Diet Supplements The Real Lowdown

Do we really need diet supplements? Do we really need to take supplements – can’t we get it all from food?

Our soil is massively over-farmed and nutrient depleted, even if we do eat our 5 portions of fruit and veg each day the chances are they have been shipped across the planet or kept in storage for so long the vitamins have all gone. On top of this, our crazy stressed lifestyles demand even greater nutrional support than ever before – so I am convinced that in order to be optimally healthy we do need to take supplements.

If you had to choose just one supplement to take what would it be and why?
Vitamin C! It is the number one anti-oxidant – protecting our cells from damage due to pollution, toxins and radiation or EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies – from TV, radios, mobile phones, hairdryers! Etc) – helps slow the aging process. Supports the immune system. A fantastic natural anti-histamine – so great for reducing allergies, hayfever, skin rashes….

What’s the one thing that women seem to be short of and why?
I would say B vitamins. They are essential for the metabolism of sugars and alcohol and refined carbohydrates (white bread, pastry, pasta, etc) – so by eating these refined foods we create a nutrient ‘debt’. The Bs are essential for nervous system functions and energy production. They are also water soluble which means that they are not stored in the body and so must be taken in the diet each day. Key symptoms of low B vitamins are fatigue, mood swings, PMT.

What’s the difference between a naturopath and a nutritionist?
Typically a nutritionist specializes and concentrates on food and nutrition and very often supplementation as a therapeutic treatment. Naturopaths also focus on diet/nutrition as fundamental to a person’s well being – but may also be qualified in other treatments e.g. herbal medicine, homeopathy, flower remedies. When deciding who is best for you to see you will need to do a some research – personal recommendation is good, check their qualifications, professional body memberships, insurance, experience and success rate with your particular concern.

How often should you ‘adjust’ your supplement regime? How often should you see a naturopath?
You should always seek professional guidance when supplementing – number one to be safe and certainly to be effective. Key times to reassess supplementation are at any ‘change of life’ – puberty, pregnancy/breastfeeding, menopause. Any changes in activity – job, exams, exercise regimes. When feeling ‘out of sorts’ and tired/unwell. If you develop any particular ailments e.g. arthritis, IBS, skin problems. And there are always times when its wise to let your body have a complete break from taking anything. If you’re not sure always check with your naturopath at your 6 monthly check up or at the very least yearly MOT.

This hasn’t a lot to do with supplements but currently detoxing has received a lot of negative press – what are your feelings?
I am a huge advocate of ‘detoxing’! I believe to maintain super health – a 6 week detox twice a year is necessary (spring and autumn), and at a minimum once a year.