How do you know what to buy if you don’t know what you need. This is a basic question that you need to ask yourself before you buy a supplement. Yes, you have to have a supplement that is All-In-One meaning it would include all the necessary vitamin and minerals and other micro or even macronutrients but what are those? There are about eleven of them namely (based on Linda McKenzie’s article “How to Choose a Supplement”).
- Vitamins -are micronutrients and co-enzymes, that are essential to life. Vitamins are involved in metabolism and the biochemical processes that release energy. There are water-soluble vitamins that the body cannot store and need to be taken daily and oil soluble vitamins that are stored in fatty tissue and the liver for longer periods of time. Examples of water soluble vitamins are: C, B complex. Examples of oil soluble vitamins are: A, D, E.
- Minerals -bulk minerals or macrominerals are needed in larger amounts than trace minerals (microminerals). Minerals are primarily stored in the bone and muscle tissue and, among other things, are basically needed to maintain chemical balance of the body’s systems. Examples of bulk minerals are: calcium, magnesium. Examples of trace minerals are: copper, iron, zinc, chromium.
- Amino Acids -are made up of proteins and are known as the building blocks of life. Proteins are necessary for every cell in the body. There are about 28 amino acids that are combined to create the hundreds of proteins that the body needs for life. Examples are: L-arginine, L-carnitine, L-glutamine.
- Antioxidants -are a group of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that help fight free radicals that can cause damage to living cells. Examples are: coenzyme Q10, glutathione, melatonin, zinc, vitamin C
- Enzymes -are called the sparks of life because they are energized protein molecules that are needed for food digestion, brain stimulation, cellular energy and repair. Examples are amylase, cellulase, lipase, protease and lactase.
- Natural or Whole Food Supplements -are derived from the byproducts of food that are high in nutrients or have active ingredients to aid metabolism or digestion. Examples are: alfalfa, aloe, acidolphilus, bee pollen and bee propolis.
- Herbs -are plants that perform healing and maintenance functions in the body. Herbs are powerful medicine that need to be treated with knowledge and respect. All parts of a plant can be considered an herb and each part (e.g., the leaves, the roots) may have a different use. Examples: garlic, ginger, gingko biloba, milk thistle, ginseng.
- Essential Fatty Acids -also known as EFAs are the building blocks of the good fats and oils that the body can’t produce and are necessary for good health. Examples: fish oil, borage oil, flaxseed oil, safflower oil.
- Bioflavinoids -enhance vitamin absorption should be taken together with vitamin C.
- Green Foods -are body detoxifiers, and a good source of nutrients for energy. Examples are: chlorella, spirulina, barley grass and wheat grass juice.
- Fiber -helps lower cholesterol and maintain blood sugar levels in the body. Examples are: apple pectin and oatbran.
In all these, it also important to note that supplements are to be taken to complement natural foods and a balanced diet. Pick well!