YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT: 5 Pillars of Nutritional Supplements - Part One: PHYTO-MULTI & Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Most of us know that we should “take our vitamins”, but what is the best, most efficient way to heed this age-old advice? Which nutrients and minerals do our bodies need, and how can we be sure we’re taking high-quality supplements?
You might even wonder why we need to take vitamins at all. The simple answer is that our soil is depleted. There are approximately 40 minerals that our bodies need from the food we eat, but because agricultural fertilizer only puts three minerals back, our soil has become depleted. In fact, most dog and cat food brands are more closely monitored when it comes to nutritional value than the food that we humans eat! Even baby formula! It is virtually impossible to get all the vitamins and minerals we need via food consumption alone, so we must rely on supplements in order to be sure we’re giving our bodies all the necessary building blocks they need in order to perform at our best and achieve maximum health. Vitamins and supplements are concentrated forms of nutrition that help “fill the gaps” missed by our typical American diet.
There are five main bases we need to cover for a good nutritional foundation. The first is a daily multivitamin, such as PhytoMulti, is one way to make sure you’re getting all the essential minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients (bioactive substances that aren’t officially “vitamins” but have scientifically established health benefits) necessary for optimal health. Yet not all supplements are created equal. When it comes to vitamins, quality trumps quantity; in other words, the value of the nutrients in your vitamin supplement might be lower or higher depending on the brand, and whatever means and method the manufacturer uses to create the supplement. A multiple vitamin’s potency and purity are important to consider when selecting a supplement. Ideally, you’ll want to know exactly what you’re getting. While a discount brand multivitamin might be convenient to take and inexpensive, often times this comes at the cost of actual nutritional value.
Smaller isn’t always better. When vitamins and minerals are chelated (that is, when they are bonded to amino acids or other organic compounds), they are more easily digested and absorbed by the body, but they also take up more space. So a larger pill will likely deliver more nutritional benefits than a small one. PhytoMulti is our choice for a one a day supplement, it contains over 20 essential vitamins and minerals and is packed with phytonutrients that are powerful antioxidants (antioxidants help repair our DNA)
The vitamin/supplement line that we use at Reinecke Chiropractic Clinic is called Metagenics. The purity and potency of the Metagenics brand vitamins and supplements are tested and guaranteed, and the product is always fresh. The Metagenics line stands for quality.
We talked earlier about the five pillars of a nutritional foundation essential for optimal health. Let’s take a closer look at the second pillar of these categories: omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential lipids that the body can’t make on its own, and therefore must be ingested via food and/or supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oil and certain types of nut oils, including walnut and flaxseed.
Because the majority of the human body’s nervous system is comprised of fat (that is, “good” fat), omega-3 fatty acids are absolutely essential for health and well-being. There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids: EPA, DHA, and GLA. The body uses these to build healthy nerves and cell membranes. But if there is a shortage of these healthy fatty acids within the body, the body will automatically default to the “next best option” and seek out the much less desirable omega-6 type of fatty acid. This is the type of “bad” or unhealthy fat that you would find in Doritos and other heavily processed foods. If the body uses these poorer quality omega-6 fatty acids to build nerves and cell membranes, these tissues will not be as healthy, resilient and pliable as those created using healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The health and resiliency of our cell membranes is vital, particularly when you consider that every cell has a membrane, and there are over a trillion cells in the human body! When our bodies have plenty of healthy omega-3 fatty acids to use in building cells, this allows for the creation of cell membranes that are more resilient, healthy and pliable. On a microscopic level, the enzyme activity of cells is much like a lock-and-key system, and a plentiful level of omega-3 fatty acids allows for enzymes to slide into a perfect fit on the cell, with a cell membrane made of omega-6 fatty acids it’s more like enzymes trying to fit there square pegs into round holes. When our cell membranes are less resilient and more brittle (in other words, when our bodies are forced to create cell membranes by using unhealthy omega-6 fatty acids rather than healthy omega-3 fatty acids), chemical reactions start to break down and health and immunity are compromised.
In Part Two (our next blog post), we will cover the remaining three pillars: vitamin D, probiotics and Fruits & Greens.