Supplements… love them or loath them? According to the FDA, the US food and drug administration, a dietary supplement is a “product intended for ingestion that contains a “dietary ingredient” intended to add further nutritional value to (supplement) the diet.” It may include a vitamin, mineral, botanical ingredient, amino acid, concentrate or extract or be designed to increase the dietary intake of a substance (most notably, protein powders). We’re often told to take x y or z supplement, but blindly doing so can waste money and even negatively effect health if we take something that we don’t need -for example, excess vitamin C can result in kidney stones (see here and here). As I am not a registered nutritionalist (one degree at a time!) I don’t feel as though I can give broad spectrum advice, however, I thought I would look in to two commonly recommended supplements that many people can benefit from.
Everyone knows how catching a few rays of sunshine equates to vitamin D production in the body. However, many of us may be deficient thanks to living in high latitude countries, and the fact that much of our skin is covered by clothing (and no, that’s not a reason to skip the jacket because you think your outfit would look better without it!). A study found that 92% of adolescent girls and over two thirds of elderly women in northern Europe had a vitamin D status of less than 50 nmol/l. This article and this article recommend somewhere between 50 and 75 nmol/l as the ideal vitamin D status. Although these tests were taking during winter, it shows a high proportion of the population being at least slightly deficient in vitamin D. You can get extra vitamin D from egg yolks, oily fish (and cod liver oil), beef liver and fortified milks and cereals. However if you need to take a supplement, look for D3 rather than D2 as D3 is the form of vitamin D that the body synthesises from sunlight. NutriZing makes a high-strength 10 000 IU vitamin D3 in tablet form
Eating cleaned and processed food, taking antibiotics for every illness and our super-clean modern environments don’t always promote the best gut health. Don’t get me wrong, the benefits of modern advancements in agriculture, medicine and hygiene hugely outweigh the downsides and have been pivotal for our advancement of a species, but it has led to a less-than perfect microbiome in many. Whilst taking probiotics should be safe for most people, those with immunity issues or other serious diseases should definitely check with their doctor first. It is worth taking the time to find a brand thats works for you. Two big issues for probiotics is that the bacteria need to have been packaged in a way that means they are still alive by the time you come to take them, and that at least some need to be able to survive your stomach acids. Probiotics can be preserved by refrigerating, with thick, dark bottles or even controlled-released tablets. A high number of bacteria (measured in billions of CFUs) can also maximise the chances of a sufficient number of bacteria reaching your gut. Keep an eye out for expiration dates too. There are lots of strains of bacteria out there, which all have different benefits -for example Lactobacillus Acidophilus, found in Nutrizing 10 billion CFUs tablets, is often recommended to help with digestion of dairy, as well as positively balancing out “good” to “bad” bacteria ratios (see here). If you don’t have a specific digestive needs, consider looking for a broad-spectrum probiotic.
To give you a chance to try their 10 000 IU vitamin D3 and 10 billion CFUs Lactobacillus Acidophilus NutriZing are giving away two of each! To enter, just use the Rafflecopter widget below. NutriZing is a UK-based business that produces natural and pure health supplements, with a guarantee of great customer service and reliable manufacturing process, so you know that you are getting good quality products. The prize entitles two winners to a voucher for their full-sized vitamin D3 and probiotic supplement (note: this may not cover shipping).
Please note, this blog post was written with the intention to inform and entertain, but should not be taken in lieu of advice from a doctor, registered nutritionalist or dietician. If in doubt, always speak to a professional! This giveaway has kindly been sponsored by NutriZing, but all opinions are my own and scientific references regarding the health benefits of supplements have been linked.