Eating well is one of the best prescriptions for good health. Making home-made meals centered around local, seasonal veggies and fruits is the surest way to get the nutrients your body and brain need to survive and thrive.
But it isn’t always easy to make healthy meals on a regular basis. And even when you do, sometimes you still aren’t getting all the nutrients your body and brain require for optimal health.
This is where supplements can help. Whether you want to give your diet a boost, prevent deficiencies, or help ease symptoms from health conditions such as osteoporosis or arthritis, supplements are an easy, convenient way to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients your body and brain need in the right amounts.
What Are Supplements?
Supplements help create harmony in the body by providing nutrients you may be lacking, including vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, probiotics, fiber, and others. And they are available in many forms — including pills, capsules, powders, extracts, liquids, and more — so they’re easy to fit into your life.
Supplements aren’t meant to replace a healthy eating plan, but instead to enhance it. Dietary and herbal supplements share many of the same properties as food and — when used under the guidance of a health professional — can help produce balance in the body.
Who Needs Supplements?
Everyone can benefit from supplements. However, there are certain groups of people who may need them to help address specific health concerns or to enhance a diet that excludes certain foods.
For example, supplements may be appropriate for anyone who is:
- Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
- 50 or older
- Having difficulty with poor appetite or eating
- Lacking access to good quality food
- Managing food allergies or food intolerances
- Suffering from medical conditions that affect how the body digests nutrients, e.g., some diseases of the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, or intestines
Which Nutrients Can Supplements Provide?
Here are some examples of important nutrients that supplements can provide:
Vitamins: These are a group of organic substances that are necessary for normal cell function, growth, and development. There are 13 vitamins the body needs to be healthy, and most can be found in a well-balanced diet. People who aren’t getting all 13 nutrients regularly from their diet should consult a health professional to find out which vitamins they may need to get from a supplement.
Minerals: These are elements in food that help the body develop and function. Mineral deficiencies can lead to a variety of health problems, such as weak bones, fatigue, or a depressed immune system. If you think you aren’t getting all the minerals you need from your diet, get in touch with a health professional to find out how supplements can help.
Trace elements: These are chemical elements present in small amounts in the body which are important for tissue repair, growth, and development and metabolic function. The human body does not naturally make these elements, so we must get them through food or supplements. Seek advice from a supplement expert to find out if you’re getting the trace elements your body needs.
Enzymes: These are proteins that accelerate biochemical reactions in the body. For example, enzymes help with digestion, helping to turn the food we eat into energy. Enzyme imbalances can contribute to a range of health issues such as Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel issue. Supplements can help boost your enzyme intake.
Probiotics: These are the friendly bacteria that live in your intestinal tract. They assist the body with digestion, enable it to better absorb nutrients, help protect it from disease, prevent bad bacteria from growing, and more. An imbalance in your gut can lead to a range of health issues, including weight gain, constipation, bloating, and others which may be indications of more serious conditions. A probiotic supplement can help restore the balance in your gut.
Fiber: This is a type of carbohydrate that your body cannot digest. It helps regulate your body’s use of sugars, helps control inflammation, and contributes to a decreased risk of certain diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. However, most people do not get enough fiber in their diets, so it’s a good idea to consult with a health professional to see if you would benefit from a fiber supplement.
Natural Vs. Synthetic Supplements
As with anything you put into your body, it’s important to understand what you’re taking. Supplements come in many forms, including natural and synthetic. Natural supplements are made from plants. The body responds to natural supplements as it would to nutrients it receives from whole foods.
The compounds in synthetic supplements aren’t made the same way nor are they in the same form as they would be if they were derived from plants. This means that they aren’t absorbed as efficiently as naturally made supplements, and they don’t have as much active effect. The nutrients in these supplements can be harder for the body to recognize and because of this, the body may treat them as if they were toxins rather than beneficial nutrients.
It’s a good idea to consult with a health professional and supplement expert before making any decisions about which supplements will be of most benefit to you.
Get In Touch With A Health Expert
Supplements are a great tool for helping you stay balanced — naturally. If you’re interested in finding out how they can benefit your health, contact the team at Nature’s Link Wellness, led by Dr. Kristine Devillier.
Dr. Devillier is a mind/body mentor, board-certified naturopath, and master herbalist. She brings more than 20 years’ experience and a wealth of knowledge about natural health to each consultation — providing easy-to-follow advice on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Dr. Devillier and the team at Nature’s Link Wellness are experts in the benefits and safe use of supplements. Call us on 337-332-2705 or reach us online to connect with one of our health experts. We proudly offer natural health consultations in Breaux Bridge, Lafayette, and the entire Acadiana area.