Supplements- Are they necessary?

It is gratifying to see that more and more people are realizing the need to take responsibility for their own health and are striving to prevent illness by eating healthily. Unfortunately there is a downside to this because it also means there are more people falling prey to unscrupulous profit-mongers in the food industry who are jumping on the “health food” bandwagon. Fortunately there are many dedicated natural health practitioners out there who are not shy to speak out and to warn others of the dangers of so-called “health foods”, with certain cereals, margarines, milk, fruit juices, breads, health bars, sports drinks, “lite” foods and soya products coming under fire on a regular basis. Many of the synthetic vitamins and minerals added to these “fortified” foods cannot even be absorbed by the body, thus having the potential to cause more harm than good. As for vitamin and mineral supplements, there are some that have more toxic additives in the form of fillers or binders than the nutrients they claim to provide.

Welcome to the real worldhealthy

Some people believe we can get our daily requirement of vitamins and minerals simply by eating lots of good wholesome food in its natural state. I could go along with this, if we lived in a chemical-free world and all our food was organically grown. However we live in the real world, where our diets lack nutrients we were designed to have due to the adulterated foods we eat: processed, mass-produced foods grown in mineral-depleted soils using petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides and now we can also add genetically engineered foods to the list – lucky us!

Consider this quote from U.S. Senate Document #265:

“The alarming fact is that food, fruits and vegetables and grains, now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of needed minerals, are starving us, no matter how much of them we eat.  No man of today can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply his system with the mineral salts he requires for perfect health because his stomach isn’t big enough to hold them…”. This document was written in 1936!  Of course the situation is much worse today.

Food is not enough

No matter how healthy your eating habits, it’s virtually impossible to get all the nutrition you need from food alone, and that’s doubly true if you’re over 50. Apart from our food, our air and water is also tainted with thousands of chemicals that play havoc with our health. Our bodies are continuously having to clean these chemicals out and compensate for their effects, which means a greater burden is being placed on our immune systems. For this reason supplementation is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity.

Which supplements?

The variety of multivitamins on the shelves is mind-boggling and many of them should be left on the shelf where they can do no harm. My advice is: “Go Natural”. Take supplements made from whole foods. These contain a broad spectrum of nutrients, phyto-chemicals, fibre, vitamins, minerals and enzymes which will have the greatest impact because they work together in synergy. They have the greatest level of nutritional and bio-available vitality and there is no risk of over supplementation, since they are formulated from food, not synthetics. (Some people absorb less than ten percent of a synthetic supplement pill – expensive urine!). The range of whole food supplements that gets my vote is the Vibrant Health range. Their plant-based superfoods, such as Green Vibrance for adults and Super Kids Vibrance for the younger set, support the four foundations of health namely, nutrition, digestion, circulation and immunity. Having been engineered by Nature, these powders contain all the nutrients and probiotics your body needs to maintain good overall health. To a daily serving of one of these super foods simply add two See Yourself Well omega-3 softgels daily to ensure optimum immune function and prevention of disease.

As Thomas Edison once wrote: “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease”  

I do hope that the future he referred to is not far off.

 

 

Omega-3 supplements – how to choose the best

I know, it is a minefield out there and there are so many brands of omega-3 supplements on the shelves that it is mind-boggling. So let me make it easy for you to choose only the best, because when it comes to fish oil, only the best will do. This is because, thanks to the human species, the fish in our oceans have become so contaminated and the toxins are mostly harboured in the fatty parts of the fish from which the oil is extracted.  Follow this advice and you can’t go wrong:

