In the modern world there are supplements that can assist individuals with just about anything: helping you to lose weight, increase energy, become healthier, build muscle etc – but which supplements can just about anyone benefit from? Take a look below for some suggestions.
A vitamin is an organic compound that cannot be produced by the body and needs to be sourced externally, usually from food. Until dietary supplments came on to the market in the early 20th Century, people had to get nutrition entirely from their diets – mostly from fruit and vegetables.
A lack of vitamins can cause health conditions and diseases, such as Scurvy resulting from a lack of Vitamin C, or Dermatitis if lacking in Vitamin B7.
Much debate goes on as to whether supplementing with vitamins and minerals has any positive health effects. Advice is confusing and sometimes even contradicting, however despite this the majority of health professionals recommend supplementing if felt necessary by the individual.
The majority of the public do not get enough fruits and vegetables into their diets, being the best source of vitamins and minerals, which is why many thousands regularly take a vitamin supplement, and are now common and relatively inexpensive. Today, the market for vitamins is now a multi-billion dollar industry.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s)
Essential fatty acids are a group of macronutrients that play an important role in healthy body funtion, much like other (non essential) fats such as saturated fats.
Many types of fat are abundant in typical Western diets, and so supplementation is not necessary. Omega 3 and 6 EFAs, however, are much less common in a typical diet which is why many choose to supplement their intake. Getting an optimal ratio of Omema’s 3 and 6 in the diet has a host of health giving benefits, including improved heart funtion, increasing brain funtion and even reducing the risk of some cancers.
The fatty acids that make up this Omega 3 and 6 group can be found in different foods, such as sunflower oil, animal fats and oily fish. For many individuals diets, Omega 3 is often in short supply, falling well below the recommend amount making Omega 3 supplemtation partiularly popular.
For those who supplement their EFA intake with whole foods, oily fish is a popular choice as it can be easily included as part of a meal, is high protein and filling. Mackerel and Salmon are rich in Omega 3. For vegetarians or those who don’t like fish, Flaxseed oil is another Omega 3 rich source. Flaxseed oil can be taken on it’s own or mixed into other food, such as a salad.
Cod liver oil has been a staple supplement of many for years, however does not contain a great deal of fatty acids.
High EFA oil blends are available which contain essential fatty acids. Alternatively, capsules can be found that are a great choice for those who find the taste of oil blends hard to stomach.
You may be wondering why the general public at large would feel the need to supplement their protein intake, but protein does has a recommended daily intake (RDA). For adult males it is 55.5grams, and for adult females 45.5grams. In modern Western diets this is not a hard figure to achieve and the vast majority will consume more protein than this on a daily basis.
Whey protein may be useful for another reason. Protein is the most filling macro nutrient available, more so than fat and carbohydrates. This means that increasing protein intake for dieters may reduce hunger and cravings. Protein is abundant in many food sources, but for convenience it is hard to beat a good protein shake, plus for those with a sweet tooth a sweet flavoured shake may satisfy cravings without the associated calories of other sugary snacks.