Health Nut Wannabe School: Part 2 ~ Whole Food Supplements
Posted Sep 09 2008 2:06am
In our last class we talked about synthetic supplements and how they are often either unused by the body or, in some cases, harmful. Of course that does not mean that all the non-whole-food multis on the store shelves are useless, there are certainly benefits to removing certain types of nutrients from their original sources. Fish oil, for example. Who would want to open a bottle of Omega 3's only to find a bunch of little cod livers rattling around? Not me!
So, for those of us who want to be sure we are getting all the benefits of our supplements, it's worth a few minutes to understand what a whole food multi really is. Here's Part 2 of the story.
A supplement whose ingredients are real foods minus the water and fiber. That means primarily vegetables, fruits, herbs or spices, not isolated vitamins or minerals.
A whole-food multi is for people who believe nutrition matters… That our busy lives, chronic stress, lack of exercise, depleted soil, and polluted environments require more nutrition than we get in the food we eat… And that multivitamins are largely useless and even risky. People who believe nutrition matters take whole-food multis as an insurance formula against possible deficiency.
A whole-food supplement is made by taking a nutrient-rich plant like broccoli, removing the water and fiber, making it a powder, then encapsulating it or pressing it into tablets. All the nutrients in the plant remain intact, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and other nutrients, many of which are still unknown to research.
Whole food multis do not list amounts of vitamins or minerals because the value of the ingredients is not in amounts. It's in the synergy or interaction among the hundreds of nutrients contained in the ingredients, all working together.
Functional medicine research is showing that very small amounts of a wide array of natural nutrients is usually more beneficial than large amounts of isolated nutrients. The body uses them more easily. Further, there is a cooperation between certain vitamins and minerals, promoting absorption. Correcting a deficiency in one vitamin/mineral requires the addition of others, not simply replacement of the deficient one.
Some nutrients are often included in a wholefood multi to amp up the effectiveness of the whole food blend. These can be absorbed because they are packed in with the whole foods. For example, alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant that amps up the effect of the hundreds of antioxidants found in the veggies and fruits in Pop-A-Green and Pop-A-Purple.
A whole food multi is "a dose of good nutrition in a capsule," says Dr. Mary Schaffer, a Mill Valley, California, chiropractor, about Pop-A-Purple and Pop-A-Green, which she recommends to her patients and takes herself.
So there we have it. We have options and it helps to know more about them when we are ready to make some changes in our lives.
Health Nut Wannabeis on the lookout for easy ways to eat the right things, and trying to figure out what the right things are.
I try to find easy ways to eat the right things.