  1. Is the DHA and EPA content of the fish oil in one softgel displayed on the label? These essential fatty acids (EFAs) are the active ingredients in fish oil. Ideally the concentration of EPA and DHA combined should be no less than 50% in a 1000mg softgel, eg: 400mg EPA and 200mg DHA means 60% of a 1000mg softgel comprises EFAs.
  2. Watch out for deceptive labeling. Some labels will display the DHA and EPA content in 3 or 4 softgels, not just one, making it look impressive when it is not. So take care when comparing prices.
  3. There should be no added ingredients apart from non-therapeutic amounts of vitamin E to prevent rancidity.
  4. What is the source of the fish oil? Be wary of cheap salmon oil supplements. The oils from farmed salmon, because they are fed vegetable matter, contain some omega-6 so are not pure omega-3. If in doubt look for oils extracted from smaller marine varieties such as anchovy, sardine and mackerel.
  5. Has the oil been certified by a reputable third party? If it has then this certification will be shown on the label and should confirm a star rating for safety, purity and label accuracy. On request the supplier should be able to issue you with a consumer report for the oil in the softgels, given the batch no. which should be displayed on the bottle.
  6. Do you experience fishy burps after consuming your fish oil supplement? A good quality, molecularly distilled, ultra-refined fish oil should not leave a fishy after taste.
  7. Are the manufacturers available to answer your questions? You should be able to ask tough questions of any supplier of fish oil regarding purity certification, type of fish used, whether cold or heat extracted, wild or farmed, sustainability and environmental impact.
  8. Is the oil in triglyceride(TG) or ethyl ester(EE) form? There is nothing wrong with the EE form however the triglyceride form is better absorbed so, although more expensive, you get more bang for your bucks. The TG form is more costly to produce so manufacturers will proudly display on the label if it is in TG form, meaning labels that don’t mention triglyceride will most likely be in ethyl ester form and should be cheaper as you will need to take a higher dose.

Of course I wouldn’t be telling you all this if the omega-3 fish oil supplements we offer on this site did not tick all of the above boxes. They have all been awarded a 5 star rating by International Fish Oil Standards. You can’t get better than that for peace of mind.

POLONY BOLONEY

polony and listeria

It’s 2018 and South Africans are reeling from the shocking news of an outbreak of deadly listeria which has claimed the lives of at least 180 people. The source of the outbreak has been traced back to factories producing processed cold meats. Although even one death from listeriosis is one death too many perhaps something good could come out of this unfortunate crisis.

For me the best outcome would be that moms rethink what they are putting on their children’s sandwiches. We’re not even talking here about the risk of life-threatening bacteria which in any case we hope will never happen again. We’re talking about the nutritional value, or lack of it, in processed meats such as polony, as well as the health hazards lurking in the additives. When in 390BC, Hippocrates said: “Let food be your medicine…”, believe me, he was not talking about polony – nor was he talking boloney. Have you ever investigated what goes into processed meats such as polony and Vienna sausages? According to food technologists for the most part they consist of mixtures of off-cuts from all types of meat including organ meat and offal, all ground up finely with loads of fat holding it altogether. Then colourants, flavourants, loads of salt (sodium), nitrates and many other chemicals go in to make these foods look appetizing and palatable enough to  consume. Price and convenience is what makes them popular, especially among feeding schemes for disadvantaged children, where a slice of pink polony gets slapped between two slices of
nutrition-deficient white bread (more non-food). Sliced–to-go, so to speak. This advantage of convenience, I’m sorry to say, does not outweigh the costs to health and longevity.

Firstly, a processed meat such as polony has had all nutritional value processed right out of it and does not carry within it the enzymes, vitamins and minerals required for its digestion. As such the body has to draw on its own reserves of nutrients and enzymes to metabolize it, thus depleting the immune system further. Not a good food for an already immune-depleted body of a starving or sick child or anyone else for that matter.

Secondly, these foods are loaded with chemicals that are horrendously detrimental to health. In 2015 the World Health Organisation classified processed meats as carcinogenic to humans. They have certainly been linked to stomach and colorectal cancer. This includes bacon, hot dog sausages, polony, salami, ham, and smoked or cured meat. Likely contributors to the problem are the added nitrates and excess salt or MSG and the smoking done to extend the shelf-life of such products. The World Cancer Research Fund in the UK recommends an outright avoidance of all processed meats, including biltong (sadly). Processed meats have also been linked to diabetes and heart failure.

So why are we still eating them and serving them to our trusting kids? Seems we are not doing our children any favours at all, apart from temporarily satisfying their hunger. The more processed a

Healthy 5-a-day lunch box

food the less likely it will nourish you, and the more likely it will send you to an early grave. Relying on the convenience of a major industrial operation to prepare your food for you is seriously short-sighted. You may be paying less now in time and money but the future “bill” you will get cannot be paid with money.

The general recommendation here is to restrict your meat choices whenever possible to grass-fed and organic meats, cooked in their natural state. For school lunch boxes, sliced cooked meat, pilchards, peanut butter, egg or cheese sandwiches are healthier less processed options than polony.