Many people believe that eating a well-balanced diet provides all of the vitamins and minerals necessary for good health. In ideal circumstances, this is the case, but in reality there are many reasons why you may need vitamin supplements to cope with living in today’s environment. These reasons include:
- Crop Nutrient Loses – Many agricultural soils are deficient in trace elements. Decades of intensive agriculture can overwork and deplete soils, unless all of the soil nutrients, including trace elements, are regularly replaced.
- Stress – Chemical physical and emotional stress can increase the body’s requirements for Vitamin B2, B5, B6, and C. Air pollution increases the requirements for Vitamin E
- Poor Digestion – Even when your food intake is good, inefficient digestion can limit your body’s uptake of vitamins. Some common causes of inefficient digestion include not chewing well enough and eating too fast. Both of these actions make it more difficult for complete action of digestive enzymes.
- Hot Drinks – Habitual drinking of liquids that are hot, or consuming an excess of irritants such as coffee, tea or pickles and spices can cause inflammation of the digestive linings, resulting in a drop in secretion of digestive fluids and poorer extraction of vitamins and minerals from food.
- Alcohol – Drinking too much alcohol is known to damage the liver and pancreas, which are vital to digestion and metabolism. It can also damage the lining of the intestinal tract and adversely affect the absorption of nutrients, leading to sub-clinical malnutrition. Regular use of alcohol increases the body’s need for the B-group vitamins, vitamin C, Zinc, Magnesium and Calcium.
- Smoking – Smoking is an irritant to the digestive tract and increases the metabolic requirements of Vitamin C.
- Overcooking – Lengthy cooking or re-heating of meat and vegetables can oxidise and destroy heat susceptible vitamins such as the B-group, C and E.
- Food Storage – Freezing food containing Vitamin E can significantly reduce its levels once defrosted. Many common sources of Vitamin E, such as bread and oils are nowadays highly processed, so that the Vitamin E content is significantly reduced or missing totally, which increases storage life but can lower nutrient levels. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which defensively inhibits oxidative damage to all tissues. Other vitamin losses from food preserving include Vitamin B1 and C.
- Convenience Foods – A diet high in refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, white flour and white rice, places greater demand on additional sources of B-group vitamins to process these carbohydrates.
- Antibiotics – Some antibiotics although valuable in fighting infection, also kill off friendly bacteria in the gut, which would normally be producing B-group vitamins to be absorbed through the intestinal walls.
- Food Allergies – The omission of whole food groups left from the diet, as in the case of individuals allergic to gluten or lactose, can mean the loss of significant dietary sources of nutrients such as Thiamine, Riboflavin and Calcium.
- Supplements are even more important when you are on a weight loss program due to the toxins in fat stores that are released as you burn the fat stores.
Note: Supplements should be taken with or immediately before food as this helps with their absorption.