What are the reasons for the growing popularity of vitamin and mineral supplementation? What has changed in our nutrition that has made this necessary?
We need vitamins and minerals on a daily basis to perform the many bodily functions that go on. The source of these vitamins and minerals is, of course, our food. Vegetables and fruits are the best sources for vitamins and minerals. Meat and grains add to the overall number of vitamins and minerals, but in much smaller amount than fruits and vegetables. When talking about vitamins, meat and grains are good sources of B vitamins. But what are the other vitamins and minerals?
Vitamins and minerals
Before talking about vitamin and mineral supplementation we need to know something about the vitamins and minerals.
Nutrition can be divided into two groups – macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are those nutrients that we need in somewhat large quantities. Those are proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Micronutrients are those nutrients we need in significantly smaller amounts than macronutrients. Our daily intake of macronutrients are measured in grams, while micronutrients in milligrams and micrograms.
Does this mean that vitamins are 1000s of times less important than proteins? No. Micronutrients are extremely important for the proper functioning of the organism. For example, a healthy adult needs about 1 gram of protein for every 1kg of body mass (depending on age and physical activity). On the other hand, chromium, helps in the regulation of blood sugar levels. According to Webmd, an adult aged between 19-50, needs only 35 micrograms or 0.000035 grams.
So, we need very small amounts of vitamins and minerals to stay healthy and functioning. But that also means that we may easily neglect a shortage of micronutrients in our food. Poor intake of vitamins and minerals will affect our health. And before we know it, our everyday life (mood, energy levels, etc) will start to change. We often hear that if we diversify our food we will get enough of all the nutrients we need, both micro and macro. We are told that unless we have some underlying condition or have frequent strenuous physical activity, we don’t need vitamin and mineral supplementation.
This was maybe true…a few decades ago.
The world’s population is increasing and with that the need for food. In order to provide enough food, agricultural trends have moved from traditional towards intensive, industrial farming.
These industrial agriculture practices have brought us large amounts of cheap food. But with more than one problem. One issue is environmental problems due to the extensive use of arable land, pesticides, water and land pollution, animal welfare issues etc.
The other problem is very much related to the need for vitamin and mineral supplementation. It is the change of nutrients in the food produced by industrial practices.
According to Mother Earth News, the level of protein in grains has declined by 30-50% between 1938 and 1990, while six minerals in grains declined by 22-39% over the last decade. Also, the concentration of calcium in 1 gram of dry broccoli has dropped from 12.9 mg to 4.4 mg in just 50 years. So broccoli contains only about a third of the calcium it did in this short time.
In addition to this, an article in Scientific American says that in just 22 years, from 1977 to 1995, the level of vitamins in 12 fresh vegetables dropped by 21% for vitamin A and 30% for vitamin C.
When do we need more of them?
As we can see, eating fresh fruit, vegetables and grains may not be as healthy and nourishing as it was several decades ago. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can have numerous adverse effects on our health. Let’s just mention a couple of vitamin and minerals deficiencies:
- Iron – anemia
- Iodine – enlarged thyroid gland
- Calcium – osteoporosis, soft bones
- Magnesium – diabetes type 2, abnormal heart rhythm, migraines, fatigue, muscle cramps
- Vitamin D – bone loss, muscle weakness, poor immune system health
- Vitamin B12 – megaloblastic anemia
- Vitamin A – temporary and permanent blindness, night blindness, sinus and mucous membrane issues
- Vitamin C – poor immune system health, anemia, poor wound healing, muscle weakness
- Vitamin E – brain function abnormality, skin issues, eye problems
- Vitamin K – low bone density, easy bleeding, osteoporosis
These are just some of the deficiencies, and just some of the reasons why vitamin and mineral supplementation may be necessary.
Vitamin and mineral supplementation
Another major problem is that the western diet relies heavily on fast and processed food, especially food consumed during school and business hours.
But, we can decide to change this kind of lifestyle. We may start buying fresh ingredients, prepare our own meals so that we know what is in them. But, we are still not going to get enough nutrients, due to the decline of nutrients caused by industrial farming.
Then we have to use vitamin and mineral supplementation. Just like the labels on supplements say – they are not a substitute for rich and diverse nutrition, they are supplementation. These supplements are made to close the gap between the amount of nutrients we are getting from food, and the amount we need on daily basis.
It is also beneficial to move to eating the organic counterparts of as many foods as possible, as studies have shown that:
Organic foods contain higher levels of certain nutrients, lower levels of pesticides, and may provide health benefits for the consumer. PubMed.gov
This move is highly recommended, however, it is still essential to address previous deficiencies. Prolonged exposure to low vitamin and mineral diets can increase deficiency effects. At some point, super supplementation with amounts of vitamins and minerals many times larger than daily doses are often prescribed.
Vitamins and minerals are necessary for proper bodily functioning. Without them, the body becomes weak and eventually our immune system deteriorates, which makes us susceptible to various viruses, bacteria and many immunity-related disorders.
Vitamin and mineral supplementation is often necessary for getting the right amount of nutrients. But that is not the only kind of supplementation we can use to improve the health and the quality of our lives. BioPro-Plus supplementation works on our natural immune system. This is important since our immune system “slows down” as we age. BioPro-Plus replaces the naturally-produced proteins necessary for a properly functioning immune system. As we age, our production of these proteins drops and eventually ceases, over the age of around 40. Supplementing between once and three times per week with BioPro-Plus may be all it takes to help bring our bodies back to optimal levels.
Vitamins and minerals are so important that even a small amount plays a huge role in our bodies. Unfortunately, our environment changed and in order to produce more food, we lowered its quality. Supplementation can help us overcome that, and with BioPro-Plus, we can help to have fully functioning immune systems, as well.