Even the most meticulously planned diet cannot provide you with all the micronutrients that you need – if you stick to the old get-it-from-real-food adage.
When we talk about micronutrients, we are talking about vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and we do get these from food. However, if you are sure that you want to stick with just food, you need to know specific things especially:
- How much of each micronutrient does your body need considering age, body mass, physical activity, medical condition, cell degeneration, oxidation levels, etc. when testing for just one nutrient can be tedious, costly, and unavailable in your country.
- The true amount of EACH micronutrient you get from each item of food, from all food groups present in your usual diet; You cannot just get values from standard tables for nutrient compositions because micronutrient levels vary for food products considering what species these are, where these were grown, how these were nourished, as well as how these were harvested and processed.
- The thousands of excess calories you have to eat to get 100% of all micronutrients considering bioavailability and nutrient interactions cause you definitely don’t absorb everything in your food – cause what’s the toilet for?
Since we don’t have the answers to these and honestly, an average person doesn’t really put much thought into what he or she eats per day, I define nutritional supplements as, “micronutrients you need daily but you don’t get from food alone that are vital for optimal nourishment, protection, and renewal of the cells in the body.”
This is the truth behind the hundreds of companies who claim that they are the best in micronutrient supplementation, so how do we differentiate supplements that offer true health from those which are merely trying to make a profit?
Here are five smart questions you should ask when choosing the best nutritional supplement for you and your family:
#1. Is it complete?
Cheap brands of supplements often miss out on micronutrients that come from quality raw materials. Hence, they resort to excessively featuring those vitamins or minerals that are high in content in their generally incomplete formula.Multivitamin and mineral supplements are at times advertised to contain B complex vitamins, but only contain B1, B6 and B12. Trace minerals such as selenium, molybdenum, chromium, and vanadium are often missing.
#2. Is it balanced?
Nutrients work in synergy. You might have heard that vitamins A and C, coupled with zinc, provide outstanding immune support. Although it is true that these nutrients play key roles in immunity, it wouldn’t be possible without a balanced supply of all the other supporting nutrients that enable them to function.
A balanced nutrient formulation avoids nutrients from interfering with the absorption of one another. Part of this includes increasing those nutrients that are quickly used up in normal metabolism to avoid limiting factors.
Look for supplement companies who employ scientists, nutritionists, and physicians to constantly improve research on how nutrients interact with each other from digestion to absorption, and from transport to function.
#3. Is it potent?
A good supplement provides sufficient amounts for optimal health. These amounts are often higher than the recommended daily allowance as these are minimum levels that are set to prevent deficiency in 98% of the healthy population.
What if you are part of the 2% – taller and more muscular, or beyond 50 years of age – who needs more nutrients just to prevent deficiency? What if you already have a lifestyle disease, an autoimmune disorder, or low resistance to infectious diseases? Or what if you are an athlete or a really hardworking person who demands more of his body than the average person? Then you would need a scientifically-studied, and outstandingly potent micronutrient supplement.
#4. Is it bioavailable?
Bioavailability is defined as “the relative absorption of a nutrient and its accumulation for use in the body.” Nutrients come in different forms and some are more easily absorbed than others.
The bioavailability of a nutrient can also be affected by other nutrients in a source, hence, we are never sure that we get all nutrients from our food intake.
Breakthrough nutritional supplements have this covered. For example, these consider that some nutrients are better absorbed in divided doses when taken with different substances. So you might see vitamin C occur as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc-ascorbate in a single supplement.
In addition, minerals are more readily absorbed as chelates – complexed with a protein monomer. These appear as amino acid complexes in a mineral supplement formula.
#5. Is it safe?
Good supplements avoid containing iron and preformed vitamin A in their formulas as these two nutrients are stored in the body and can cause toxicity in high amounts. The supplement can then contain copper which helps in recycling iron already in the body, and beta carotene which can be metabolized into vitamin A as needed.
Supplement companies should also be certified for good manufacturing practices (GMP) and pharmaceutical standard GMP is best. This means that the supplements, starting from its quarantined raw materials to its finished product have tested and passed for zero biological contamination.
So what is the best supplement in the market?
USANA Essentials won the Editor’s Choice Award and 5-Gold Stars from Nutrisearch Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements based on18 health support criteria that you should look for in a nutritional supplement; You are sure that it is free from contaminants, created from raw materials assured of potency, and contain the exact amount of ingredients declared on the label.
USANA Essentials has the right combination of essential nutrients and antioxidants, that maintains the healthy state of cells and minimize signs of degeneration. They offer safe supplements which follow exact standards, ensuring purity, uniformity, high bioavailability, and complete dissolubility in every tablet.