Do I really need supplements?

Do I really need supplements?

Are you confused about what supplements you need to take? Or are you unsure if you actually need to take them at all?

The idea of nutritional supplements can be baffling. Step into the health food isle of the supermarket or be greeted with an entire wall filled with supplements at the pharmacy – the choice, the brands, the health claims – how do you choose and why take supplements at all?
According to Australia’s Food & Nutrition report (2012), 91% of Australian’s (aged over 16years) are not consuming the recommended 5 servings of vegetables a day and approximately half (50%) are not meeting the recommended dietary intake of fruit (2 pieces a day). That’s a pretty astounding dietary inadequacy!
Common factors to consider that can impact our nutritional status include:

  • Decreased food intake, for example being time poor and skipping meals.
  • Illness reducing food intake or creating malabsorption issues in the gut or recent surgery.
  • Poor quality food such as takeaway and processed foods that are high in trans fats, sugar and salt displacing fresh nutrient dense foods.
  • Diet preferences such as being vegetarian or vegan increasing deficiency risk of vitamin B and iron.
  • Consumption of coffee, alcohol and smoking.
  • Some medications such as corticosteroids, antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors, common over the counter pharmaceuticals such as aspirin and ibuprofen increasing nutritional demands and affecting absorption.
  • An increase in nutritional needs such as a growth spurt in youth, pregnancy or being very physically active are times that require special dietary considerations.
  • Stress, environmental pollution, heavy metals, fruit and vegetables grown in poor quality soil lacking essential minerals such as selenium.

Has anyone not ticked one of these boxes yet?
As you may now see, nutritional status can be altered by many things that can come into play in our lives daily that we may not even consider as they have become part of the fabric of our lifestyles.
Maintaining a balanced diet based around whole foods is ideal, but not always possible, therefore, there are many reasons why supplementation may be important for your health. Trying to determine your supplement needs can be very confusing so seeking guidance from a health professional is worthwhile. Remember…nutrition is a major modifiable determinant of chronic disease (or health!) so making healthy choices can really make a difference to your health status in the long run.
If you want to get clear on what supplements you may need, specific to you individual requirements, phone reception on (08) 9339 1999 for a free 5 minute phone consultation.
Reference: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2012. Australia’s food & nutrition 2012. Cat. no. PHE 163. Canberra: AIHW.

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