We often get asked - why do people need dietary supplements? Can’t we just get all the nutrients we need from our diet?
In an ideal world the answer is yes - we would get everything we need to keep us functioning optimally from nature and our diet. However, due to our modern lifestyles this is becoming increasingly difficult. This article will explain why supplementation is a beneficial part of your health optimisation routine.
Our food doesn’t have the same nutritional density it once did
You may be thinking that if you have a good, varied diet filled with colourful fruits and vegetables that you will be getting every mineral, vitamin and essential nutrient, however, this may not be true. Modern agricultural practices mean the amount of vitamins and minerals in foods are lower than they used to be, making it increasingly difficult to obtain all essential nutrients from food alone.
For the majority of the population, their diet may also be lacking adequate nutrients due to increased consumption of ultra-processed foods. A recent study showed that in the UK and the US around 60% of the average adult diet is composed of ultra-processed foods. Another study found that the average adult in the UK fails to hit the target for 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day and were lacking sufficient levels of magnesium, vitamin A and zinc.
We can struggle to absorb the nutrients in our food
Not only is our diet becoming less nutritious, but our modern lifestyles also mean that our bodies struggle to absorb the nutrients from our food. Increased consumption of medications such as antibiotics and other factors mean more people are struggling with gut issues. This impairs the ability of our body to absorb and digest the nutrients in the food we eat.
When we eat food, it is broken down by the digestive system, the complex food molecules that remain after this are then digested by microbes in the gut. This is very important because during this process the gut produces key nutrients and molecules that are involved in a variety of important bodily systems such as nutrient absorption, immune function, skin health and brain function. Research has also shown that gut issues are linked to a variety of health problems across the body.
Our gut microbiome contains many different types of microbes, and the composition of the microbiome is determined by environmental and lifestyle factors such as fibre intake, consumption of polyphenols, fermented foods, medication usage and stress levels. This also impacts supplementation, which is why it is important to ensure supplements are bioavailable and will get into your cells to exert their beneficial effects.
Many of us have nutritional deficiencies
The changes in diet and nutritional density of foods ultimately means many people are deficient in several vitamins, minerals and other compounds that are essential for optimal cellular health. In these scenarios supplementation can become an important tool.
A recent study showed that at least 1/3 of people in the UK have a vitamin D deficiency. During winter when daylight is reduced, and on days when it’s cloudy, getting enough sunshine and vitamin D can be even more challenging. Supplementation has been shown to restore Vitamin D levels and prevent deficiency.
NAD+ is another molecule that declines with age, by around 50% every 20 years and this decline can be accelerated by lifestyle habits. As a result, the majority of the population have an NAD+ deficiency and changes to diet alone may not be enough to restore levels. While you can increase consumption of vitamin B3 (the raw material used to make NAD+), NAD+ declines due to the inability of the cell to convert these vitamin B3 compounds into NAD+. Lifestyle habits such as exercise, fasting and getting adequate sleep can boost your NAD+ levels naturally. However, our hectic schedules often meaning these habits may not be possible. This is where an NAD+ boosting supplement such as Nuchido TIME+ can be a great addition.
It is important to note that while supplements can be a valuable tool, not all supplements are created equally. With so many available it can be hard to tell which will actually support your cellular health and which are a waste of your money.
Our top tips when choosing a supplement include:
- Fix the root cause of the problem – address why the deficiency is occurring in the first place
- Choose products that have been tested in human clinical trials
- Ensure the product is bioavailable, meaning it can get into your cells and exert the positive benefits
For more detail read our blog post ‘how to choose a supplement that works’.
Overall, lifestyle factors will always be the foundation for optimal health, however with our modern lifestyles it can be difficult to obtain all the nutrients, minerals and vitamins our bodies need. In this scenario supplementation becomes an important tool, therefore it is important to choose supplements based on your requirements and those which have data to support their efficacy.