By Eoin Roe, Chiropractic
This is a subject that I have been giving a lot of thought to lately, as I am continuing to find many patients lacking in nutrition and this is affecting their health. My original position was that as long as we had a healthy balanced diet all the nutrition we required would be contained in that food. So what has changed?
Well one of the big things is the significant decline in nutrient values of fruit and vegetables since the 1930s, in some cases up to 40 per cent less (Davis D., 2005). The other is the change in the western diet to exclude good fats from the diet and the increase in processed carbohydrate foods and sugars.
Whether we like it or not your granny was right – ‘eat your veg’ was good advice – it is where we get most of the minerals and nutrition that helps our bodies to function properly for example calcium, magnesium, iodine, iron, vitamin B, vitamin C and fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
So if you don’t eat vegetables or good fats, you are going to struggle to get the correct nutrition that you need. Even if you are eating a well-balanced diet you may not be able to get enough of certain nutrients, because the nutrient value of todays food is not as good as it should be.
So back to my original question, should we be taking supplements? And it would have to be a yes, when we need them. But which ones?
The two supplements that research has shown to be beneficial are Omega 3 and Vitamin D3. Omega 3 can help with cognitive function and help to slow cognitive decline, it is an anti-inflammatory and is good for cardiovascular health. Vitamin D3 is normally acquired by exposure to sunlight, you do get small amounts in your food but you will never be able to get enough from food sources alone. Vitamin D is important in maintaining bone health and Vitamin D deficiency is associated with numerous chronic diseases including autoimmune conditions, cardiovascular disease and dementia.
Everyone would benefit from taking an omega 3 and vitamin D3 supplement. These are readily available from all chemists and heath food stores, who will be able to guide you to a good source of these essential nutrients. By following the manufacturers guidelines these are perfectly safe to take and if you are allergic to fish or are vegan you can get a suitable form of Omega 3 made from algae.
Omega 3 and Vitamin D3 are not the whole story, there are many other essential minerals and vitamins we need such as calcium, magnesium, iron, iodine etc., which can cause problems. I will talk more about these in the next article.
The last point I would like to make about supplements is that the quality is important. We need to be taking supplements that are as close to the natural food source as possible. This makes them more digestible and ready for our body to use.
Eoin Roe is a chiropractor and afferent input specialist working in Skibbereen, Douglas and Kinsale. Please call 087 9582362 for an appointment.
Davis DR. (2005) Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What is the Evidence? Journal of Horticultural Science. February 2009 vol. 44 no. 1 15-19.
Important note: If you are taking blood thinning medication please check with your GP as to the suitability of taking an Omega 3 supplement.