritis will be 4.2 million or 18.6%
- Every year thousands of Australians die as a result of type II diabetes (lifestyle diabetes). Many thousands more suffer hearing and kidney problems, stroke or lose a limb or their vision because of diabetes.
- Diabetes affects more than 430,000 Australians.
- Estimates suggest a further 350,000 are affected but are unaware of their condition
These are Australian Health Statistics from the Australian Heart Foundation.
So, if our healthiest of diets don’t provide us with the nutrients we need, and our popular supplementation hasn’t helped significantly enough, then what sort of supplementation do we need? And does the type of supplement even have a major effect on health?
Well, as with any concept, it is the groundwork, or base foundation, from which all else is built that holds the greatest importance and influence on all other functions. Namely, the health of each cell. Just as the unseen concrete foundation of a building is vital to the strength of the overall structure, likewise, the base foundation of a well-functioning body is the critical underpinning that is needed for all other physiological reactions to effectively take place at optimum levels.
For a nutrient to be properly assimilated by the body for use at a cellular level in must go through a series of events. Firstly, the nutrient must be ingested though food or supplement intake. It then needs to be broken down, or digested (depending on its form), in the stomach and intestines so that it can be absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestinal walls. Once in the bloodstream the nutrient must then be absorbed again into the demanding cell through both the wall of the blood vessel and cell membrane.
There are actually many references to supplements in pill form not even reaching the first level of absorption – that is, they get flushed down the toilet with the entire pill covering still intact.
The quality of the supplements you take is absolutely paramount to its effectiveness. Not all supplements are the same and the most common, synthetically produced metallic-form supplements are the poorest quality. Don’t just believe the marketing hype!
Make sure the supplements you take or intend on taking are of the quality your body deserves!