Nutritional supplements: Luxury or necessity? [Archives:2006/956/Health]

June 19 2006

By: Dr. Maha Al-Nakkash
During the past 20 years, we've heard a lot about controlling disease through diet, exercise and food supplements. All body tissues have uniquely balanced chemical elements designed to work in harmony with each other. It's now believed that all chronic diseases are accompanied by nutritional deficiencies and imbalance in essential chemical elements making up the body.

Many think of nutritional deficiencies in terms of inadequate diet; however, there are other ways in which the body exhausts its valuable supply of chemical elements. For example, excessive mental work can deplete the brain, nerves and glands; stress can wreak havoc on the immune system; toxins can build up in the body, leading to chemical depletion or we simply can neglect our bodies and forgot to get enough fresh air, sunshine and exercise. Any abuse or overwork of the body, in addition to any inherent weakness present, can leave us with nutritional deficiencies.

Once the body is depleted of its necessary chemical elements, tissue breakdown and toxin accumulation occurs and nutritional deficiencies only worsen the matter. Ill health symptoms are the consequence of nutritional deficiencies and chemical imbalance in the body. Typically, the first symptom of disease to appear is fatigue. Next, we may experience frequent infections, colds and the flu. Many times, symptoms are taken for granted as a natural sign of aging.

One way to evaluate nutritional needs is to obtain a biochemical health assessment, which can provide a portal through which to detect health or disease and prevent diseases before symptoms occur. A complete biochemical health assessment should evaluate cholesterol levels, including coronary heart risk ratio, and liver, kidney and thyroid functions. It also should assess blood sugar levels and blood electrolytes, as well as check for signs of anemia and infection.

Scientists now recognize that even mild nutritional deficiencies and biochemical imbalances can create subtle disease symptoms; therefore, preventing such chemical depletion is the key to optimal health. Even in AIDS cases, individuals don't die from the disease itself; rather, they die from AIDS-related diseases and from weaknesses in the body. The same holds true for those with cancer.

Vitamins and minerals can be very beneficial. In today's fast food, fast moving culture, nutritional supplements aren't a luxury but a necessity. Due to the convenience of processed foods and cooking or microwaving most foods, 30 to 80 percent of nutrients are killed. Stress, an unbalanced diet, smoking, alcohol, sickness, vegetarianism and other factors also may lead to nutritional deficiencies.

The benefits of taking nutritional supplements are numerous, including, but not limited to:

– Increased energy and vitality

– Improving the body's immune system

– Enhancing skin tone texture and radiance

– Helping maintain a healthy heart

– More restful sleep

– Greater sense of well-being

– Improved moods and emotional well-being

– Improved cognitive function

– Improved blood health

nd much, much more.

With more and more evidence suggesting that a modern lifestyle drains the body of essential nutrients and that modern diets don't provide the body with the proper balance and level of vitamins and minerals, nutritional supplements increasingly are viewed as an important contributor to overall health.