Optimal Nutrition is Essential to Good Health

The major chronic diseases of Americans may be related to poor quality nutrition. Research conducted during the last three decades has made it clear that many of the major chronic diseases of Americans may be nutrition-related health problems. Indeed, four of the ten leading causes of death are associated with diet and nutrition: heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Dietary imbalances also contribute to other health problems such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, osteoporosis and obesity. Proper nutrition is essential in reducing our risk of disease. But how do we know if we are meeting our nutrient needs?
Meeting Our Nutrient Needs: Are the RDAs Enough?

The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) are said to be an adequate level of intake of the essential nutrients needed to maintain health for “practically all healthy persons.”

Who are these “healthy persons”? Are you?

Who Are the people who do not fall within the RDA Category of “Practically All Healthy”?
People who:

Have very high or low body weight
Have chronic illnesses
Have heavy work stress
Are taking medication(s)
Have digestive problems
Have wounds, burns or injuries
Have a metabolic abnormality

Most people who seek our help, fall into one or more of these categories. This means that many of us may need more than the RDA of nutrients. To add to the problem, the diet of many Americans is getting worse. Surprised? The fact is, many of us do not even receive the RDA of all essential nutrients from our food.

Can’t we get the nutrients we need by just eating a balanced diet? According to nutritionists, to attain a balanced diet you must obtain your calories from the proper ratio of fat, protein and complex carbohydrate by eating wholesome, nutritious foods from the various food groups.

Are you sure that your diet meets these requirements for balance and completeness? Are you eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day? How often do you eat whole grain breads and cereals? The fact is that many of us, even those who feel they eat well, do not eat a balanced diet. Almost 40% of the calories in many people’s diets come from highly processed convenience and snack foods that are high in fat and sugar but contain few of the vitamins or minerals that we really need. To live in the world as it is today, we need better nutrition more than ever before. Environmental and lifestyle stressors may increase the needed level of essential nutrients beyond what can be supplied by a balanced diet. As an example, think of your body as a car that gets 30 miles to the gallon. Now put a heavy load in the car and drive it uphill against the wind. Suddenly, your mileage is not so good. The extra load on the car’s engine requires more fuel for the car to go the same distance. The same is true with us.

A list of some of the common stressors that can increase the load on your body and, therefore, increase the amount of essential nutrients we need to function at our best would include:

Regular alcohol use
Regular intake of caffeine
Chronic dieting
Use of prescription or other drugs
Oral contraceptive use
Infection or illness
Exposure to radiation (sun, radiated foods, x-rays, etc.)
Heavy exercise
Cigarette smoke
Old age
Poor digestion
Injuries or wounds
Exposure to pesticides
Exposure to air/water pollution
Increased emotional or occupational stress Development of vitamin deficiency

It is understood that nutrient deficiency occurs gradually in progressive stages. The first three stages are referred to as a marginal deficiency, producing less than optimal health but without the classic clinical signs of deficiency. More classic symptoms of deficiency syndromes occur in stages four and five. This gradual sequence of nutrient depletion is explained in the table below, taken from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Development of Vitamin Deficiency

Deficiency Stage Symptoms & Comments

  1. Preliminary Inadequate availability of vitamin
  2. Biochemical Enzyme-coenzyme activity depressed
  3. Physiological appetite loss, general malaise, insomnia and increased irritability
  4. Clinical increased malaise, loss of body weight with the appearance of deficiency syndrome
  5. Anatomical specific deficiency disease established with specific tissue pathology

Without repletion, death may result. During the state of marginal deficiency (stages 1-3), we are not functioning optimally and our quality of life is compromised. We have greater susceptibility to colds and infections, our mental functions may be reduced and our personality and emotions can be affected. The nature of these symptoms makes it difficult to diagnose a nutrient deficiency and so the nutritional problem may progress undetected. Long-term nutrient deficiencies may be associated with the development of degenerative diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer.

Recommendations for Promoting Optimal Health

Reduce the amount of fat you eat and eliminate junk food
Increase your consumption of fiber and whole, fresh foods

Take a high-quality, balanced multiple vitamin/mineral supplement

Engage in regular exercise Reduce common stressors

The Complete Nutritional Foundation for promoting optimal health and nutritional care is now an integral part of the total care of our patients. We recommend a high-quality multiple vitamin/mineral supplement, which we consider to be fundamental for the optimal nutrition of our patients. It should contain not just RDA levels, but optimum levels of essential nutrients in a scientifically balanced formula. These nutrients should be supplied in highly absorbable forms, in fast-release tablets/capsules. They should also be free of preservatives and synthetic binders, lubricants, fillers and coloring agents. You invest in insurance for your car to protect yourself against financial loss, and wisely so. But, do you do the same for your health? A high-quality multiple vitamin/mineral supplement, along with a good diet, is the lowest cost health insurance you can buy.

Remember, good nutrition can positively affect your health:
It promotes well-being and may help reduce the risk of disease.
It is one of the therapeutic measures employed to help treat certain diseases
It is certainly true that no supplement can be used as a substitute for a good diet. But the fact is, a good diet isn’t always enough. A high-quality multiple vitamin/mineral formula will help you build a nutritional foundation for optimal health.

Can I stop taking my supplements when I start to feel better?
Diet and nutritional supplements are important tools in our effort to achieve optimal health. But if we stop our nutritional program when our symptoms are improved, we risk starting the nutrient deficiency cycle all over again and missing out on the benefits that may be achieved. We will be happy to suggest when to change your nutrient program, and what you will need to help maintain your health.


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