Nutritional supplements nowadays are almost indispensable in our lives. Whether tablets, capsules, pills or dragees – on the outside they are hardly distinguishable from real medications. And also in terms of their ingredients, they are sometimes hardly distinguishable from real drugs. But what exactly is the difference between supplements and medicines?
From a legal point of view, supplements belong to the foods. But they do not look like food and come in correct dosed form. Dietary supplements are not medicines. They are used to treat deficiencies in the short term and supplement the daily nutrition, if necessary.
Are dietary supplements necessary at all?
It depends. For prevention, without having to determine the appropriate blood values beforehand, rather not. In that case, you can do more harm than to derive benefit from it. Because the vitamin and mineral balance of the human body is a very complex and a system, which only works well if the relation is balanced to each other.
If, for example, zinc is added by supplementation, the copper level will decrease in the long run. You think you are doing something good, and in the end, the opposite is happening, because a copper deficiency is serious and causes very unpleasant symptoms. For this reason, dietary supplements should not be underestimated and should only be taken after appropriate diagnostics.
Healthy people who eat consciously and in a balanced way, usually do not need supplements. But if there are specific deficiencies of vitamins or minerals, then a corresponding substitution is indicated. As a good example would be the disorder, called HPU / KPU. In this disease, the body excretes high levels of vitamin B6, manganese and zinc. In such a case, the artificial addition is not only useful but mandatory.
But people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis often suffer from strong nutrient deficiencies without knowing it at all, as a whole blood mineral analysis is not paid by the statutory health insurance and so this is not instructed by the attending physician. Most Hashimoto patients lack iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin D3, vitamin B6 and B12. These deficiencies are often responsible for a variety of symptoms, but are often mistakenly attributed to insufficient thyroid replacement with thyroid hormones. For this reason, an analysis of minerals, vitamins and trace elements in my opinion is indispensable.
Especially an unbalanced diet, which may also be sugar-rich, and ingestion disorders of the intestine (malabsorption), the dietary supplement may represent a useful solution. However, the causes of the deficiency should be found and treated as quickly as possible.
Fruits and vegetables have long ceased to be what they used to be
One of the main causes of vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, is the inferior quality of our food today. Apart from the sugar, wheat and gluten battles of the food manufacturers, which sooner or later make every gut ill, and thus inevitably leads to malabsorption, it is the meanwhile very low nutrient concentration in fruits and vegetables that leads to a lack of nutrients.
Recent studies clearly show that our fruits and vegetables are no longer as rich in vitamins and nutrients, as we are always taught. The vital substance content has changed extremely downwards in the last 50 years. In comparison, the vitamin A content in apples is only 60% and the vitamin C content 40%. The vitamin C content in paprika is only 70%. The calcium content in potatoes is a frightening 30%. Sad leader of this scare list is the vitamin B6 content in bananas, that is now at a ridiculous 5%.
Reasons for the low nutrient density
Fruits and vegetables are usually harvested immature today, at least optically ripened on the long transport routes by UV irradiation or other aids. This has the consequence that the nutrient formation is stopped at the time of harvesting. Due to the irradiation, long storage and transport times, the already low nutrient content continues to fall off. What’s left, unfortunately, does not really have much to do with the fruit and vegetables that we know from the past.
But pesticides and fertilizers also contribute to the fact that today’s fruits and vegetables are not as healthy as they should be. Soils can no longer recover adequately as farmers are under constant pressure to produce non-stop. The fields are now permanently planted and thus lose many nutrients that can no longer arrive in the plant and provide for low-quality food.
Why do I take supplements?
‘Due to the already so low nutrient density in our fruits and vegetables’ should actually be enough to answer this question. But because of my bowel problem, I already can absorb nutrients very bad and therefore have some deficits. Unfortunately, when vitamins and minerals are no longer properly absorbed through food, there is hardly a way without dietary supplements or infusions.
In addition, there is the HPU / KPU. Unfortunately, vitamin B6, zinc and manganese have been mandatory since diagnosis. For example, I have not realized for a long time that my white patches under the fingernails are indicative of a zinc deficiency and not a lack of calcium, as it is often falsely conveyed. I have only completely eliminated these spots after about 6 months of constant zinc intake.
Due to my leaky gut it is also essential to take supplements. Particularly noteworthy here would be the L-glutamine and butyrates. Both play a very important role in the development of a healthy intestinal mucosa and would not be available with nutrition alone, to the required extent, which is why I have to help with supplements here.
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- Hashimoto and Vitamin C: The strong free radical scavenger from natural or artificial source: © Christian Jung - Fotolia.com
- zinc: © denira - Fotolia.com
- vitamin-b6: © Brent Hofacker - Fotolia.com
- hashimoto-supplements: © Pat Hastings - Fotolia.com