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Dietary Supplements - Do We Need Them?

Aug 17, 2007
People who are young and healthy rarely think of taking dietary supplement, but when illness hits or age progresses, with its attendant health problems and lack of energy, the search begins for a dietary supplement that might provide that long sought for holy grail, eternal youth.

No dietary supplement can provide that, but with the assiduous use of vitamins and minerals, we can often achieve optimum health for our age group and certainly ease the symptoms of diseases we may suffer from.

Dietary supplements can be divided into two main types; nutritional, (vitamins and minerals and amino acids) and botanical (herbal types).

But is it really necessary for someone who is young and healthy to take dietary supplements? You may consider that your diet is healthy enough, but vegetables and dairy food can only be as good as the soil in which they are grown and many farmers will agree that their soil is worn out. Why else do they have to add chemical fertilizers at ever increasing rates? If the soil were farmed organically, instead of with an eye to profit all the time, it would be in much better health and so would we.

Another point to consider is the freshness (or otherwise) of the products we buy. Most vegetables are at least a week old by the time they get to our homes. Although many are kept in cool storage, this length of time causes the nutritional value to greatly decrease. Fruit is often picked before ripe and put into cold storage for weeks or months, then when it is needed, hit with a gas to make it ripen quickly. This gas is supposed to be safe in small amounts, but it is carcinogenic....

Some dietary supplement exponents declare lack of magnesium to be a major cause of high blood pressure. People who have found the usual blood pressure medications to cause more discomfort than they cure tried out magnesium supplements and in some cases were able to stop using their prescription medication entirely within two months. Of course, you should never do this without consulting your health care professional.

There are some people who claim that dietary supplements do nothing but give us expensive urine. That may be true if you have a super healthy diet and are therefore less likely to be lacking in vitamins, but health-care professionals are increasingly advising extra supplements for those under stress such as illness, pregnancy, or periods of sudden growth spurts.

If your tongue is inflamed and you suffer from loss of appetite, shortness of breath, are irritable, forgetful and mentally sluggish, you may have a folic acid deficiency. Folic acid is one of the B group of vitamins and most animal and plant foods are poor sources of it. The exception is liver which most people don't eat a lot of these days. Some habits and diseases like celiac disease, alcoholism and irritable bowel syndrome, also play a major part in causing a deficiency of this vitamin, so if you suffer from any of these problems, ask your doctor if you need a supplement.
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