In a perfect world, there is no such thing as a pharmacy. Controversial, I know. But in this perfect world, nobody would ever be sick and I would be out of a job. But even in this non-perfect world in which we live, supplements don’t need to exist. Theoretically, it is possible to get every necessary mineral and vitamin through the foods you eat. The kicker lies in the word theoretically. Communism sounds quite good theoretically, but it just never works out well in practice. For you to get your necessary minerals, you would need to have the most meticulous meal preparation in history. So in this way, vitamin and mineral supplements become a really helpful crutch. Today, I am going to track through a few options which you might want to consider supplementing.
Iron is a pretty important part of your blood. It forms haemoglobin, the protein that helps carry oxygen rich blood to your major organs. If you don’t have enough in your system, you might find that you are fatigued more easily because your major organs are lacking energy. The people most at risk of iron deficiency: Women lose iron during menstruation and children require more than usual as they are in the process of growing. If you are a vegetarian, it is much more difficult to get iron into your diet. A product like ferrograd C is an effective supplement if you are more at risk. You might want to consult a doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- A lasting sense of fatigue
- Skin that is more pale than usual
- Pain in your chest
- Short of breath
- Lightheadedness, headaches or feeling dizzy
- A sore tongue
- A craving for unusual items such as ice or starch
- Lack of appetite
Iron supplements are particularly effective because it gets into your system far quicker than attempting to get it via your food. Taking an iron supplement that is paired with vitamin c like Ferrograd C makes it more quickly absorbed. Ferrograd C is Australia’s most widely used brand so you can be sure you are only taking the best. It is important to remember that these are called supplements not replacements. You should still attempt to get as much iron from your diet as possible. In that vein, try to integrate more red and white meat, seafood, beans, dark leafy greens into your diet
This is a bit of a scattergun approach to balancing your diet. Only 13% of people are hitting their daily fruit intake and only 9% meet their vegetable intake. There isn’t really a stock standard but they will generally include some variety of:
- vitamin A: supports your immune system, vision and skin
- vitamin C: Good for your bones, skin, blood vessels and immune system
- vitamin D: Supports immune system, bone and muscle growth, and reduces your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and (funnily enough) depression.
- vitamin E: Supports vision, your reproductive system, your blood, brain and skin
- vitamin K: This produces the proteins that cause your blood to clot (quite a useful process if you start to bleed and would like to stop). It also helps build bones.
Multivitamins will also include a variety of minerals, such as:
- Calcium: Associated with the growth of bones and teeth, but it also helps your blood to clot, muscles to contract, your heart to beat normally and your nerves to function properly. Not one to skimp on!
- Iodine: constructs hormones which control your metabolism which inevitably influences your weight management.
- Iron: You’re already an expert on iron.
- Magnesium: Regulates nerve and muscle function, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It also contributes to the construction of protein, DNA and bones.
- Zinc: Creates DNA, grows cells, builds proteins, heals tissue that is damaged and supports your immune system.
This is rich in omega-3 acids; eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. The real benefit lies in what it does for your heart. The acids work to increase good cholesterol, lower blood fats, and cause a decrease in your blood pressure. They also remove the plaque from the insides of your arteries, keeping them soft and malleable. It has been categorically proved that fish oil lowers the risk of heart attack and heart disease. There are more tentative links which are yet to be officially quantified. It may help boost your bone density which becomes wildly important the older you get. It may also support your vision, staving off macular degeneration. One study has even shown improved cognitive performance for people aged between 51 and 72 compared to a placebo. It is shaping up to be a magic bullet to combat the effects of ageing. But before you start necking these tablets like m&ms, be warned. It has a blood thinning effect and if you go too hard, you increase your risk of bleeding.
You are probably pretty familiar with antibiotics. These are the medicines you take when you need to nuke your body of a virus or bacteria. But they can leave you lacking in certain good bacterias which are essential to your gut health as well. So probiotics are a supplement which can help you eliminate the bad bacteria and return to a state of balance. This good bacteria helps your body to digest all of the food you’ve eaten so that you become nourished. They also help to break down and absorb various medications in your system. It also help fight off:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Urinary tract infections
- Gum disease
Aside from a supplement, there are a number of foods rich in probiotics: yoghurt, kombucha, pickled foods and sourdough bread.
So there you have it. I would always encourage you to consult your doctor to make sure that you are supplementing the right things for your particular circumstances. Marketing can do a wonderful job to make you think you need everything under the sun. Don’t buy into it. But at the same time, don’t be so cynical that you avoid it altogether.