The GPnutrition Guide To… Supplement Your Health Gabriela Peacock 10 November, 2014 Features, Health & Fitness, Living Do you find yourself baffled by the number of vitamins and fish oil pills for sale? Increasing numbers of us take dietary supplements which usually come in pill, powder or liquid form. Common supplements include vitamins, minerals and herbal products also known as botanicals. Typically people take supplements to make sure they get enough essential nutrients and to maintain or improve their health from energy to hormone levels. With today’s modern lifestyle, specific supplements can be a really useful support for the following: Stress causes the body to produce cortisol which can deplete levels of magnesium and vitamin B6. Consider taking a B complex supplement which can support the adrenal and thyroid glands as well as blood sugar control. Almost eighty percent of the immune system is located in the digestive system making a healthy gut important for optimal health and immunity. Probiotics, such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, are strains of bacteria shown to help restore the balance of the intestine. Probiotics have many vital functions including digestion, producing vitamin K, promoting mineral absorption and in the breakdown of toxins. Digestive discomfort may be alleviated by taking Lglutamine (for diarrhoea), psyllium (for constipation) or specific digestive enzymes (for indigestion). When our digestion system is impaired it reduces our ability to absorb key nutrients so an all round multivitamin could be useful. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) such as omega3s support brain function, hormone balance and skin health. Since our bodies cannot make omega3 fats many people are deficient and so they are commonly taken as a supplement. Multivitamins can help fill in the gaps in the diet. For people with certain health concerns e.g. folic acid in pregnancy, a multivitamin might be helpful. If you suspect you aren’t getting enough vitamins and minerals from diet alone, maybe you should consider a multivitamin. Gabriela Says: “It’s possible to get all of the nutrients you need by eating a variety of healthy foods, but supplements can be really useful for filling in gaps in your diet. It is important to choose good quality supplements from a reputable source and take the correct dose for the correct length of time. There’s little evidence that any supplement can reverse the course of any chronic disease so don’t take supplements with that expectation, however, they can be a really useful addition.” Seasonal Supplements Garlic contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. Selenium from Brazil nuts and shellfish help white blood cells produce cytokines that help clear viruses. Iron isn’t just found in red meat! By eating leafy greens, beans and lentils you can be sure to get enough iron to keep you strong and healthy. Consume alongside vitamin C for maximum absorption. Zinc is an immunity bolstering mineral and even a mild deficiency can increase infection risk. Try zinc rich foods such as beef, poultry, fortified cereals, yoghurt or milk. Vitamin A plays a major role in producing connective tissue, such as skin, which acts as the first line defence against bacteria and viruses. One of the best ways to get vitamin A into your diet is from foods containing beta carotene like sweet potatoes, squash and carrots. Considering a supplement? Seek advice from a registered health profession. Book an appointment to talk to Gabriela about your nutritional and supplement needs. Gabriela and team For more GPnutrition news and features, why not visit our website or connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn by clicking the links below.For more GPnutrition news and features, why not visit our website or connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn by clicking the links below.