The use of nutritional supplements primarily vitamins and minerals has become extremely popular is recent decades. With the advances of production companies, the expanding knowledge and experience of nutritional practitioners and the great interest of the general public in supporting and protecting their health this field has grown incredibly fast.
Most Americans use some type of nutritional supplement, either regularly or when they are under stress or feel unwell. And it is clear that there is value in adding supplements to the modern-day diet. The soil in which our food is grown is depleted of nutrients and processing depletes it further. We suffer from daily exposure to toxic chemicals and stress. We all can benefit from some level of support through the addition of nutritional supplements to our diet.
A good diet and appropriate supplements have much greater value in preventing disease than in treatment. However, the right diet and supplement program can offer help in correcting medical problems and setting the body right again.
Vitamins function along with enzymes in chemical reactions necessary for energy production and keeping all our body organs functioning. They are often referred to as coenzymes.
There are 13 different known vitamins, each with its own special role to play. With the exception of a couple of the B vitamins that are manufactured by intestinal bacteria, we must obtain them from food or nutritional supplements.
Vitamins are essential for growth, vitality and health. They are also helpful in digestion, elimination and resistance to disease. Depletions or deficiencies can lead to a variety of both specific nutritional disorders and general health problems, depending on what specific vitamin is lacking in the body.
Minerals are elements from the earth that are required, or essential, in human nutrition and a wide variety of body functions. From calcium and iodine to iron and zinc, these nutrients are absorbed from soil and water into the plants and animals we consume. Our body does not manufacture any of these minerals. Thus, we must get them regularly from our diets and nutritional supplements.
However, we do store some, as in bone calcium, and these may be retrieved to maintain the blood and body activities. When the soil is depleted of minerals, as it commonly is with today's aggressive agricultural practices, we may not be obtaining these essential nutrients, and we can become mineral deficient. In growing youngsters and adults, we may then experience problems in sexual maturation (zinc), bone strength (calcium and phosphorus), anemia (iron), or thyroid dysfunction (iodine).