Updated: Oct 16
Newage demands for antioxidant nutrition make supplementation essential today.
Original post: September 17, 2010
Over-supplementation is incredibly misunderstood. Confusion reigns in the public mind as brief reports in popular media fail to disclose all of the facts. Toxic outcomes are possible when any substance is administered incorrectly and in very high doses, and that includes water. However, these unfounded fears are no reason to limit nutrition that the body requires to maintain optimal health. It`s more likely today that we are undernourished than over-supplemented. Research demonstrates irrefutably, that supplementation with antioxidants, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals is the best way to ensure that the immune system is fully empowered to resist disease and prevent premature aging.
Supplementation is safe as long as it is complete and properly balanced.
The negative outcomes associated with supplementation are usually caused by incomplete supplements. Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients work in the body in codependent partnerships. If a single supplement or an incomplete combination of supplements is used aggressively, the missing nutrients create the opportunity for oxidation (toxicity) to prevail in the body. The lab tests that make the news with fresh discoveries of harmful effects are usually based on megadoses of one vitamin such as vitamin E or beta carotene that is administered without including a proportional quantity of the necessary partner antioxidants.
Water has even been consumed in unreasonable quantities to alter osmolarity in the cells and body to the point of death; death by overconsumption of water! We don’t avoid the essential water because of these unrealistic fears.
The science of balanced and complete supplements
Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols of plant origin supply the electrons required to neutralize free radicals so that the latter don’t steal electrons from the atoms that make up vital molecules, cells, and tissues. This offering of the electron neutralizes the reactivity that we often speak of in terms of oxidation.
Antioxidants work in synergistic combinations. One type, such as vitamin E, can’t replace the function of another, say, vitamin C or grapeseed extract and vice versa. These vitamins and antioxidants also work in a chain sequence to pass on the free radical danger down a series of reaction steps. Each step lowers the reactivity of the free radical (oxidation).
By limiting the availability of these antioxidants in the body we might be taking away one of these important steps to leave the oxidation in a reactive state and tissues vulnerable.
It’s easy to induce a toxic outcome with megadose administration of vitamin E, for example, if its nutrient partners are not included in the supplement mix. This is exactly what unaware scientists or scientists with an agenda do when they show negative effects with antioxidant administration. Upon reporting these findings without completely disclosing all of the facts, irresponsible scientists give rise to confusion and doubt among consumers about antioxidant supplementation at a time when we need this protection more than ever.
The reason we must supplement. The label of your favorite food may list a wide array of nutrients but you may not be able to extract them leaving your cells gasping and vulnerable to premature aging and illness. Processing of food to make it shelf-friendly involves high heat, light and oxygen exposure that damage the nutrients. These form these nutrients take are difficult for the body to digest, absorb and use at the cellular level.
Whole raw foods are the best source of nutrition but we face another man-made challenge that has also chipped away at this source. The very nutrient profile of the meat is somewhat man-made.
The nutritional value of the meat derived from domesticated livestock, for example, is dependent on their feed. Meat sources from animals in the wild will have a different nutrient profile that might include higher mineral, vitamin, and even antioxidant levels. The flavor of the meat, itself, is defined by this nutrient profile. We know this to be true when it comes to farmed salmon and other fish. It`s no different for other meat sources like chicken, bison and beef.
Domestic meat sources will also provide different fatty acid proportions that might not be as healthy as the fatty acid profiles found in wild meat sources. Fruits and vegetables are also nutrient-compromised due to today’s commercial practices. They are grown in faster growth cycles, in chemically fertilized plots and picked earlier in their maturation phase to ripen during transit across the continent and globe. This reduces starting nutrient density of the vegetation.
Supplementation of any diet with vitamin, mineral, and phytoantioxidants, as well as polyunsaturated fatty acid blends, increases nutrient density and the health potential of the feed. And this increased health potential is not only required because of the nutrient limitations of the feed. When we impose the environmental pollution and lifestyle stresses on top of this nutritional limitation the body simply cannot cope. The newage influences create a higher demand for antioxidants that food alone cannot meet. The key to producing optimal health is in choosing the highest quality food and supplementation that fits the lifestyle.
If processed food is abundant in the diet, then more supplementation needs to be considered to compensate for the nutrient degradation caused by processing. However, we cannot compensate for all the damage and limitations caused by processing which inevitably take a toll on health. Eliminating the food strain by compromised nourishment is an important step in the health equation. Supplementation must be perfectly balanced and complete to ensure that food is brought closer to the nutrient density and balance that protects the body and empowers maximum immune system health. Even with this, however, we cannot compensate for all the damage and limitations caused by processing which inevitably take a toll on health.
Another example of important supplement synergy Fatty acid supplementation has become the widely accepted thing to do; everyone and their dog is doing it and for good reasons. Omega fatty acid supplementation is even more valuable when processed foods make up the majority of the diet.
The essential and other polyunsaturated fats important to health are easily destroyed during processing and shelf-storage of foods; their molecular structure makes them extremely delicate. To compensate for the well known deficiency, daily supplementation with the essential and conditionally essential Omega-fats has become a staple. However, fat supplementation to improve immunity and longevity is not as simple as taking fish fats. These fatty acids must be taken in the proper ratios. They also depend on important vitamins, minerals and other cofactors in the body.
Fatty acid supplementation should be done with a blend of essential (flaxseed and/or olive oils) and conditionally essential (cold water fish oils) fatty acids together to achieve the proper balance. The body depends on important enzymes and vitamins required to process these fatty acids in the cells. These must be supplied in proportional quantities. Antioxidants are also critical to fatty acid metabolism because these nutrients protect the delicate fatty acids in the cells from damage that uncontrolled oxidation can cause.
Some of these highly specialized antioxidants serve also as guidance escorting these fats down the right pathways. Supplying these other supportive nutrients maximizes the benefit from the fatty acid supplement. If vitamins, minerals, enzymes and / or antioxidants essential to this process are missing, the body may not be able to use these precious fatty acids to maintain health and prevent disease. If any one of these important cofactors is limited the expected results from fatty acid administration will also be proportionally limited just as though there were a limitation of the fatty acid itself. Processing of food is sure to cause damage of these nutrients in varying degrees. The degree of damage is directly proportional to the heat intensity and oxygen exposure.
The first step to improving health potential and quality of life is to choose the best quality food you can afford; foods that are exposed to the least amount of processing. The next step is to supplement with a properly balanced fatty acid system designed for your pet`s metabolism. Complete this health program with a properly balanced vitamin, mineral and phytoantioxidant supplement.