wellnessBy: Hindy Cortright from The BioFit Center for Sports & Health Magazine.

The subject of whether or not to take supplements among healthy and active people is an issue that is often discussed among Doctors and supplement users. Some people believe that as long as an individual is following a balanced diet they are most likely getting the necessary daily allowance of the basic vitamins and minerals their bodies need. Others believe that the quality of the foods we eat in nowdays , is not as rich as it used to be. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. It is a fact that the quality of foods we find today, even organic ones, is not as rich as it was 20 or 30 years ago due to many factors among them, environmental changes. If we add to this reality the fast pace of our modern life, which has increased the levels of stress we have to deal with, on a daily basis, you will see why most peoplebenefit from adding certain supplements in their daily diet. Our bodies just need extra help to stay healthy in this modern and technology driven world.

Supplements are meant to do just that, “supplement” a person’s daily diet. To help add specific components that may not be found in enough quantity.

Different age groups have different needs as far as which supplements they should integrate. Before I give you some recommendations of supplements per age group let me explain the nature of these supplements.

The more important supplements a person should integrate in their diet are:

  1. Protein supplements or Gold Standard.
    I recommend WHEY protein over any other kind. Whey protein is a high quality protein powder from cow’s milk. That contains: Casein (approximately 80%) and Whey Protein (approximately 20%). Whey protein is more soluble than casein and also has a higher quality rating. It is the most nutritious protein available.* Adults do not consume enough protein and this is the key building block to maintain a healthy muscle mass.
  2. Vitamins and minerals.
    There are two basic types of vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty tissues of the body until needed. Water-soluble vitamins do not build up in the body; any amounts not used are flushed out in urine. Vitamins D, A, E, and K are fat soluble, while Vitamins B6 and B12, C, biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin and thiamine are water soluble. An excessive buildup of Vitamin A can lead to health problems, including adding to bone brittleness. Because people who are less active use one Vitamin A than an active person, they should take less Vitamin A, or rely on a healthy diet to provide their Vitamin A needs. People who are less active need to replenish their supplies of water-soluble vitamins on a regular basis.**
  3. Fatty Acids:
    Nutritionists call omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids “essential” fats for a good reason. The human body needs them for many functions, from building healthy cells to maintaining brain and nerve function. Our bodies can’t produce them, the only source is food. There’s also growing evidence that they help lower the risk of heart disease. Some studies suggest these fats may also protect against type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and age-related brain decline. Omega-6 mostly comes as linoleic acid from plant oils (corn oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil), as well as from nuts and seeds. The American Heart Association recommends that at least 5% to 10% of food calories come from omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3s come primarily from fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna, and from walnuts and flaxseed in lesser amounts.***

Recommendations for the general public based on age.

Children and pre teens should be OK just adding an over the counter multi vitamin to their daily diet. Regular exercise and a balanced diet is the most important health supplement children need .

Teens go through a rapid growth process and the body needs help keeping up with this rapid growth. Most teenagers need a Multi Vitamin and multi mineral supplements daily. They specially need to boost their levels of Vitamin B (B-12, B-1, B-2, B-3 and B-6) these vitamins are needed for the heart, muscle and nervous system functioning. Having a good level of B vitamins is crucial for good development.

Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc as well as Folic Acid and Iron are the basic minerals most teenagers tend to be low on and often need to supplement more. Make sure that before you begin a supplement regimen you consult with your physician and that a blood test to check the current levels of these minerals and vitamins is performed.

All Adults should also take a multi vitamin/multi mineral, a Vitamin D and Omega 3 supplement daily as well as a whey protein shake between meals to increase their protein intake and hence help their bodies to recuperate from daily stress.

Finding good quality supplements is important and we recommend that you research well. Some Doctors believe in prevention and can guide you in finding the right line of supplements. Find one who can help you in this matter.

Everyone can benefit from adding the right supplements to their daily diet.

Sources:
*http://www.wheyoflife.org/faq.cfm#1
**http://www.ehow.com/about_5521535_do-need-vitamins-less-active.html#ixzz1SZxv0WQ4
***http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/omega-fatty-acids