Oral Nutritional Supplementation
Why do we Need Vitamins and Minerals?
Vitamins and minerals boost the immune system, support normal growth and development and help cells and organs do their job. They perform hundreds of roles in the body.
Your body produces skin, muscle and bone. It churns out rich red blood that carries nutrients and oxygen around the body and it sends nerve signals along thousands of miles of brain and body pathways. It formulates chemical messengers that shuttle from one organ to another, issuing instructions that help sustain life.
To do all this, your body requires some raw materials. These include at least 30 vitamins, minerals and dietary components that your body needs but cannot manufacture on its own in sufficient quantities and therefore sometimes we need the help of additional supplementation.
Vitamins fall into two categories: fat soluble and water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins dissolve in fat and can be stored in the body. Water soluble vitamins need to dissolve in water to be absorbed by the body. Your body cannot store these vitamins, so we need a fresh supply every day, hence the recommended five fruits and vegetables a day. If all the water soluble vitamins are not needed they will be wasted and excreted naturally.
Vitamins and minerals are often called micronutrients, because your body needs only tiny amounts of them. Yet even without those tiny amounts it can have serious consequences on our health. For instance, rickets is a deficiency of Vitamin D. Blindness in some developing countries is often due to Vitamin A deficiency.
What is the Difference Between Vitamins and Minerals?
Vitamins are organic substances, made by plants or animals. Minerals are inorganic elements that come from the soil and water and are absorbed by plants or eaten by animals.
Both vitamins and minerals are available through the diet we eat of fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, however, not always in the quantities we require. We need larger amounts of some minerals, such as calcium for strong bones others, such as iron, are called trace elements because we need only a small amount each day.
Tests to Identify Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
Good quality nutritional supplements are expensive. If you don't know what your specific deficiencies are then you can spend a lot of money on unnecessary vitamins and minerals, which will be wasted. Equally, if you don't know your personal deficiencies you may not be taking the ones you really need.
We recommend specific blood tests to identify any deficiencies before you start taking any supplements. We also recommend that these are repeated 3-4 months after starting the supplements to check the correct amounts are being taken.
Junk food, insufficient food or repetitive diets will inevitably affect the cellular chemistry, long before disease occurs. Nutritional deficiencies are very common today, they are usually the result of a combination of factors including:
- Extensive use of fertilisers and pesticides in farming promotes growth and minimises disease of the plant but leaves most foods bereft of goodness (and taste).
- The increased use of refined carbohydrates (sugar) and natural fibre (phytates) in grains in the diet, especially since the 1960s.
- The presence of many chemicals, added or naturally found in foods, is known to increase the nutritional demands on the human body.
- Weight-reducing diets (in obesity); poor appetite (elderly).
- Various types of allergies and intolerances – affect the immune system.
- Abnormal intestinal fermentation (bacterial or fungal).
- The widespread use of caffeine (acting as a diuretic) and alcohol (which can overload the liver and natural detoxification pathways).
- Long-term use of various medications (painkillers, diuretics and so on).
The daily quantities given on the following pages intentionally exceed the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) as they are meant to correct deficiencies, not to simply sustain health. In recent years, a number of experts have come to view the RDA as an inaccurate reflector of one's true nutritional requirements. (Read more about Vitamins and Minerals)
Contact us if you have further questions or to make an appointment for a consultation.